Our Staff

Pam Budke, Executive Director

"Pam Budke"

Pam has enjoyed a diverse career centered on animals and helping children and adults with disabilities. She has a degree in Corporate Communications from Lindenwood University. In 1997, Pam began working in non-profit management which included working for the Animal Protective Association (APA) Adoption Center, and more recently, she served as the Executive Director of the Wildlife Rescue Center in Ballwin, MO.

In November of 2011, Pam joined CHAMP Assistance Dogs as the Executive Director. Pam is consistently inspired by the life-changing programs at CHAMP and she is extremely passionate about the CHAMP mission.

Pam enjoys working with Service Dogs-in-training and visiting the CHAMP program at the Women’s Prison in Vandalia, MO. When time allows, she also participates in community outreach with her beloved Therapy Dog Gracie, a white standard poodle. Cowboy, Pam’s black Labrador, recently graduated from the CHAMP Therapy Dog Program.

Pam is active in the community and enjoys partnerships and networking. Currently, Pam serves on the Executive Board of Directors for the West St. Louis County Chamber of Commerce and is the Chair elect for 2017.

Dianne Peters, Director of Education

"Dianne Peters photo"

Dianne has a Master's degree in Elementary Education from the University of Missouri - St. Louis. She designed the curricula for the CHAMP Education Program, and visits schools, businesses, & service organizations to encourage understanding and respect for people of all abilities. CHAMP Education Programs include therapy dogs, education dogs, or service dogs and showcase ways that dogs can help people. Dianne guides staff and volunteers interested in participating in the education program. She is a founding member of CHAMP Dogs.

Dianne is also active in CHAMP's therapy dog program. She, with CHAMP Therapy Dogs Calgary or Jesse, or CHAMP Therapy Cat Skeeter Jackson, visit a wide variety of facilities each month, including hospitals, day care for special needs adults, USO, libraries, reading programs, and special needs classrooms.

Jacqui Zancanata, Director of the Therapy Dog Program

photo of Jacqui Zancanata

Jacqui Zancanata is a St. Louis native where she continues to live with her husband and growing family. Jacqui is a graduate of the University of Missouri, holding a Bachelors Degree in Biology.

She has been actively involved in the dog rescue community, working with multiple 501c3 groups fostering, training, and rehabilitating a variety of dog breeds. After placing 50+ animals in their forever homes, she continues to care for a number of animals who through the long road to healing and recovery have become a permanent part of the Zancanata family.

Jacqui has worked with the Bi-State Pet Food Pantry for most of the last decade. She first became a volunteer assisting in their efforts collecting food donations. Jacqui became the Volunteer Coordinator in 2013 where she organized teams for processing incoming donations and distributions. She was also actively involved in fundraising efforts, organizing multiple trivia events and representing the Pantry at numerous outreach events. Jacqui assumed the role of President in 2015, working to extend the reach of the Pantry throughout the greater St. Louis area. She maintained relationships with numerous manufacturers and generous contributors, and worked with multiple media outlets to both promote and raise awareness.

Jacqui began working with Champ in 2015 when she and her Labradoodle Daphne graduated from the Therapy Dog program. Both have remained active making regular visits to retirement communities, schools, and universities. Most recently Jacqui has accepted a position with Champ as the Director of Therapy Dog Teams where she will be coordinating more than 75 active therapy teams.

Nola Ewers, Director of the Assistance Dog Program

"Nola Ewers photo"

Nola is a founding member of CHAMP, and past board president. She has been training service dogs since 1992, and visits the CHAMP prison program in Vandalia, MO each week to lead classes for our offender-trainers. She is responsible for all aspects of the service dog program, from selecting and educating puppies through their eventual placement as service or facility dogs. Nola is also responsible for ensuring each dog's future partner is ready to be a great partner for their dog. She also enjoys being part of the instructional team for CHAMP therapy dog classes.

