Frontdoors Magazine April 2019 Issue

Page 1










100 Ye ars

100 Ye ars





Rob and Melani Walton Discuss Philanthropy and Partnerships, From Local to Global

Debbie Gaby is Beginning a New Chapter of Her Fairy-Tale Life



On the Cover






Karen Werner

Andrea Tyler Evans



Tom Evans

Ashley Ford



Erin Garcia

Lindsay Morris



Judy Pearson Carey Peña Catie Richman

Jillian Rivera

Lin Sue Cooney and Max

Credit: Thurlkill Studios



Lisa Mullavey


Saks Fifth Avenue Phoenix FASHION WRITER


Thurlkill Studios


GENERAL INFORMATION & PRESS RELEASES 3104 E. Camelback Road #967, Phoenix, AZ 85016 480-622-4522 |

Frontdoors Magazine is dedicated to the memory of Mike Saucier.


TABLE OF CONTENTS {april 2019, volume 17, issue 4}

EDITOR’S NOTE......................... 05 Lets Talk Pets 10 QUESTIONS WITH............. 06 Chicanos Por La Causa BOOKMARKED.......................... 10 What Leaders of Local Pet Organizations Are Reading


OFFICE DOORS......................... 12 Dr. Steve Hansen of the Arizona Humane Society CAREY’S CORNER................... 16 Finding Her First Place


COVER STORY.......................... 20 Lin Sue and the Power of the Paw NEXT DOORS............................. 28 Mike Ingram Receives Prestigious Horatio Alger Award GIVING IN STYLE..................... 32 Posh and Practical Purses CHEERS TO THE CHAIRS..... 36 Nicole Anderson and JoAnn Stevens CHARITY SPOTLIGHT........... 38 Fearless Kitty Rescue KITCHEN DOORS..................... 42 Farm-Fresh Foods A 2ND ACT..................................... 44 Sit. Stay. Heal. OPEN DOORS............................ 48 Helping People, Saving Pets


++ Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans

++ Arizona Humane Society

++ Hospice of the Valley

++ Arizona Pet Project

++ Lost Our Home Pet Rescue

++ Chicanos Por La Causa

++ One Love Pit Bull Foundation

++ Fearless Kitty Rescue

++ Power Paws Assistance Dogs

++ First Place Arizona

++ Soldier's Best Friend

++ Home Fur Good Animal Rescue and Placement

++ Whispering Hope Ranch Foundation

EDITOR’S NOTE {on the job}

LET’S TALK PETS Terry Gross knows how to talk to people. As host and co-executive producer of NPR’s “Fresh Air,” she’s interviewed thousands of people over the course of her four-decade career. She says that “Tell me about yourself” is the only icebreaker you’ll ever need to navigate an uncomfortable dinner party or awkward conversation.

wonder Cooney, a gifted communicator, prizes her dog’s artful ability to get his point across? Or that Hansen, who adopted Crosby, one of the puppies born in his home, is proud of his pooch’s resilience? My hunch is that talking about pets helps us learn what traits people value, and maybe what qualities people prize in themselves.

With all due respect to Terry, I think I’ve improved on her formula. “Tell me about your pet” is my trick for getting people to let down their guard and speak from the heart.

This issue is for everyone whose heart beats faster at the thought of puppy breath and kitten mews. Along with our spotlight on Hospice of the Valley’s pet therapy program and the innovations at the Arizona Humane Society, we hope you’ll enjoy reading about Soldier’s Best Friend, Lost Our Home Pet Rescue, and many other organizations that help pets and people in crisis.

It’s how I learned that Lin Sue Cooney’s dog Max dings a hotel bell to ask to go outside. “If I’m doing dishes and can’t get to him right away, I have to say, ‘I’ll be right with you, Max’ or he continues to ding. But if I say something, he’s fine and will wait,” Cooney said. The question got Dr. Steve Hansen, CEO of the Arizona Humane Society, to talk about the time his family fostered a pregnant dog. “She had been with us two days when I got a phone call from my wife asking, ‘Where are you?’ My wife ended up delivering the puppies and did a fabulous job,” he said. If you turn the table and ask me about my pet, you’ll hear stories about my beloved rescued Chiweenie, Tuco. Or maybe Bunny, my quirky Manx cat. And you’ll definitely hear about the hermit crabs that have been going strong for four years and counting. Truth is, people love their animal companions so much that I detect a bit of projection when they describe what makes their pet special. Is it any

Because it’s never just about the pets, is it? It’s about a desire to nurture, love and heal and the profound effect these relationships have on our lives. That’s why these organizations are so worth celebrating — and why it’s my honor to present this month’s issue. And if we’re both at an event sometime soon, please come find me and tell me all about your furry friends.

