New England Pet Partners, Inc. 501c.3

Enhancing Well-Being and Education with Pet Assisted Therapy


Bios are submitted with an Application to the Board. Bios are not required for public viewing. If you see a bio here, it is by choice. Updates (bio revisions and photos) should be sent to info@nepetpartners.org.   

Maureen Ross, MA

Gary Ross, ME

Kathleen DeLong, RN

Mary Bowler-Blake

Joan Whitebook, JD


Linda Browne

Anne Gagnon

Liz Harrington

Diane Matte, Ph.D, Ed.D

Austin O’Brien, M.D.


New England Pet Partners, Inc.

Board of Directors – Staff Bios  


Maureen Ross, MA, NCC, CPDT-KA, LTE (Team Quin, Team Brio & Jesy in training)

Maureen is the founder of Dog Talk LLC (Training and Wellness Sanctuary) and co-founder of New England Pet Partners, Inc., dedicated to enhancing well-being and education with Awareness Centered Training – ACT, family and pet assisted therapy and private behavioral coaching. Author of ACT, Train Your Dog, Change Your Life, contributor to Children, Dogs and Education, and publications on relationship, education and well being for dogs and their humans, Moe enjoys raising awareness about the joy of living and learning with dogs. She is an active Pet Partner’s volunteer team, Licensed Team Evaluator, and lives in a mini-zoo. Visit Moe at her websites Dog Talk, NEPP, Daily Doga and Facebook.


Gary Ross, ME, RPP, LTE (Team Quin, Team Brio & Jesy in training)

Gary is an engineering fellow at Raytheon Company. He is a Licensed Team Evaluator for Pet Partners and Treasurer for New England Pet Partners, Inc. Gary discovered the joy of dog companions when he met Moe in 1981. He had cats growing up. Once a canine owned him, the rest is history. In addition to his other activities, he is the “techie” and “maintenance” man for the training sanctuary, an operating business, and good dog(s), cat(s) and parrot(s) Dad.  


Kathleen DeLong, RN, ACLS, PP, LTE, READ W Me (Team Kody)

Kathy is a retired registered nurse at Lowell General Hospital, with advanced training in intensive care and infectious diseases. She has presented for New England Pet Partners and Pet Partners on the benefits of pet assisted therapy, education, safety, infectious disease and management. Kathy is a Registered Pet Partner, Licensed Team Evaluator and Executive Director, Volunteer Training for NEPP. In collaboration with health care professionals, she has launched several pet therapy programs at hospitals, care facilities and schools, mentoring new teams on site. Kathy exudes compassion has helped guide many pet therapy teams and health care facilities into creating safe and effective pet therapy programs.


Mary Bowler-Blake, RPP, READ W ME (Team Summer)

Mary worked for the Internal Revenue Service for over 35 years. Retired from ten years working in Assisted Living, Mary lives in Chapin, SC. She will continue supporting NEPP as Secretary and NEPP her to  promote Pet Partner Programs in SC. As a a registered pet partner with Lady and Sunnie, Golden Retrievers, and now Summer, she was an active volunteer at several care facilities and universities. Mary, Lady, Sunnie and now Summer have appeared in segments on Pet Assisted Therapy including Chronicle, WMUR, NEPP Presents and Simon’s Mall (Comfort Dog Teams), Fox, Channel 7 and 5. Mary is a dedicated pet therapy advocate, mentoring potential teams.


Joan Whitebook, JD, Realtor, Chair

Joan is a a Real Estate Agent at Masiello, and NEPP’s Chair. She helped to co-found NEPP with legal advice on non-profit organizations. She is our “Robert Rules” guide - having been involved with numerous boards and the Chamber. Joan ensures that NEPP is on a forward track with integrity. She has been involved with classical ballet, is a psychology major, an attorney/mediator, exclusive buyer’s and real estate agent, wife and pet therapy advocate.


Linda Browne, PP (Team Mabel), Read w ME, Former Licensed R.E.A.D. Instructor

Linda was a Resolution Analyst for United Health Care for over 10-years. Her first pet Bert was a "Heinz 57" dog given to her when she was a VISTA volunteer in Florida. Lucy, a Corgi was her Registered Pet Partner and Reading Education Assistance Dog for years. Mabel, her current Corgi, has successfully filled Lucy’s paws. The team visits schools, hospitals, universities and libraries. Linda was a Licensed Evaluator and R.E.A.D. Instructor, later choosing to open pet visitation programs. Linda is on our Brendan Browne Scholarship Committee - giving potential teams an opportunity to become Registered Pet Partners with financial aid. Linda and Lucy were awarded Hero of the Year by the American Red Cross, appeared in Billerica and Dracut Cable TV - and WMUR Chronicle on behalf of Pet Partners, R.E.A.D. and NEPP.  


Liz Harrington

Liz was a teacher for many  years. She is the founder of Harrington Consultants – Focusing Safety. Liz has relocated to California, MD, but remains close to the NEPPERS as our NEPP Facebook Team Group Administrator. Liz is an experienced volunteer for NEPP. Among her many talents, she has been working with adopted dogs including her beloved Beckie, Jango and Lando. Learn more about Liz at Facebook and Linked In.


Anne Gagnon, RPP Potential Team Lucy

Anne is a Sr. Commercial Lending Representative at Peoples United Bank. She became involved with NEPP when taking a class at Dog Talk and learned about the pet partner program. Anne has been a registered pet partner since 2008. She visits many facilities and volunteers as our mentor at NEPP. Her beloved Bo, Australian Cattle Dog passed. She is training potential therapy Australian Cattle Dog, Lucy. Anne was our fearless leader, fund-raising for the Pet Wellness Festival for 13 years.  


Diane Matte, Ph.D., Ed.D (Team Danny and Smudge)

Diane is a retired teacher (40 years) who works part time as an Interventionist for the Lowell, MA School Department. She has been a member of the Board of Directors for the Lowell Chapter of Reading is Fundamental since 1993. She is a Registered Pet Partner with her Cocker Spaniel, Danny and English Springer Spaniel, Smudge. Diane is interested in bringing more Pet Partner Teams into the lives of children. She currently visits with autistic children, visually impaired children, and the Pelham Schools.


Austin O’Brien, M.D. (Team Benton)

Dr. O’Brien recently retired as a family medical doctor at Lahey Primary Care Organization, Lowell, MA. Benton often accompanied Austin to work. He is experienced working in the hospital & health care industry and skilled in event planning, Microsoft Excel, customer service, Microsoft Word and coaching. He is a strong business development professional with a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) focused in Family Medicine from Memorial University of Newfoundland.

We have proud to have him on our team.


Arlene Murphy (Team Wolfe)

Arlene worked as a branch manager for two State of New Hampshire Employment Security offices. Prior, she worked for Citigroup Corporation. After many years of service Arlene retired as Senior Vice President of Compliance. She has been a registered pet partner team with New England Pet Partners since 2006 having three working teams over the years. Those team have visited with a number of schools, corporations and medical facilities, and attended the RIM Conference in Boston MA, along with several teams. This conference brought NEPP a donation of $10,000. She and her husband, Jack, enjoy being with, and training, their pets, outdoor activities and crafting.