Assistance Dogs International Conference 2019Logo of ICAN. The letters are green and embedded in the N of "ICAN" is an image of a dog wearing a blue assistance dog vest.

If you are interested in being added to the wait list, please contact Chris Diefenthaler, Executive Director at [email protected]

Indiana Canine Assistance Network is hosting the 2019 ADI Conference in Noblesville, Indiana on September 8–11, 2019.

Event Site: Embassy Suites and Convention Center, 13700 Conference Center Drive South, Noblesville, Indiana, USA (Indianapolis area)
Conference Fee: $450/accredited members and candidate programs
Room Rate: $154/night (includes cooked-to-order breakfast, and complimentary reception nightly) CONFERENCE HOTEL-EMBASSY SUITES IS SOLD OUT!  See below for information on the Holiday Inn Express and Suites.
Closest Airport: Indianapolis International Airport (IND)

For more information, see the Save the Date informational sheet.

The FINAL Conference Program Schedule is now available! 

The deadline to register for the conference is Friday, August 30th.  Members should contact Chris Diefenthaler, Executive Director at [email protected] for the link to register for the conference.

The ADI Conference host hotel is SOLD OUT!!
Embassy Suites
13700 Conference Center Dr S,
Noblesville, IN 46060
United States 
(317) 674-1900

Hotel Room Block Reservations - The discounted room rate is $154/night which includes a hot breakfast and an evening reception. There is currently limited availability for king rooms or king suites, but there are queen rooms available. The deadline to make hotel reservations is August 7, 2019 or until sold out. Please let me know if you have any problems making a hotel reservation.

Other hotel option:
Holiday Inn Express & Suites
13625 Tegler Dr.
Noblesville, IN 46060
(317) 316-0606
Link to the Hotel Room Block Reservations - The Holiday Inn Express & Suites is across the parking lot from the Embassy Suites. The Assistance Dog International room discounted rate is $109/night, which is includes a continental breakfast. The deadline to make hotel reservations is August 12, 2019.

Non-ADI Members may attend the conference as a guest of an ADI Accredited Member program.  An email must be sent by the executive director of the ADI Accredited Member program to [email protected] authorizing the registration.  The conference registration link to the guest will be sent upon approval.  Repeat non-member guests must be approved by the ADI Board of Directors.  Conference fee for non-members is $550/registration.  

ADI Conferences are not open to the public.

Things to do while you are in Noblesville, Indiana.  



The Indianapolis International Airport is 40 miles to the Embassy Suites in Noblesville, Indiana. It takes approximately 45 minutes drive time based on traffic conditions. ADI is offering complimentary Shuttle Bus transportation on Sunday, September 8th to the hotel from the airport and again on Wednesday, September 11th from the hotel to the airport. Other options are available at your own convenience such as rental cars, taxis, Ubers and Lyfts. The Indy Brickyard 400 is ending on 9/8/19, so the airport and surrounding traffic may be congested.

Shuttle Bus
The following are the arrangements for the Shuttle Bus Transportation:
  • Pick up times from the Indianapolis International Airport - 2:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
  • There will be a volunteer to greet you at the airport baggage claim area escalators to direct you to the hotel shuttle bus area.
  • There will be a signage at the table and on the bus with our logo that states "Hotel Transportation, Embassy Suites, Noblesville"
  • There will be a sign up sheet at the hotel to schedule your return shuttle bus departure time.
  • Pick up times from the Embassy Suites to the Indianapolis International Airport - 1:15 p.m., 3:15 p.m. and 5:15 p.m.
Lyft is offering our conference attendees a 15% discount on the fares during the conference:
15% off two rides to and/or from the airport for new and existing user 
Valid: Sept. 7th 8 AM - Sept 12th 12 PM
15% off two rides during the conference
Valid: Sept. 7th 8 AM - Sept 12th 12 PM

Presenting Title Sponsor


Logo of Can Do Canines. The words read "Can Do Canines Assistance Dog." Behind the words is a hand drawn image of a dog wearing a a red collar with a heart-shaped tag.