Karen Werner EDITOR


David Adame, President & CEO


Tony Moya, Board of directors chair Photo credit: Jillian Rivera Photography

DAVID ADAME & TONY MOYA Chicanos Por La Causa

1. How was Chicanos Por La Causa started? ADAME: CPLC began in 1969 to confront oppression facing Latinos in Phoenix. Since then, it has become one of the largest Hispanic nonprofit and community development corporations in the country. We provide individuals and families with economic and political empowerment, which fosters 6  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | APRIL 2019

stronger and healthier communities throughout the southwestern United States. For the past four years, I’ve had the privilege and honor of leading an all-encompassing organization for the underserved. We empower lives by developing self-sufficiency through programs and services with the support of a team of 850 committed employees at approximately 115 locations in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico.

2. What kind of work did CPLC do in its early days? ADAME: Our organization’s name “Chicano” represents our roots and refers to those who navigate both the Mexican and American worlds. This term became popular during the Civil Rights movement, when CPLC formed. “Por La Causa” translates to “for the Cause,” which at that time was combating discrimination. Since then, the term “Chicano” has expanded to include anyone who believes in equal opportunity for all people, regardless of background. Likewise, the term “the Cause” has also evolved and now represents CPLC’s ability to adapt and advocate on behalf of the community to meet changing needs.

3. Has CPLC’s purpose changed over the years? ADAME: Our purpose remains the same; however, based on the growing needs of the community, we have expanded in scope. We believe that we create the greatest impact by delivering programs in the following areas: economic development, education, health & human services, and housing. Over the last decade, we’ve expanded our services to Nevada and New Mexico and are exploring opportunities in other states and in Mexico. To support our mission of helping individuals become economically and politically empowered and self-sufficient, we lead by example. Unlike most nonprofits, CPLC owns and manages for-profit businesses, which helps sustain our charitable initiatives.

4. Why does CPLC remain necessary today? ADAME: CPLC responds to the changing needs of the community from infants to seniors, providing wraparound services that impact the whole person. By holistically accessing and providing these services, our clients have a far higher success rate achieving self-sufficiency. While our services are offered to all people, regardless of ethnic background, we have a special competence in meeting the needs of

the Latino community and have become the most trusted provider of services in the areas we serve.

5. What kind of issues does CPLC address? ADAME: Since we began more than 50 years ago, CPLC is committed to providing a hand up and not a handout — everything from helping someone buy their first home or start their own business. We provide a holistic approach to the health of the individual and to early childhood development. Mainly we serve as an advocate as the voice of the Latino community and those underserved populations.

6. How is CPLC moving the needle in your four impact areas? MOYA: An economic survey demonstrated that CPLC has contributed $1.75 billion to Arizona’s economy from 2006 to 2016. The economic impact to the state includes $534.7 million in housing and real estate, $398.4 million in economic development, and $817.7 million derived from health & human services, education and corporate services. Moreover, CPLC’s presence in Arizona over the past 10 years has generated more than $56 million in tax revenue, strengthened more than 300 small businesses through lending, and generated $85 million in construction revenue.

7. How many people does CPLC serve, and in what populations? MOYA: In the past six years, CPLC has impacted 1.4 million lives, equivalent to the population of Phoenix. In fact, CPLC impacts the lives of more than 306,000 individuals annually in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico.

8. CPLC is celebrating its 50th anniversary. What does the milestone mean to the organization? MOYA: It means a lot of work from many people dedicated to improving the community in which APRIL 2019 | FRONTDOORS MEDIA  7


we all live. It also means having the trust of the community to be the leader to help bring about that impactful change.

9. What do you see for CPLC in the next 50 years? MOYA: To continue to grow in the role of the largest community development corporation in the entire Southwest by expanding our services in Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and California to reach our goal of impacting 1.5 million lives within seven years. But I would be remiss if I didn’t give credit where credit is due by thanking those who had the foresight and grit to start Chicanos Por La Causa. It was because they saw inequalities in the education they were receiving and wanted to change that in a positive way. I wonder if they had any idea that what they were doing then would grow into what CPLC is today.

