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Our Canine Educators

Rosa Nicole and Kate

Our Canine Educators are highly dedicated to the New Life K9s program, and work hard everyday to help our mission. 

Director of Rehabilitation & Canine Education Nicole

Nicole Hern

Director of Education

Nicole’s animal experience comes from her work as a zookeeper, and in veterinary hospitals. She attended Bergin University of Canine Studies which is the only accredited university for canine studies in the world. She is accredited in Bond-Based Choice Teaching. Nicole has ten years of experience as a manager/social worker. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Education of the Deaf and a Master’s degree in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling.

Nicole has two Boston Terriers “Bounty” and “Peanut”.

Lead Canine Educator Rosa

Rosa Mendoza

Lead Educator

At 17 years old, Rosa became interested in service dogs. She participated in a high school elective class for 2 years for the Assistant Service Dog Educational Center. After completing her general education classes at Sacramento State, she transferred to Bergin University of Canine Studies. Rosa graduated from the Assistance Education Associates of Science in 2012. She then went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Cynology (the study of canines) in 2014, also from Bergin University.

Canine Educator Kate

Kate Johnson


Kate is a Cal Poly Alumni, with a background in design, technology, marketing, and sociology. While her career focus has been on design in the past, she has always had a passion and heart for two things: dogs and non-profit work. Kate signed up to become a weekend puppy parent for Annie, one of New Life K9s’ warrior support dogs. It is through Annie that she experienced the feelings of parenthood for the first time, what it means to have true patience, and that she wanted her passion for non-profit work to go beyond simply volunteering.

Prison and Veteran Liaison Pat

Pat Noland

Prison and Veteran Liaison

Pat's love for dogs came from his teen years when he was teaching them how to hunt deer, upland game birds, and waterfowl. Pat served 11 years in the Navy and is a Combat Veteran with PTSD. Pat retired from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation after 24 years of service during which he spent the last four years of his career working with NLK9 at the prison.

Greg - Support Services Volunteer

Greg Gallo

Support Services (Volunteer)

Greg began his career in law enforcement in San Bernardino, California in 1995. After four years there, he was hired by the San Luis Obispo Police Department in San Luis Obispo, California in 1999. In addition to his normal duties as a Patrol and Traffic Officer, Greg worked concurrent assignments as a Crime Scene Investigator and Major Injury and Fatal Traffic Collision Investigator. After 14 years with the department, Greg was medically retired in 2013 due to a neck injury. After retiring, Greg was diagnosed with PTSD. When numerous medications and therapies provided little relief, Greg heard about New Life K9s and applied for a Service Dog. Greg received Eddie in 2018 and his life completely changed for the better. Greg now volunteers for New Life K9s regularly and he and Eddie routinely give presentations to organizations about New Life K9s.


Canine Director of Education

I am the Canine Director of New Life K9s.  I am charming, loving, and affectionate.  I was born in June 30th, 2011.  Although, I am 9 years old, I still have moments when I think I am 6 months. My job is to attend events and demonstrations to show everyone all the hard work that my friends do, and the best part of my job is that I get to share my office with my sidekick Nicole. 



Chase Drive Rehabilitation Specialist

I became part of the New Life K9s team in 2016.  My coworkers tell me I have a bunnitude.  My favorite treats are nectarines and strawberries.  My job is to teach puppies not to chase me. My job is hard work, so I usually need extra time to sleep. If you would like to meet me, please make an appointment with my coworkers Nicole or Rosa.


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