Gold Sponsor


Dogs for Life's logo. The text reads, "Dogs for Life Training Assistance Dogs for Veterans." Behind the words is a white dog paw print on top of a purple heart.

Welcome Reception Sponsor


Pentagon Computers' logo. The words read, " PAWS - Dog Supply Software." To the left of the words is a gray circle inside of a blue pentagon

Bronze Sponsors


Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence's logo. Along the inner edge of a blue circle is written "Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence." In the middle of the circle is a paw print. In the large portion of the paw print is a silhouette of a person in a wheelchair. There are 4 paw print "toes" each with one letter in them making up the word "ADAI"          Bold Lead Design's logo, which includes the words "bold lead designs service dog equipment" encircling a drawing of a white dog wearing a harness.          Leader Dog's logo. A blue circle has the image of a dog wearing a guide dog harness. Under the blue circle are the words, "Leader Dogs for the Blind"


Bold Lead Designs

Brilliant K9

Canine Genetic Services


Harvest Consultation

Paw Print Genetics

Pentagon Software

Purdue University Press

Smart Animal Training

University of Illinois Press

2019 ADI Conference Keynote Speakers


Dr. Gayle Watkins, Phd

Dr. Gayle Watkins, Phd is smiling at the cameraDr Gayle Watkins is the founder of Avidog University, providing professional education to dog breeders, trainers and puppy raisers around the world. Gayle’s passion is raising healthy, stable dogs and she herself has been breeding, training, working and competing with dogs for over 40 years. During this time, she has trained thousands of working, competition and companion dogs in Europe and the US. Her breeding program has produced SAR, service and therapy dogs, plus over 135 sport champions. She is one of the few breeders to be honored as American Kennel Club Breeder of the Year three years running in three different sports!

Raising Puppies to Be Brave (and Healthy): The Power of the Dog's First 12 Months
Have you ever wondered why some puppies make it and others don’t, despite similar breeding and rearing methods? This keynote will help us understand this phenomenon through the lens of early canine development from the prenatal period into adolescence. Using current science from many fields and canine venues, we will layout a coherent development plan that provides all of the right experiences while avoiding the wrong ones each step of the way. Then we’ll discuss tailoring this basic program to each pup's temperament, a tweak that enables pups to gain even more and thus be more successful, since pups are not all created equal but all can be equally successful!

Philip Tedeschi, LCSW MSSW
Philip Tedeschi, LCSW MSSW is kneeling next to a black dog wearing a green banana. Phillip has his right arm around the dog and is looking down at the dog. Philip Tedeschi is the executive director of the Institute for Human-Animal Connection and a clinical professor at the Graduate School of Social Work. He is globally recognized for expertise in the clinical methods of animal-assisted Interventions and coordinates the school's animal-assisted social work certificate program for Master of Social Work (MSW) students, as well as the animals and human health professional development certificate program. He studies and teaches on the intricate relationship between people, domestic and wild animals, and the natural world. Tedeschi’s research, scholarship, presentations, training and community practice work have focused on human-animal interactions, conservation social work, human ecology, causes of violence toward people and animals. 

Transforming Trauma through the Human-Animal Bond
Philip Tedeschi will offer a keynote talk focused on the research from his new edited volume: Transforming Trauma: Finding Resiliency and Healing through our Connection with Animals. This presentation will review some of the important ways that animals are being incorporated into clinical responses to trauma and offer new insights into why animals can be a highly effective strategy for intervention into developmental trauma, post traumatic stress and crisis responses. Highlights will include exploration into the interpersonal neuro-biological explanations for how to integrate animals into therapeutic settings and ethical considerations of including animals in trauma response.  