10. How can readers support the work CPLC is doing? MOYA: They can join our events, sponsor, engage, volunteer or donate in celebration of our 50th anniversary. CPLC has scheduled a series of events throughout 2019. The signature event in Phoenix is the 50th Anniversary Dinner & Awards “Here We Stand,” where CPLC will honor Arte and Carole Moreno, Sheila E., and Pete Escobedo, who are trailblazers that have broken barriers in sports, music, the arts and philanthropy. The celebration will include an exhibit of historical photographs and a free public concert with renowned artist Sheila E. on April 27 at the Phoenix Convention Center. To learn more, go to

Tito’s Handmade Vodka IS THE

Bettering the lives of pets and their families far and wide





@vodkafordogpeople VODKAFORDOGPEOPLE.COM

BOOKMARKED {what are you reading} What leaders of local pet organizations are reading


Co-founder of Home Fur Good Animal Rescue and Placement

R E C O M M E N D S : “A Cat to Die For” BY MARIA GRAZIA SWAN H E R TA K E “The Furry Friends Foundation — the no-kill operation that rescues cats and dogs that’s described in the book — is based on our own shelter, Home Fur Good, where the author is a volunteer. As a cat and dog lover, I enjoy


discovering fiction where pets play a leading role. This book delivered with a fun plot, characters that I’d like to learn more about, and two male calicos that are so rare it got my interest up. The light romance didn’t hurt either.”

Executive director of Whispering Hope Ranch Foundation

R E C O M M E N D S : “Riding Home: The Power of Horses to Heal” BY TIM HAYES H E R TA K E “At Whispering Hope Ranch, I am in the privileged position to witness the healing that takes place through the humananimal bond. We know of the measurable, scientifically documented benefits for those with compromised health and the accelerated human healing — physical, mental and emotional — that takes place when humans interact with animals. ‘Riding Home’ scientifically and experientially explains


why horses have the extraordinary ability to transform lives. The author discusses how humans can learn to communicate with horses in their language and describes something we often see — how a horse can become legs for those who are not able to use their own, the joy experienced and sense of confidence gained, which often inspires them to try other things. I highly recommend this book.”

Secretary and event manager at One Love Pit Bull Foundation

R E C O M M E N D S : “Atomic Habits” BY JAMES CLEAR H E R TA K E “This book is AMAZING and so valuable to anyone who chooses to read/listen to it. Many topics that are discussed are completely relatable to everyday life. I had many takeaways that I will use to improve my own life, but also so many tools that will help me better serve my clients. James Clear guides you on how to create good habits, break bad ones and get 1 percent better every day. The book will help you break down your


habits good and bad and also give you the tools and strategies you need to transform your life. You could be a coach looking to take your team to #1, a company looking to improve performance and employee morale, or an individual who wishes to quit smoking, lose weight, exercise more, reduce stress and achieve success that lasts. No matter what you are looking to improve, this book will not disappoint.”

ELAINE STARKS Executive director of Power Paws Assistance Dogs, Inc. R E C O M M E N D S : “Becoming” BY MICHELLE OBAMA H E R TA K E

“‘Becoming’ is a comfortable escape from your challenges. I assumed the role of executive director in December 2017. Reading Michelle Obama’s challenges in life, as a child and


then at the highest level, can make us all say quietly to ourselves, ‘We can do this!’ Move doubt aside, be positive and keep smiling.”

Executive director of The Arizona Pet Project

R E C O M M E N D S : “Tattoos on the Heart” BY GREGORY BOYLE H E R TA K E “I happened to be reading this book at a time when The Arizona Pet Project was exploring new programs that prevent pets from entering Valley shelters. At first glance, a book about a gang-intervention organization may not directly correlate to animal welfare, but if you dig a little deeper the parallels are clear. ‘Tattoos on the Heart’ guides readers past judgment of people who may look different from ourselves to a place where we can

recognize and celebrate our shared humanity, regardless of background or experience. It teaches us to be less judgmental and how to find real and meaningful solutions to life’s problems, and was the cornerstone upon which our organization’s value system and shelter intervention program was built. You will laugh, you will cry, and you’ll discover a new appreciation for your fellow human.”