Terri Tucker-Warhover, D.V.M., Director of Puppies With Purpose

"Dr Terri Warhover photo"

Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Dr. Tucker-Warhover attended the University of Missouri at Columbia, Missouri and graduated with a BS. in Agriculture (Animal Science) in1983, and with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the College of Veterinary Medicine in 1986.

She is currently licensed in Virginia, North Carolina and Missouri. After graduation, Dr. Warhover moved to Virginia, and North Carolina, where she practiced small animal veterinary medicine, and owned a practice in Chesapeake, Virginia. Dr. Tucker-Warhover completed a residency in radiation oncology at the University of Missouri Veterinary Teaching Hospital in 2004. She returned to private practice in Virginia and North Carolina for 5 additional years.

After returning to Columbia, MO in August of 2012, Dr. Warhover began Puppies with Purpose (PWP), the first program of it’s kind in the state of Missouri. PWP involves University of Missouri students, who raise and socialize service puppies in training for CHAMP Assistance Dogs, and help to create a disability-conscious community through educational programs.

As the Puppies with Purpose veterinarian and Director, Dr. Tucker-Warhover oversees the day-to-day basic health, welfare, veterinary care and socialization of the puppies in the PWP program. She is also responsible for major fundraising, puppy acquisition, corporate sponsorships, grant writing, and for overseeing the various PWP committees, meetings, and events. Dr. Warhover visits the women’s prison on a regular basis to see to the veterinary needs of the service puppies and dogs while they are in training, as well as any rescue dogs we have in residence.

Dr. Warhover and her service dog, Dewey, love working with the students and all of the puppies that are a part of Puppies with Purpose, a CHAMP Assistance Dogs program.

Robin Wood, Director of Finance and Special Events

"Robin Wood photo"

Robin’s involvement with CHAMP began in 2015 as a volunteer on the planning committee for CHAMP’s signature event, “Hooray for Howl-E-Woof”. After getting to know the wonderful volunteers and staff at CHAMP, and seeing all of the great work the organization does, Robin was thrilled to have the opportunity to join the CHAMP staff in February, 2017. She considers it an honor to be a part of CHAMP and to support the organization’s mission.

Robin has a Master’s Degree in Media Communications. Her previous work in non-profit special events, as well as accounting, and even television, has helped to prepare her for her current role as Director of Finance and Special Events at CHAMP. Producing a successful event is definitely a team effort, and Robin loves working with the enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers who make it all happen.

Robin has a sweet Lab mix named Stella who is not in the photo with her, as Stella is too timid to pose for a picture. The dog in the photo is Rydell, a CHAMP Assistance Dog in Training. Robin has great admiration for the work of all of the assistance dogs in the CHAMP program, and is very gratified by seeing the extraordinary positive impact that these dogs make on people’s lives.

Nancy Johnson, Puppy Program Manager

"Nancy Johnson"

Nancy supervises and administers our puppy-raising program, keeping track of health and training records for all of our assistance dogs-in-training (in St Louis, Columbia, and at the prison) until they are placed with their future partners. Nancy also holds puppy classes for new raisers, answers puppy raiser questions, and sets up socialization outings for the dogs in the training program.

Nancy is also a skilled advanced trainer, and works one-on-one with our service dog students during the transfer process, instructing in the effective use of their service dogs' skills, public access rights and responsibilities, and other aspects of partnering with a service dog.

Nancy started training service dogs for CHAMP in 2003.

Dana Ruff, Placement Services Manager

"Dana Ruff photo"

Dana has been training with CHAMP since 2009, and joined our staff in February 2012. Her skills as an advanced service dog trainer coupled with her desire to help each client develop a strong partnership with their assistance dog make her the perfect choice for this position.

Dana also works one-on-one with our service dog students during the transfer process, and helps answer questions that may arise throughout the life of the team.

Dana also enjoys being part of the instructional team for CHAMP therapy dog classes.