Amy Eisenstein


Amy Eisenstein is smiling at the cameraAmy Eisenstein is a consultant, author, speaker and creator of the online fundraising course, Mastering Major Gifts.  She is also the CEO and Co-Founder of the Capital Campaign Toolkit.  Her published books include:  Major Gift Fundraising for Small Shops, Raising More with Less, and 50 A$ks in 50 Weeks.  She became an AFP certified Master Trainer in 2009.  Amy served as the president of the board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals - New Jersey Chapter in 2014 and 2015.  She became a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) in 2004 and her advanced certification, ACFRE, in 2013.  Check our her blog at and for free fundraising resources.

Happiness, Habits and Nonprofit Fundraising:  Strategies to Survive and Thrive (Keynote)
Do you ever feel insecure about fundraising? Do you want to build your confidence and feel inspired? Would you like to improve you work habits so you can raise more money? If so, you will not want to miss Amy Eisenstein, ACFRE, as she shares stories and insight on working with donors, as well as staying motivated as you work toward changing the world through philanthropy.

How to Start Raising Major Gifts (Workshop)
If you want to supercharge your fundraising – either as part of your annual fund or for a capital campaign, you’re going to need to raise major gifts. Whether a major gift at your organization is $1,000 or $10K or more, you’ll need to identify your best prospective donors, build relationships with them, ask for financial support, and thank them appropriately.  Join Amy Eisenstein to learn the who, what, when, where, and why’s of major gift fundraising.

COMPARING NOTES:  A discussion of recent findings from 5 different Service Dogs Training programs for Veterans with PTSD


Meg Olmert, Director of Research, Warrior Canine Connection - Facilitator 

Human-Dog Interactions—Neuroendocrine and Physiological Alterations in Service Members with PTSD who Train Service Dogs.  Unpublished

Dessa Bergen-Cico, PhD, CHES, CAS, (Department of health, Syracuse University)
Ryan Woodruff, BS CPDT-KA (Clear Path for Veterans, Chittenango, NY)

Bergen-Cico, D., Smith, Y., Wolford, K., Gooley, C., Hannon, K., Woodruff, R., … Gump, B. (2018). Dog Ownership and Training Reduces Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms and Increases Self-Compassion Among Veterans: Results of a Longitudinal Control Study. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 24(12), 1166–1175.

Kerri Rodriquez, MS, MR (Center for the Human-Animal Bond, Purdue University)
K9s for Warriors, TBD

O’Haire, M.E. and K.E. Rodriguez (2018). Preliminary efficacy of service dogs as a complementary treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder in a population of military veterans. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol. 28, No. 2. 179-188.

Steven Woodward, PhD (National Center for PTSD, Palo Alto, VA)
Michael Decker, LCSW, Clinical Director, U.S. Marine Corps Veteran (Paws for Purple Hearts, Penngrove, CA)

Woodward, S. H., Jamison, A. L., Gala, S., & Holmes, T. H. (2017). Canine companionship is associated with modification of attentional bias in posttraumatic stress disorder. PLoS ONE, 12(10), e0179912.

Richard Hunter, Ph.D., ABPP (University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Clinical Outcomes Group, Marian, Illinois)
Behesha Doan, This Able Veteran (Carbondale, Illinois)

Kloep, M., Hunter, R., & Kertz, S. (2017). Examining the Effects of a Novel Training Program and Use of Psychiatric Service Dogs for Military-Related PTSD and Associated Symptoms. Am J Orthopsychiatry, 87(4), 425–433.

Lee Ann Ernst


Lee Ann Ernst is smiling at the cameraLee has shared her experience working with donors at large universities and social services organizations with Johson, Grossnickle & Associates clients since 2013.  Lee previously was a Development Officer Consultant with the Women's Philanthropy Institute in advancement during the institution's $2 billion campaign and work closely with boards and giving councils to create the inaugural Parents Program fundraising initiative.  She began her career at The Salvation Army Divisional Headquarters in Chicago.  Lee has volunteered as a mentor and committee member with the Association of Fundraising Professionals-Indiana Chapter, board member for Northeast Cooperative Preschool and Kindergarten, and member of the The Oaks Academy Task Force. She has also served on the education Committee of Impact 100 of Greater Indianapolis and as a Annual Fellow with the Development Leadership Consortium. 