JUDITH GARDNER President and CEO of Arizona Animal Welfare League R E C O M M E N D S : “Happy Dog Phoenix — Your Best Friend’s Guide to the Valley”


H E R TA K E “This book is the ultimate guide for all dog owners in Arizona. It covers topics such as where to take your dog, desert-proofing your dog (think cactus, monsoons and coyotes), traveling to nearby areas with your dog (San Diego, Mexico, Northern Arizona), medical care (with information on Valley Fever),

your dog and the law, etc. It also addresses topics you’d never have thought of and covers the unique challenges of dog ownership in the desert. Best of all, all proceeds of the sale of the book, which sells for $14.95, go directly to AAWL. Books can be ordered at”


OFFICE DOORS {valley changemakers}

DR. STEVE HANSEN President & CEO of the Arizona Humane Society

All three of Dr. Steve Hansen’s family dogs came from the Arizona Humane Society. He is shown here with his dog Sammi.

Karen Werner | Editor

Dr. Steve Hansen is the rare person who went right through high school and college with the same career plan in mind. “Never changed my major once,” he said. His focus would — and always will — be animals. He practiced clinical veterinary medicine in Houston and Chicago, was the director of veterinary research for Wellmark International, and spent 15 years as the chief operating officer of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in New York. Around six years 12  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | APRIL 2019

ago, the soft-spoken vet decided to apply his mission to a particularly difficult challenge. Maricopa County had long been considered one of the worst places in the country to be a homeless pet. Animals came into shelters and if they were healthy, they got adopted. If they weren’t, they did not. Hansen took on the role of president and CEO of the Arizona Humane Society in 2013 to change that. “We really believe that the animal shelter as you now it is obsolete,” he said. “Our objective was

to completely change the complexion for animal welfare in our organization and in the Valley as well.” AHS’s role is to care for the most vulnerable — the sick, injured, homeless and abused animals often overlooked by other shelters. “Our Second Chance Animal Trauma Hospital is the busiest trauma hospital that I know of in a shelter setting because we have ambulances that we deploy across the Valley to pick up sick or injured animals,” Hansen said. Last year, the hospital treated more than 11,000 patients. Beyond trauma response, AHS performs 16,000 spays and neuters a year and manages its patients’ healthcare, taking innovative steps to get and keep animals healthy. For instance, its Sunnyslope campus fights the highly contagious, often fatal, viral disease parvo — long been considered untreatable — with the help of a room in the back of the facility transformed into a restricted-access area with its own ventilation, so the disease won’t spread to other dogs. “We’re just over 80 percent successful, which is huge for parvovirus,” Hansen said.

almost doubles our shelter capacity,” he said. “Today we have about 350 animals in foster and about 450 to 500 under roof. By July, we’ll double both of those numbers.” Behavioral health has also become a key focus and, again, volunteers play a critical role. Volunteers come in to walk the dogs and play in the dog park in back. They blow bubbles, spray scents the dogs like and shoot Cheez Whiz on the kennel walls. Anything to keep the animals happy, active and engaged, because a shelter is not a great place to be, Hansen acknowledges. “It’s our objective not to have animals in shelters. We try and keep the animals in homes and we want the animals that really need medical care to come here. Those can be hit by cars; they can be cruelty cases,” he said. That’s where volunteers again come in. The trauma hospital treats a lot of fractures, and foster

AHS also runs the most active bottle baby nursery in Arizona, where volunteers and team members bottlefeed kittens 24 hours a day. And then there’s the Mutternity Suites, where pregnant dogs can give birth and care for their puppies, all under the watchful eye of AHS staff, thanks to in-room video cameras. Over the past five years, AHS’s reputation has changed dramatically. “We’ve actually saved about 80,000 animals since 2014,” Hansen said. “What most people don’t realize is that we fix by far the lion’s share. It has to be a really, really awful situation for us not to be able to save the animal.” That’s why volunteers play such a critical role in Hansen’s plan for AHS. “Our foster program

AHS’s Bottle Baby ICU cares for tiny felines during kitten season, when shelters are overflowing with kittens.



volunteers enable animals with broken bones to recover in homes, freeing up AHS’s kennels to house other sick and injured animals. Last year, more than 4,600 animals went into foster care with 1,379 AHS fosters. It’s been a marked turnaround for the organization, and an upward trend that shows no sign of stopping. “Long term, we see our medical center as a center of excellence for treating and rehabilitating shelter animals, for medical care and behavior care, and for finding homes for those animals. We see our impact much greater than it currently is,” Hansen said. So he will continue to innovate and advocate for Arizona’s animals. “I think I have the best job on the planet,” he said. “Shelters didn’t use to be happy places. But this is a very happy place, especially when you see what comes in the door and then what goes out. We’re pretty proud of that.”

