About Us

Ron Winkle spent 21 years in the Air Force, and over a decade serving as Chief of Operations for another reputable therapy business. He joined Dogwood as a volunteer and quickly moved into the position of office manager. Ron juggles all of the therapists, dogs, clients, billing and other business operations. If you get the chance to meet him, give him a high five for making all of our jobs possible.

Melissa Winkle, OTR/L, FAOTA, CPDT-KA is an occupational therapist that works with people of all ages and abilities. She is also a Certified Professional Dog Trainer with nearly two decades of experience. Melissa has a special interest in Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT)and Service Dogs. She offers occupational therapy, dog training, workshops, and consulting. She serves on several national and international boards, task forces, and special interest groups.


Phoebe Yam, OTD, OTR/L is an occupational therapist from California who has dedicated her time to specializing in animal assisted therapy. She enjoys working with people of all abilities and ages. During her time at Dogwood, she has been studying the effect of training and handling styles on the human animal relationship and enjoys learning about how to strengthen the human animal bond. She will also be presenting at state and national conferences to further the field of animal assisted therapy for healthcare and human service providers. 

Gertrude (Gertie or Grrrr) is the senior therapy support dog at Dogwood. She is a labradoodle and was born in 2010. Gertie began training in the service dog training program at 3 months of age, but it was not long before she realized she was best suited to fulfil a critical role in Animal Assisted Therapy and teaching workshops. Gertie is everybody’s best friend and is skilled in snuggling, Doga, Freestyle Dancing, manipulating board games and enrichment activities.

Widget is a New Mexico Brown Dog (mixed breed). She came to Dogwood at a year old from a shelter. Dogwood was her fourth and final home beginning in 2012. She has a strong presence with her raspy vocalizations and pays attention to everything. Widget is not a snuggly dog and prefers movement based activities but also has incredible attention to task during AAT activities.

Lucy came to Dogwood from Argentina as a puppy in 2015. Lucy is a labradoodle who is a deep thinker and prefers problem solving activities. She does not like to be left out of any therapy sessions and will wait at each room’s door and whine to be part of the action. Lucy observes the world and then jumps in to try just about anything. She is a girl of many talents. While she is tiny, she is mighty in AAT and a loyal friend.   

Clementine is a Labrador Retriever that was born in York, Nebraska in March of 2017.  She joined the Dogwood family when she was 9 weeks old. Clementine is a very gentle soul and wants to snuggle all the time. She has no concept of how large she is as she sits on people or very close to them. She is very food and activity motivated. Clementine loves to play training games, doing mouth manipulation games (like playing KerPlunk or Jenga), and her most favorite activity is being pushed around the neighborhood in her luxury dog stroller.

Summer is a mixed breed rescue dog who was adopted on May 2019 from Watermelon Ranch. She has been formally training at Dogwood Therapy Services to participate in animal assisted therapy during occupational therapy sessions. Summer recently passed the Canine Good Citizen test and is on her way to earning the Community and Urban canine titles. Her favorite activities include cuddling, hiking, agility and participating in therapy sessions. She can't wait to meet you! 




Dogwood is a teaching facility and offers fieldwork rotations to Doctorate level occupational therapy interns and for dog training interns who have completed formal coursework.  This means that our interns have completed formal education in their specialty field, and are ready to participate in supervised practicum. Other disciplines may also complete fieldwork at Dogwood.