Strengthening Your Board to Support Your Mission
Join us for an overview of the important roles and responsibilities associated with being a board member!  Learn how to create, maintain, and grow a dynamic culture within your board.  A healthy and consistent culture allows organizations to operate smoothly, recruit effectively, raise more funds, and develop leadership from within a sustainable way.   You will learn:

  • The basic roles, responsibilities, and expectations of board members in support of your organization
  • Characteristics of strong fundraising boards and the roles board members can play as advocates, donors and stewards
  • Strategies and insights to build a well-rounded and diverse board that can move your organization forward

Joanne Singleton, PhD, RN, FNP-BC and Lu Picard, ECAD


Dr. Singleton, a professor in the College of Health Professions, Pace University, is an accomplished clinician, educator, researcher, and coach, with numerous national and international publications, presentations and awards.  She is a leader in advanced practice nursing, interprofessional education and practice, evidence-based practice and cultural competence.  Dr. Singleton is a fellow in the National Academies of Practice, and the New York Academy of Medicine.  Inspired by and in partnership with Lius Carlos Montalvan and his service dog, Tuesday, she became deeply engaged with the uman-animal connection and created Canines Assisting in Health (CAsH) to educate interprofessional health care providers on assistaince animals to support individuals with visible and invisible disabilities.  Dr. Singleton completed a certificate in animal assisted interventions, has an evidence-based stress reduction practice, Paws & Breath, a program of research focusing on assistance animals, and is mentored by, and collaborates on this important work with Lu Picard, Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities (ECAD).  Founded in 2017, CAsH has educated over 2,500 interprofressional healthcare providers, joining forces with and extending Luis and Tuesday's advocacy.  

Lu Picard is sitting on a set of stairs smiling at the camera. Next to her is a golden retriever that is wearing a green assistance dog vestLu Picard, along with her husband, Dale, founded ECAD in 1995 with the mission to educate and place Service Dogs with people with disabilities so they will have greater independence and mobility.  For 18 years, Lu found a way of utilizing ECAD's dogs to help two distinct groups;  their clients with physical disabilities and teenagers who were labeled "at risk" or mentally challenged and placed in residential facilities throughout Westchester County, NY.  Lu showed these teens how to teach puppies and then older dogs the skills they would need to assist people with physical disabilities.  These teens became the teachers.  This strong curriculum, as developed and implemented by ECAD at the facilities, helped the teens develop work ethics, patience, and respect for people living with physical limitations as well as respect for and belief in themselves. Lu has always encouraged networking within the ADI members as well as sharing resources with the industry.  Lu served on the board of ADI for 6 years, was a member of the accreditation committee, and was on the first Accreditation Assessors.  The Trainers' Conference that ADI now sponsors was originally the brain-child of Lu, Janet Severt, and now retired Linda Jennings with Loving Paws, long time ADI members......More recently, Lu's forward thinking resulted in Endless Reality, Inc. developing what is called the "Dog Tracker" and "Client Tracker" so it would be available for any ADI member.   Currently Lu is collaborating with the Pace University in developing a curriculum to educate its Health Care Profession students.  Begun in 2017, the goal of this course is to bridge the gap between the Service Dog Industry and the Health Care Profession.

Joining Forces to Advocate for Service Dog Teams

Canines Assisting in Health, in partnership with Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities (ECAD) developed at Pace University tools to bridge the gap between healthcare professionals and the service dog industry.  Healthcare providers must provided informed care to individuals with disabilities, yet they receive little to no education in this area.  Canines Assisting in Health and ECAD developed educational offerings and materials for the healthcare profession.  They will be presenting the printed materials and simulation videos developed to educate the healthcare providers, so our membership and clients can use them and educate their medical team.  

