About Us

Who is American Therapy Pets (ATP)?

American Therapy Pets, Inc. (ATP) is a non-profit charitable organization that relies on donations to cover its operating expenses. ATP brings trained, certified and insured therapy pets for use in social or therapeutic interactions where emotional, psychological or physical support is needed. We deliver services in settings such as schools, hospitals, nursing centers or any place where an animal’s joy and love may bring comfort. Our therapy pets are trained, screened and certified before they are allowed to conduct visits. They are also covered by insurance while on duty.

Our Mission

The American Therapy Pets' mission is to positively influence psychological, emotional and physical well-bing to children and adults using animal-assisted therapy.

Our Vision

The American Therapy Pets' vision is to improve the lives for many people by expanding our services to schools, hospitals, senior care facilities, nursing centers, disaster shelters and our military, through internal growth and alliances.

Meet The Team

  • Joan Powell

    Founder & President

    Joan was raised in a Navy family, and always been surrounded by her pets. She has had a Therapy Dog, starting with a Great Dane, Dexter.


    After he passed away, she rescued a Chihuahua/Yorkie mix, named Missy, who is now a Therapy Dog.


    You can find Joan several days a week at the United Service Organization (USO) San Diego as well as providing therapy dog services to a variety of facilities.


  • Judi Wells


    Judi recently retired from a 32 year career as a Speech and Language Pathologist.


    Judy became interested in the Therapy Dog Program after becoming a volunteer at the USO and seeing the happiness that the dogs brought to the service members.​ Having owned cats most of her life, Judi is currently looking for a therapy cat to be part of our team.

    In addition to her active life, Judi continues to be a major donor and supporter of ATP and is proud to be a founder of such an important organization.

  • Wendy Hart

    Vice President, Evaluator and Trainer

    Wendy has over 20 years experience in obedience training, behavioral consulting, and caring for dogs. She is a Canine Good Citizen Evaluator, Pet Care Specialist, Group Class Instructor, and Canine Evaluator for American Therapy Pets. Wendy’s passion for dogs began as a teenager when she started training canines at the local Humane Society. Her primary focus was to insure the dogs were better prepared for adoption. Wendy’s love of canines led her to become a Veterinary Assistant, allowing her to further develop her skills and broaden her knowledge base in the area of canine health. Part of Wendy’s passion for American Therapy Pets comes from having a brother and soon to be son serving in the Military. This gives her a way to combine her love for animals and show her support. Her website is here.

  • Michelle Koonin

    Secretary & Treasurer

    Michele is a mental health specialist with a private practice in San Diego, California. Michele is also the founder and director of "Bully-nomore," a school based program focused on recognizing, understanding and preventing bullying. Michele has had therapy dogs since 2008 and currently uses her dogs, Romeo and Dynamo, in her private practice and bullying prevention program.

  • Josephine Zosa

    Director of Business Development

    Josephine has been with ATP for about 6 years.  She has her Bachelor's from Chapman University in English Child Development. Josephine was born in the Philippines but now live in San Diego. 

    She does therapy visits with he dog, JoJo, the super corgi.

    She love being in this group because our team gets to put a smile on people’s face.  When Josephine and Jojo are not doing therapy visits, there is a good chance you will catch them surfing one of the San Diego beautiful beaches.

  • Thomas Lettington


    Tom has a Masters Degree in Computer Systems Management and over 40 years experience in information systems technology.   He is a retired US Navy Surface Warfare Officer.  


    Tom's current experience working on a variety of web sites for not-for-profit organizations has given him broad knowledge of various platforms and content management systems.  He started working with the commercial Internet and the World Wide Web at Visicom Laboratories in 1994 long before most people knew there was such a thing as "The Internet".  During his time at Visicom, the government authorized commercial use of The Internet and the Commercial Internet Exchange (CIXX) was formed.  Visicom became an early adopter.  With a friend and co-worker at Visicom, he formed a commercial Internet Service Provider (ISP) business unit at Visicom and then spun off as ATMNet, a regional ISP with one of the first (and fastest at the time) high-speed fiber-optic backbones. Of course, he had government access to the MILNET and ARPANET for his US Navy related work starting in 1978.


All  members, directors, staff and volunteers donate their time to ATP and are not compensated for their contributions.