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Our Team

WhatsApp Image 2018-08-19 at 11.35.24 PM
Yariv Ben-Yosef

Head of Program Development, Delivery and Training


• Yariv is an internationally recognized and certified dog trainer holding a TAFE CERT 4 and numerous other international accreditations. 

• He has been training dogs to assist people with various conditions for more that 20 years.

• He has worked internationally to develop unique and innovative techniques to improve the quality of life for people affected by physical, psychological or emotional disorders by training service and therapy dogs to help them attain improved quality of life.

• Leading a team of specialists, Yariv developed and successfully implemented the Alzheimer Aid Dog™ program in Israel, USA, Germany and United Kingdom.

• Yariv also educates various groups including special needs groups and their supporters, youth at risk, children and senior citizens about the needs and requirements of animals.

Contact: Mobile: +61 417 204 537 

Kevin Picker


Company General Manager


Kevin is a member of the Institute of Accountants in Australia. He has worked in senior financial and general management roles in large international companies. He recently agreed to undertake the management of the Center for Service and Therapy Dogs Australia as a “for benefit company” due to the very material benefit a Dog, trained by Yariv Ben Yosef, gave to his son who has Autism.

Contact: Mobile: +61 458 458 541

Dr Pree Benton


BPsych (Honours), DPsych (Health), MAPS

Pree is a registered health psychologist who is passionate about assisting people to become empowered in their lives. She is the principal psychologist at CSTDA and is responsible for assessment and supervision of each participant’s therapy program, the continued development of CSTDA’s Animal-Assisted Empowerment Program, and research. She holds a Bachelor of Psychology (with Honours) and a Doctorate of Psychology (Health). She is registered with AHPRA and a member of the Australian Psychological Society (MAPS).


Professional aged care advisor
Daphna Golan-Shemesh


Professional aged care advisor


Studied Social Work and specialised in Geriatrics at Tel Aviv University, later mastered in Expressive Art Therapies at Leslie College in Boston. Professional advisor of the Service and Therapy Dog centre and a collaborator in the designing of unique individualized projects. Owns, manages and works extensively with animals and dementia sufferers in the aged care environment.

Georgia Bennie

BPsychSc, BSc (Psych) (Hons), MProfPsych


Georgia is an AHPRA registered provisional psychologist with a prior military background
handling working dogs. She advises and assists in the operation of Dogs for Life Therapy
Programs and Animal-Assisted Empowerment Programs. Georgia is passionate in
empowering all participants and has a special interest in working with trauma and service
populations. She holds a Bachelor of Psychological Science, Bachelor of Science (Psychology, Honours) and Master of Professional Psychology.

Contact Georgia:

Claire Fitzpatrick

Occupational Therapist

Contact Claire:

Kate Wynd


Kate has over 10 years experience as a social worker, having provided support to members of our community in times of crisis, taking a particular interest in working with youth at risk. 

Currently, Kate is working in schools who have partnered with Dogs For Life; introducing teenagers to dog training and animal handling through personal development and team building activities with students.

Monique Sparks


bachelor of psychology and cert IV in dog training.  

Running school empowerment programs as her specialty 

Contact Monique:



Sharon Hill


Professional Dog Trainer and Animal Industry Innovator


Worked extensively in the Animal, especially Dog, industry for the past 30 Years. During that time Sharon has worked both locally and internationally as a Breeder and trainer having produced many Champion Dogs.  Sharon owned and ran a Dog centre in Reservoir where besides grooming and Dog care she also concentrated on using Dogs to assist Youth and Elderly at Risk. She worked extensively on the “Edaspace Project’ the winner of the 2013 Nab award.

Area: Resevroir, Epping, North Melbourne

Contact Sharon: 

Etai Lavi


Area: Caulfield, South East Melbourne

Contact Etai:



Monika Hoefer

Area: Dandenong, Mount Evelyn, North East Melbourne

Contact Monika:

Steven Cavicciolo

Area: Wangaratta, North Victorial

Contact Steven:

Kate Eltringham

Been involved with the breeding and working with Labrador, Golden, and Flat
Coated Retrievers for over thirty years. With her husband Noel they breed Labrador Retrievers that are sought around the country for their ability working in the field of assistance work.

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