Jeffrey E. Mittman, CEO & President, Bosma Enterprises, Retired Veteran


Jeffrey Mittman recently became the president & CEO of Bosma Enterprises, one of the largest disability service organizations in the Midwest and largest employer of people who are blind in Indiana. Each year, Bosma Enterprises has become a leader in warehousing, light manufacturing and contract packaging serving federal and state governments as well as commercial companies. Funds earned from this work allows Bosma to serve over 800 people each year who are blind, teaching them the skills needed to live independent and full lives.

He is also a requested speaker across the United States giving lectures and sharing the lessons he has learned from his life and work experiences.

Jeff has dedicated his life to service. He spent over 20 years in the United States Army retiring as a Master Sergeant. Following his military career, he continued his life of service working for organizations that support our nation’s military and people who are blind or visually impaired.

In 20+ years of service in the Army, he says that he had one bad day that forever changed the trajectory of his life. On the morning of 7 July 2005, Mittman’s team came under attack. He was severely injured by an Improvised Explosive Device.  Near death, his wounds included severe head and facial trauma, as well as numerous other injuries.  He awoke a month later in a military hospital with his wife by his side. He quickly realized his family needed a husband and a father, not a memory. At that moment he made a conscious decision to survive – to recover.  Together the Mittman family began the arduous process of acclimating to their “new normal.” It involved learning to deal with his blindness and enduring more than 40 operations to rebuild his face and body. Despite everything he’s been through, Jeff counts his blessings and will tell anyone who asks that he is “the luckiest man in the world.” 

His military awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal (3rd Award); the Purple Heart Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal; the Army Commendation Medal (8th Award); the Army Achievement Medal (7th Award); the Combat Infantryman’s Badge (2nd Award); the Expert Infantryman’s Badge; the Pathfinder Badge; the Parachutist Badge; the Drill Sergeant Identification Badge; and the Air Assault Badge along with various other awards and decorations.

His nationally recognized awards include: the 2013 Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) and Department of Defense (DoD) Disabled Employee of the Year Award; the American Foundation for the Blind’s 2011 Gallagher Award for mentoring and serving as role model for blind/visually impaired individuals; the 2010 Osborne "Oz" Day Award presented by the federal government for increasing public awareness of the federal AbilityOne Program; and the Lighthouse International's 2007 Henry A. Grunwald Award honoring outstanding public service. He is also a 2015 inductee of the Indiana Military Veterans Hall of Fame and has received the Meritorious Civilian Service Award from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS).

Banquet Keynote Speaker


Nathan Selove


I'm an Autistic YouTube blogger and disability rights advocate with a service dog that loves public speaking. I achieved competitive success on the forensic national circuit, served as a graduate assistant coach for the University of Northern Iowa speech team, and recently was awarded a Masters degree in Communication from that same university. I was diagnosed with Autism at the age of nine and received my first service dog-who changed, and quite literally saved, my life-Sylvia, at the age of 12. I worked with her for 10 years before she retired and I have worked with my successor dog, Blake for a year and a half. It is my goal to spread the mission of Neurodiversity and advocate for disability rights.


ADI Conference Sponsorship and Vendor Opportunities


Every year, ADI conducts an international conference for our membership programs to provide opportunities for our members to network, share best practices and receive education on latest information related to operating assistance dog programs. Last year our conference drew a record 281 attendees representing 13 different countries from around the world. It is a great opportunity to showcase your business with the leaders in the assistance dog industry and talk with representatives about your products or services to a larger number of assistance dog programs in one location.

Our 2019 Conference hosted by Indiana Canine Assistant Network (ICAN) on September 8-11, 2019 is being held at the Embassy Suites and Convention Center in the Noblesville, Indiana USA (Indianapolis area). Below are the links to the Sponsorship Opportunities and Vendor Information/Registration including the pledge form:

Sponsorship Opportunities
Vendor Information/Registration
Sponsorship Pledge Form

Please complete the sponsorship pledge form and/or vendor registration form and email to Chris Diefenthaler, Executive Director at [email protected].