Meet The Team
Founder & Executive Director
Haylee ("Hayl") officially founded IHABS (now AAP) in 2018. The goal was to build upon her experiences working for over a decade in human services while combining her passion for the human-animal bond. Grown from many wonderful relationships built from her ownership of The Hound Society, LLC (animal training & behavior consulting), and years of experience as a therapy canine team, the Iowa Human-Animal Bond Society was formed with a mission focused on the powerful effects of the human-animal bond.
Hayl is earning a MS degree in Gerontology and Mental Health with a research focus in grief and loss. She received a BS degree in Psychology from Drake University with concentrations in applied behavior analysis and animal behavior and an AAS degree in Animal Science from Hawkeye Community College. She is a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA-CTP), a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA), and Certified Behavior Consultant Canine (CBCC-KA) and served in the role of Director on the CCPDT's board of directors.
- Full Member of Animal Assisted Intervention International (AAII)
- Certified in Mental Health First Aid
-Certificate in Psychological First Aid
- Registered Behavior Technician (ABA)
-Diploma in Veterinary Assistance
-Certificate in Shelter Training & Enrichment (KPA)
-Fear-Free Certified Animal Trainer
-Canine Good Citizen evaluator
Treasurer, Operations Assistant
Dan is a Principal Software Artisan at Accenture Digital. He holds a BS degree in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University. He has expertise in machine learning and artificial intelligence and has experience in public speaking, presenting seminars and workshops locally. Dan is a co-owner of The Hound Society, LLC, as well as owns Wise AI, a data science consulting business. He brings extensive experience in businesses management and program evaluation to AAP and serves as AAP's volunteer Operations and Technical Assistant. He is an avid supporter of providing animal assisted interventions to Iowa, often assisting our Executive Director with AAI visits, seminars, and program presentations.
Brenna Dixon holds a BA degree in English and an MFA in Creative Writing and the Environment and is certified in Mental Health First Aid. She is a writer and teacher in the English Department at Iowa State University where she teaches composition classes, business writing, and fiction writing. She has also taught various writing and literature classes through DMACC, Grand View University, the Des Moines Social Club, NAMI, and Story County Conservation. Brenna served as Artist in Residence at Everglades National Park and has volunteered with the Iowa Wildlife Center in Ames, IA, as well as the Wildlife Care Center at Iowa State University. She is proud dog mom to Sheriff, the sweetest fox red lab you'll ever meet.
Board Member, Assistant Trainer
Marni holds a BA in Economics from the University of Iowa and works for Wells Fargo. She originally become involved with The Hound Society, LLC when she participated in therapy dog training classes. In December of 2017, she became one of AAP's first registered therapy dog teams with her dog Hope and began assisting in providing Supervised Visits. She is certified in Mental Health First Aid and working towards several other certifications including Psychological First Aid. Hope and Marni now serve as one of AAP's Supervising Teams and, they volunteer regularly at Edgewater (a WesleyLife Community) as well within the AAP Therapy Animal Program. Since fall of 2018, she has been an assistant trainer at AAP as she works towards professional dog trainer certification. In 2019 Marni had the opportunity to interact with wolves and foxes at Wolf Park.
Board Member, Program Advisor
Sara Anderson, OTD, OTR/L
Sara has received her doctorate in occupational therapy degree from Creighton University and has a B.S in Psychology from Iowa State University. She has worked in pediatric, adult, and geriatric practice settings. She has a passion and cares deeply about helping families and professionals work with autistic teens and young adults to help them reach their goals. She believes in using neurodiversity-affirming therapy practices and learns from the autistic community. She is the founder of the blog Learning For a Purpose where her mission is to provide strengths-based neurodiversity-affirming resources and teaching strategies to help autistic teens and young adults learn life skills and help them reach their highest potential. She loves spending time with her husband, two small children, and two dogs.
Evaluation/Certification Committee Member
Erin earned her bachelor’s degree of Science in Business Management from the University of Wisconsin – Stout. She is a Buyer on the Purchase Planning team for M.Holland. She has 10 years of purchasing experience, including 5 years of import buying, obtained while working at Konecranes and GE Distributed Power. While at GE Power Erin was the coordinator for the United Way Campaign at her site for 3 years. Outside of work, Erin’s biggest passion is her love for animals. She is proud to be a recent graduate from the Karen Pryor Academy Dog Trainer Professionals Program and is running her business Barktastic Behavior LLC in the hours when she is not working for M. Holland. She recently moved back to the town where she grew up, Wautoma, WI after living in Milwaukee the past 18 years. She is loving the slow, small-town country life as are her husband and dogs, Pippa and Ella Bean.
Board Member, Certification Committee
Yasmin holds a BA in Computer Science with a minor in Graphic Design from Rockford University. She is a certified professional dog trainer through the Karen Pryor Academy, and is currently working towards becoming a certified behavior consultant. Yasmin is a trainer for AAP, providing virtual private lessons and behavior consults. She is also the owner and head trainer at Canine In Focus based in the Rockford and Chicagoland areas. Yasmin’s training is fun, effective and compassionate towards both human and dog. Yasmin shares her life with her Stabyhoun puppy, Fenna, two old lady cats, Zelda and Pangea, and her husband and three year old daughter, Josh and Claire.
Board Member, Program Advsior
Liz is a school counselor and holds a MS degree in School Counseling and Preventative Mental Health through Creighton University. She has certification in Mental Health First Aid and is certified as a Nonprofit Professional through the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. Liz became involved with AAP in 2018 when she began taking therapy dog classes with her dog Blitzen, eventually becoming a registered therapy dog team in the AAP Therapy Animal Program and a Supervising Team. Currently, Liz works at Xavier High School in Cedar Rapids as a School Counselor where she will be incorporating animal assisted education with Blitzen. As a board member and Supervising Team, Liz will help AAP to expand in eastern Iowa. AAP gives her a space to combine her love of animals with her passion for advocating for adolescent mental health.
Board Member, Evaluation/Certification Committee
Ann is a GNSS Senior Systems Engineer for John Deere's precision agriculture lines in Urbandale, Iowa and previously held positions in Product Verification and Validation also at John Deere. Ann holds a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from Iowa State University and is certified in Mental Health First Aid. Originally from West Des Moines, Ann resides in Johnston, IA with her dog Tesla, an Entlebucher Mountain Dog, and cat, Otto. She is active in the Des Moines and Johnston communities and participated in classes and seminars, as well as served as a volunteer, at The Hound Society, LLC, before its conversion to AAP. She currently assists AAP with therapy animal evaluations and program planning within the AAP Therapy Animal Program. Ann is thrilled to be a part of AAP and endeavors to grow and learn through its mission.