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Sue Grundfest

Founder and President

Having created and managed Corporate Volunteer Programs for The Estēe Lauder Companies Inc. for 24 years as Vice President of Community Outreach, Sue is devoting her time in “retirement” to developing unique programs utilizing the human-animal bond. Sue’s commitment to animal-assisted therapy started with one fluffy white poodle named Coco the Love Dog. An insulin-dependent diabetic who spent many years blind and deaf, Coco set the standard for animal-assisted therapy dogs and lived a life of courage, love and inspiration. She lived fifteen years giving to others before succumbing to cancer in 2010.  Since then all the Love Dog therapy teams carry on her legacy.

Sue is a Licensed Pet Partners Team Instructor and Evaluator for Animal Assisted Interventions. Pet Partners of Las Vegas / Love Dog Adventures therapy program is a Pet Partner Community Partner Affiliate which means that all the therapy teams have been trained, tested and insured by Pet Partners, considered the Gold Standard of animal therapy organizations.

Coco the Love Dog came into Sue’s life when she herself was recovering from a life-threatening illness. Since then Sue has adopted five dogs from various rescues and their message is one of acceptance, working through adversity, finding the life-work balance that fulfills your purpose and the celebration of the healing power of pets. Kirby was only with Sue for a short four years but made a huge impact on everyone he worked with. Petey will always be remembered as the little Alien dog! Teddy was the tiniest dog. Then Benny and Hildie carried on their legacy with their own special needs. Now in 2024 Sue is volunteering with Charlie, Rocky and Buddy and the work continues. 

Since relocating to Las Vegas, Sue has focused on creating unique animal-assisted therapy programs serving the community.


Susan Pierce

Even though Susan’s roots go back seven generations in Pittsburgh, PA, she considers herself a “westerner” at heart.  Susan grew up in Northern California where she graduated from California State University at Chico with a Bachelor’s Degree in Media Arts.  For the past 28 years Susan has been in the Film, Television, Video and Live Event industry as a scriptwriter, video producer, and production coordinator.  Susan has been with the Sands Expo and Convention Center for the past 10 years where she coordinates the Internet and Networking needs for clients such as Intel, IBM, Microsoft and AT&T. Susan became a Love Dog team with her beautiful Yellow Lab, Ginger.  When Ginger was young, Susan started taking her to the dog park so that she could socialize with other dogs.  However when they got to the park, Ginger wanted nothing to do with the dogs and went right up to the humans, with tail in full-wag mode!  Susan instantly saw how Ginger interacted with the humans, and how the humans interacted with Ginger, and she knew right then and there that both she and Ginger had a destiny. Susan is an avid reader and loves movies, especially the classic films and glamorous stars of the golden age of Hollywood.  

Update 2020: Susan is thrilled to become a therapy team with Angel, who will carry on Ginger’s legacy. 


Diane Woodward

Vice President

Diane Woodward, Vice President of the Board for Pet Partners of Las Vegas / Love Dog Adventures, thinks of herself as a “Community Advocate.”  She spends many hours with Cocker Spaniel rescue in Las Vegas and has fostered many herself. In 2009 she became an Honorary Board Member for the Nevada SPCA and gives a lot of her time to organizing special events for several animal-related charities. Ms. Woodward has a Master’s Degree in Human Development and has worked with children and teachers to develop curriculum for preschoolers through first grade. She has also been involved with federal programs for the aged. Ms. Woodward lives with her husband Ron and their two beautiful cocker spaniels Baxter and Ginger. She hopes to handle another pup in the future.

2023 UPdate: Beloved Baxter passed away and is missed greatly.


Kristy Albanese


Kristy Marie Albanese and her family, Charles and Victoria, moved to Henderson in 2000 from Long Island N. Y. to escape the cold and bitter New York winters. In April 2014 she, along with her yellow Labrador Retriever Roxy, became a Pet Partners therapy team. And in early 2016 a bunny showed up on her front lawn. After adopting him she saw he had the temperament of a therapy animal. When he was old enough to test, he passed his evaluation with ease and is now the first complex therapy rabbit in Las Vegas. In February 2018 Kristy studied for and passed the practicum to become the third Team Evaluator for Pet Partners of Las Vegas / Love Dog Adventures. Kristy, Roxy and Bunny continue to be an integral part of our team and Kristy joined our Board of Directors as Secretary in October 2019. Kristy has earned an Associate Degree of Business from the College of Southern Nevada and a Bachelor of Science Degree from Nevada State College. She has done accounting and administrative work in the restaurant industry, and for a large real estate company, and currently works as an Administrative Clerk for the Clark County School District. She also had the pleasure of working at several Veterinary Hospitals over 10 years. When Kristy is not working or volunteering with Roxy or Bunny, she enjoys being outdoors as much as possible. Her family loves to travel and go camping, ride their four wheelers, go rafting and hike. When they can’t get away the family likes to relax in their backyard oasis and swim. They enjoy spending time with their two dogs, bunny, two desert tortoises, and snake. Kristy is looking forward to and is very excited about using her experiences and knowledge to serve on the Pet Partners of Las Vegas / Love Dog Adventures board.


Update 2023: The most wonderful therapy rabbit Bunny passed away suddenly and will be greatly missed. 


Kimberly Gatto

Born and raised in California, Kim moved to Mesquite, Nevada in 1997 where she met her late husband, Mario, and started her family. In 2003 the family moved to Fairbanks, Alaska where Kim worked as an assistant director/manager for the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race. The family moved to Las Vegas in 2017 where she acted on her passion for both animals and community. She opened The Wagging Tail Pet Grocery & Supply business in Summerlin. Her primary focus is on the overall health and safety of pets, including nutrition and remedies that are natural, holistic and homeopathic. Kim is dedicated to assisting pet parents and a staunch supporter of Pet Partners of Las Vegas. In fact, her daughter Lindsay was our youngest handler with her Shih Tzu Curry for several years and continues to be involved.

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