Walter, the World’s Largest VW bus.


PACK! Dog walking, working in AHS thrift stores, providing hands-on animal care. There are many ways for animal lovers to make an impact on the local pet community.


Building futures and strengthening communities by pathways building pathways Building futures and strengthening communities by building Building futures and strengthening communities by building pathways successeducation, through education, skill and building and employment. to successtothrough skill building employment. to success through education, skill building and employment. Building futures and strengthening communities by building pathways to success through education, skill building and employment.

Arizona Center For Youth Resources Arizona Center For Youth Resources Arizona Center For Youth Resources | 602‐252‐6721 | @acyraz | 602‐252‐6721 | @acyraz | 602‐252‐6721 | @acyraz Arizona Center For Youth Resources | 602‐252‐6721 | @acyraz

CAREY’S CORNER {carey peña reports}

FINDING HER FIRST PLACE Denise Resnik advocates for adults with autism

Carey Peña | Contributing Writer

“WHEN YOU ARE IN YOUR DARKEST MOMENTS, THERE IS LIKELY SOMEONE OUT THERE SHARING THOSE SAME MOMENTS WITH YOU.” When Denise Resnik’s son Matthew was 2 years old, his family was given a devastating diagnosis. “We were told to love, accept and plan to institutionalize our son.” Matthew had autism. At that time, 27 years ago, Resnik explained, autism was being diagnosed in 1 in 2,500 children. Today it is 1 in 59. “I did feel sorry for myself at first,” Resnik said with emotion. “I was sad. I didn’t know where to turn. I didn’t know what to do. I remember finding Matthew one early morning in the closet by himself, this little boy, and I remember getting in there with him and thinking … I don’t know if I want to come out of this closet today either. It was really hard.” In that moment, Resnik became a crusader. “We didn’t really know where to turn for help, so we turned to each other. We turned to other mothers and fathers and started a parent support group. And that was good for a while but we needed 16  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | APRIL 2019

to do more. That’s when we formed SARRC in 1997.” The Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center known as SARRC is an internationally recognized nonprofit organization dedicated to autism research, education, evidence-based treatment and community outreach. According to their website, they are “one of the only autism organizations in the world that provides a lifetime of services for individuals and their families while also conducting cutting-edge research.” Resnik’s son Matthew has what she describes as classic autism. He struggles with both receptive and expressive communication, but she says, “He is super-smart and a hardworking man.” While Matthew always had a dedicated support system, Resnik and her husband worried about what would happen when he became an adult. In the days and weeks after he was diagnosed, she visited some of the institutions that were recommended to her. It haunts her to this day. “I will never forget what I saw, what I smelled, how

Denise Resnik dreamed about a future residence for her son Matthew (far right), who was diagnosed with autism 25 years ago. So she researched, raised funds, developed a team and applied a mother’s heart to create First Place AZ.



they made me feel. I committed back then, and remain committed now, that we are going to find a better way. I couldn’t imagine our son living in any one of those spaces … what heartache for the families who thought that was the only option.” BREAKING NEW GROUND April is National Autism Awareness Month, so I invited Resnik on my podcast, Carey Peña Reports, to talk about how she is breaking new ground in terms of housing options for people, like her son, who have autism and other neurodiversities. The question Resnik asked herself and others is, “How do we create a more inclusive community and allow people with different abilities to find their place?” Resnik set out to answer that question. And she is uniquely qualified to do so. Her marketing firm, DRA Collective, has been focused on real estate and community connection for more than 30 years. Resnik and her team studied over 100 different residential properties across the country in collaboration with Arizona State University and the Urban Land Institute. “We were looking for something we could bring back to Arizona. Something that would be replicable and scalable and financially sustainable.” They set forth 10 design goals and a collection of guidelines, and committed to creating an innovative model to lead this new wave of real estate. What came of all of this is First Place AZ, a sister nonprofit to SARRC, with a focus on ensuring “bountiful housing and community options.” “We committed to leading by example,” Resnik said. “We created First Place Phoenix, which is our first model property in the heart of the community.” First Place Phoenix is an 81,000-square-foot contemporary property with 55 units and a capacity of 79 people. It’s broken into three components, including a Transition Academy for students, apartments for people of different abilities, and 18  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | APRIL 2019

