Our Team

DeeDe Baker – Founder, Executive Director

Through her tenacity and passion, DeeDe has grown Dog Tag Buddies from a kitchen table conversation to the organization it is today. She is the wife of a combat veteran with 21 years of service and founded Dog Tag Buddies after seeing the relief their own dogs brought her husband when he returned from Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005. Her love of dogs and desire to help Montana veterans drives her passion for Dog Tag Buddies and has become her true calling in life. In 2018, after three years splitting her time between Dog Tag Buddies and her career of over twenty-one years with the State of Montana, DeeDe now fully dedicates her time to the organization. She spent the bulk of her career at the Montana Department of Labor as an unemployment investigator and adjudicator, eventually retiring as a business and security analyst. She takes a hands-on approach to driving the growth of the organization and works directly with program participants, trainers, staff, volunteers, and our Board of Directors to achieve her goals. For her, being able to assist veterans and rescue dogs brings together the best of both worlds, especially knowing she is giving two lives a second chance. She is a member of Pet Partners with her dog Oliver, is an American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen evaluator and as a member of the International Association of Canine Professionals has successfully completed the Dog Trainer Foundation Examination. In 2019, she successfully completed the PTSD Service Dog Trainer Essentials and PTSD Service Dog Academy through This Able Veteran.

Kati Grove – Operations Director

Kati Grove has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and over 9 years experience in Banking Operations, including 3 years of Operations Management and 3 years of Project Management experience. She is also trained in Lean Six Sigma methodology and is a graduate of the SWGSB Bank Operations Institute. Kati is the daughter of DeeDe Baker, our founder and executive director, and shares the same passion for helping our veterans and rescuing dogs. She has been involved in supporting animal rescues for several years, and has 3 rescue dogs and a cat of her own. Kati was selected as one of the 2019 40 Under 40 award recipients by the Billings Gazette and brings a unique business and project management perspective to the operations of Dog Tag Buddies.

Bonnie Lusby – Billings Trainer

Bonnie Lusby served as a member in the 82nd Airborne from 1979 to 1983. Since her time in the military, Bonnie has dedicated her time to working with dogs, from grooming to working in a veterinary clinic and training to showing in obedience, where her dog earned Dog of the Year. In the past ten years, Bonnie has expanded her reach in terms of training experience. In 2005, she became a trainer for and handler of narcotic K9s. She was certified with NPWDA and still has her DEA license. She’s conducted trainings specialized in obedience, nose work, shed hunts and behavioral issues. Bonnie began running the Prison Paws program and built it up to 35 trainers. She is also a certified AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluator. Bonnie works with some of Rimrock Humane Society, Circle Two Rescue and Tomcat Rescue’s animals with behavioral issues.

Credentials:

  • Certified with the North American Police Work Dog Association.
  • AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluator.
  • Trainer for the Trainer, Thinking for a Change.
  • Trainer for the Trainer, Women’s Needs and Risk.
  • Attended seminars in clicker training, positive-only training, behavioral adjustment training and the healing powers of stones/crystals for dogs.

Adele Delp – Helena Trainer

Adele Delp CMP, CPMP, CTDI owner of Canine Fitness in Helena Montana, conducts weekly classes for puppies, family dogs, agility, rally and obedience training. She also offers Therapy Dog Prep Classes, private lessons and consultations for problems with companion dogs and dogs that have recently been rescued. Adele has been training dogs and teaching classes for over 30 years. She has competed with her dogs in obedience, rally, agility, conformation, dock diving and herding. She currently has 2 therapy dogs she takes to retirement homes, the VA and schools. Working as Veterinary Tech for a number of clinics though out the years has given Adele the opportunity to learn more about animal behavior and the need to prepare your puppy or dog for situations they may encounter in their lifetime. It has also given her a deeper understanding of anatomy and movement.

Credentials:

  • Intermountain Therapy Animals Trainer/Evaluator.
  • Certified Canine Massage Practitioner and Canine Performance Massage Practitioner through Northwest School of Animal Massage. Professional member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT).
  • L.A.S.S. Evaluator for APDT.
  • Certified Trick Dog Instructor w/ Do More With Your Dog & AKC.
  • AKC Canine Good Citizens and STAR Puppy Evaluator.
  • Board member for Helena Kennel Club.
  • Animal Behavior College Mentor.

Chelsey Darrow – Missoula Trainer

Chelsey was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California (but we won’t hold that against her) but calls Montana home. She graduated from Montana State University and was commissioned as an intelligence officer in the United States Army in 2009. Chelsey deployed to Afghanistan in 2011-2012. While she initially intended to make the military a career, she was completely changed by her experiences in Afghanistan. Chelsey subsequently made the tough decision to leave the Army. Once a civilian she began working with Canine Companions for Independence in Santa Rosa, CA. She went through their apprentice dog training program and became a certified service dog instructor through Assistance Dogs International in 2017. Chelsey has spent the last five years training service dogs for veterans and helped get Canine Companions’ PTSD service dog program up and running. She also serves as the Veteran Programs Specialist and supports veterans’ programs across the country. In her free time Chelsey enjoys mountaineering, backpacking, and climbing. Chelsey and her husband hiked the Continental Divide Trail this past summer and they spent as much time as humanly possible in the backcountry. Chelsey is also a volunteer Peer Support Specialist for Wounded Warrior Project in Missoula. She is very excited to be working with Dog Tag Buddies and helping her fellow Montana veterans.

Kyren Zimmerman – Kalispell Trainer

Growing up hiking and exploring Montana’s great outdoors, Kyren found passion working with animals while working with Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks. There, as a science communicator and conservationist Kyren learned to create educational programs and share information with the public. He was able to expand his conservation experience assisting with research projects in New Zealand, Fiji, and Switzerland before finding his stride training specialized conservation detection dogs in California. Kyren continued to develop his dog training experience while working with Cammies & Canines, a service dog training organization. He learned to read canine behavior, apply a balanced training approach and teach dogs to perform specialized medical and therapeutic tasks for veterans. Since then Kyren has made his way back home to Kalispell, Montana and has shared his experience helping individuals build a better relationship with their dogs.

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    ADDRESS

    63739 street lorem ipsum City, Country

    PHONE

    +12 (0) 345 678 9

    EMAIL

    info@company.com