a Global Leadership Institute. Resnik hopes with the creation of First Place Phoenix they will be able to “advance this important work and build a marketplace based on study, data collection and support of public policy.” CREATING A MORE HOPEFUL FUTURE For 27-year-old Matthew the future is bright. He and his parents co-founded SMILE Biscotti (which stands for Supporting My Independent Living Enterprise). The biscotti is sold in the Valley and online. One of the biggest sellers is Peet’s Coffee and Tea at Sky Harbor Terminal 4, where SMILE Biscotti is the second top sales item of all of their passive goods. “It is truly feel-good versus feel sorry for me,” Resnik said. “It’s about what Matt and his co-workers can do, not what they can’t. To see them in action cracking 600 eggs in an hour, packaging, labeling and sealing biscotti — it’s amazing.” A lot of amazing things have happened in the 25 years since Resnik and her husband were told they would have to institutionalize their son. Matthew has the unconditional love of his family, the support of his community, a rewarding job and an exciting new place to live at First Place Phoenix. He is also a mean Scrabble player. Most of all, Matthew is thriving in his life — in his own way. That’s what Resnik wants to see for more children and adults. She remembers sitting in that closet so many years ago, terrified about what would happen to her son. Terrified to come out and face the day. Now she has hope. To learn more, go to









COVER STORY {by karen werner}

HOSPICE OF THE VALLEY KNOWS THAT PETS ARE GOOD MEDICINE The hair. The smile. The voice. They’re all there, same as you remember.

off of pain, and spur communication, including sharing memories of their own pets.

But instead of the news desk at KPNX 12, where she served as an anchor for 31 years, Lin Sue Cooney sits behind a table at Hospice of the Valley, warmly talking about her dog.

Last year, Hospice of the Valley pet therapy teams provided 3,250 hours of service. With each stroke of their coats, these dogs, cats, bunnies — even a miniature horse — helped hospice patients and their families momentarily forget about illness, or at least make it a little easier.

“I’ve noticed he does this thing where he walks in and smells the breath of the person. I think he can smell sickness,” she said. Cooney and Max, a standard poodle, are one of 75 therapy teams in Hospice of the Valley’s pet therapy program, which brings furry friends to patients in their homes, in palliative care units and in other care facilities. “Pets are such a gift — a burst of sunshine,” Cooney said. Studies show that therapy pets bring comfort and reduce feelings of depression and isolation. They can ease anxiety, take a patient’s mind

“The miniature horse is Lily. She has a tutu and little tennis shoes that she wears if she needs to go where floors might be delicate or she might slip. She’s a big favorite,” Cooney said. Cooney’s association with Hospice of the Valley goes back years. A family member had been cared for by the organization in 2003 and she was blown away. Cooney emceed a couple of events and did stories about the organization being a nonprofit that turns no one away. She always had a soft spot for them, she says.



So when the time came for her to sign — or not sign — a four-year contract renewal at Channel 12 at the same time her sons were entering high school, she took a breath and looked around. “I realized I was ready for a transition. It was a different season, and I was ready for an encore career devoted to making the world a better place,” Cooney said. She spoke with the then-executive director of Hospice of the Valley, who had an unexpected idea: Join them. “She said, ‘We don’t need clinical. We need somebody who has community ties, who can educate, inform and present all the things we do and all the things we are.” Cooney felt that call to serve. “This society is afraid of dying,” she said. “We don’t treat death like we treat birth, which is reverent and beautiful. We don’t plan for it. So it happens in the back of an ambulance, on the way to a hospital, or in an emergency room because we’re not thinking ahead. How do I want that moment to look? Where do I want to be?” Cooney accepted the role of director of community engagement and now works to teach the public about what hospice is, and just as importantly, what it is not. “People think you go on hospice to die, and that’s the exact opposite of what we are,” Cooney said. “We want you to live every moment you have left. So it’s like, ‘What’s on your bucket list? What joy can we pack in?’ That’s how we see it.” To learn what the organization does on a granular level, Cooney steeped herself in hospice work. She went with chaplains and read scripture to patients. She helped bathe them and went with social workers to listen and sympathize. Along the way, the former journalist found her new life’s mission. “I feel like I get to get up every morning and serve. I feel so grateful for that, because people


Hospice of the Valley pet therapy animals — including dogs, cats, a bunny and a miniature horse — provided more than 2,600 patient visits last year. Photos courtesy of Hospice of the Valley

Therapy Teams Wanted You and your best friend can join the menagerie and become a Hospice of the Valley pet therapy team. The organization is specifically in need of small dogs. A great therapy animal is friendly, confident, calm and likes people. All pet teams must be evaluated and registered with a national pet therapy organization. Call (602) 636-6336 or go to to learn more.

Photo by Jill Flynn


sometimes spend their whole lives trying to figure out what their purpose is,” she said. Because Cooney was a fixture on the airways, coming into people’s homes for so many years, people often feel they know her and can trust when she explains how hospice works. And many are thrilled and surprised when she conducts pet therapy visits herself, along with her beloved Max. Cooney has a special relationship with Max, who will turn 11 in July. An elegant, energetic dog, he moves with a light, springy gait as he romps around Cooney’s backyard. At the same time, he is a “thinking” dog who pays close attention to Cooney’s command. On hospice visits, he is calm and easygoing, like all therapy pets must be. “He immediately matches how they are,” Cooney said. “If there’s laughter, his tail moves and he gets closer. If they’re very still and they don’t move, he’ll just sniff their hand or put his nose under their hand. He’s really intuitive.” So much so that Cooney swears he knows the work he’s about to embark on when she takes out his blue pet therapy vest. And after a couple of hours visiting hospice patients, caretakers and staff, he returns home as tired as if he’d run 10 miles. “I feel a little glow in my heart when I see how pooped he is afterward,” Cooney said. “I think, ‘Oh gosh, I wore you out, but you did a good thing today.’”

Becoming a registered therapy animal takes practice, patience and perseverance, but it can enhance the relationship between the pet and its handler, as it has for Lin Sue Cooney and Max.

Patients and families agree. Some need their spirits lifted by the warmth and laughter pets bring; others need the comforting power of physical contact. Either way, these furry visitors serve as nonjudgmental listener and quiet friend. They sit calmly and let patients and their families recollect and smile. “I feel very relaxed when I have her here,” said Vicki, a hospice patient, about Callie, an adorable



Hospice of the Valley therapy dog. “She shares my feelings — she really does. I pet her and it makes me feel good.” For Cooney and the care teams at Hospice of the Valley, this is music to their ears. Making end-of-life patients feel good and helping them to embrace the last chapter of their lives is precisely why they serve. “It’s been such a joy to do something that is so needed, valuable and important to every single person,” Cooney said. That’s why, after reporting the Valley’s diverse stories for three decades, Cooney’s mission is now to tell one: Hospice of the Valley’s. The shift has put everything else into perspective. “Somebody cuts you off on the freeway. Your roof has a flood. I’m like, who cares? It is not stage 4 cancer,” Cooney said. The change has also affected how Cooney sees Max. “I see a wise empathy in him,” she said. “When you see him with people who are so weak and happy to see him and he’s so patient — like, more patient than a person would be — I do see him in a different light.” Cooney is leaning across the table in her sunny Hospice of the Valley office, beaming with pride as she talks about Max, the other pet therapy teams, and Hospice of the Valley’s people, programs and plans. As much as she may have enjoyed the limelight that accompanied life in television, she isn’t missing her old gig in the slightest. “To have a career, a calling, a mission — that’s the definition of what I do. I come to work and I’m serving others, and it’s a dream come true,” Cooney said.


Dispelling Fears About Hospice We consult consumer magazines for the best car and search the Internet for the best neighborhood. Yet we think little about how we want to exit our lives, said Lin Sue Cooney, the director of community engagement at Hospice of the Valley. Here she helps dispel fears and misconceptions about hospice care. FEAR: I can’t see my doctor. LIN SUE: “Hospice teams work with your doctor. They make decisions together. You don’t lose your doctor.” FEAR: It’s expensive. LIN SUE: “It’s covered by Medicare. And Hospice of the Valley is a nonprofit, so no one is ever turned away, regardless of insurance status or financial means.” FEAR: Once I’m on hospice, I can’t have any more medical treatments. LIN SUE: “Hospice is meant to extend quality of life. You can go on hospice, get stronger through its individualized, personalized care, and return to have another round of chemo and buy yourself more time. And then when you need hospice, come back.”

Hospice therapy pets provide a wide ange of physical, emotional and social benefits to patients and families. Here, Max works his magic with patients. Photos courtesy of Hospice of the Valley

FEAR: If I use my hospice benefit too soon or don’t time it right, it will run out. LIN SUE: “It doesn’t. You can’t use it up. You have the choice to pursue another treatment and come back.” Cooney encourages people to gather the facts in advance, for themselves or for parents and loved ones. “You can call hospice any time you think you might be eligible and they will send someone out to sit down and talk to you to find out if you are,” she said. In the meantime, Cooney encourages everyone to learn about hospice and give thought to their own final wishes. Visit to learn more.

NEXT DOORS {ahead of the curve}

MIKE INGRAM RECEIVES PRESTIGIOUS HORATIO ALGER AWARD But the Arizona developer is just getting started Tom Evans | Contributing Editor

Mike Ingram has lived a full and interesting life. But being recognized with something like the Horatio Alger Award still gets his attention. “Back in the 1970s, Zig Zigler was a good friend, and he told me that one of his friends was nominated, and at that time I didn’t know what it was,” Ingram said. “Zig said, ‘Mike, this is one of the highest non-military honors one can receive.’ I started studying about it and thought ‘Wow’ — I never thought I would be considered for something like this. It’s a real honor.” Ingram is well known locally as founder of El Dorado Holdings, which has developed more than 83,000 acres of land in Arizona. He is also part owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks and has been involved with scores of philanthropic causes. He’s certainly worthy of being honored. But there’s something about the Horatio Alger Award that’s a really nice fit. The award will induct Ingram into the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, 28  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | APRIL 2019

which honors the contributions of worthy awardees who have overcome significant adversity to be successful. It provides scholarships to students who are also overcoming adversity, to help put them on a similar path to success. Ingram’s inspiring story started when he was 11. His parents had just bought, torn down and rebuilt a motel in New Mexico when his father died of cancer. “It left my mother and me with the mortgage and medical bills,” he said. “It’s a time of having to fight for your life and for your survival. My mother had an eighth-grade education — you could see the fear in her eyes.” Ingram developed a powerful work ethic and an eye toward entrepreneurship, and paid his way through college by working full-time. “The thing it gave me was probably my work ethic,” he said. “By the time I got to college, my mother was not able to help me at all. The last two

years, my wife and I were both working 40 hours a week and carrying a full class load. You develop a work ethic — you don’t have a choice. If you want to survive you learn to work, learn to persevere.” Ingram persevered, graduated debt-free — and went into the working world. He started at Merck & Company, Inc., one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, where he was the top veterinary pharmaceutical salesman for four years. In 1972, he took the role of president at Tufts & Sons of Oklahoma, Inc., a distributor of animal health and home and garden products, which he grew from a small business into one with $100 million in annual sales. But when the oil and banking crisis of the 1980s hit, the company staggered, and he was forced to sell it at a loss. But Ingram wasn’t done by far. He moved to Arizona in 1987 to start from scratch, founding El Dorado Holdings with a staff of one person at first — himself — and one property south of Phoenix: John Wayne’s El Dorado Ranch. Over the years the company expanded dramatically, building practically the entire city of Maricopa and assets worth more than $1 billion.

Mike Ingram joins 12 other exceptional business, civic and cultural leaders from across North America in receiving the Horatio Alger Award.

Now, Ingram is in the process of launching an astonishing new effort — the construction of Douglas Ranch west of the Valley, which when complete will be the largest master-planned community in the western United States. It’s being constructed in partnership with Jerry Colangelo’s JDM Partners, and will eventually be home to more than 300,000 people. Which makes the timing of the award interesting. After all, this is no lifetime achievement honor, and Ingram has no intention of slowing down any time soon. “I think what they (the award committee) are looking for is someone who is going to continue to give back,” he said. “They help these young scholars with state and national scholarships, and so really this award is going to someone who

is in the process of giving back, not a lifetime achievement award riding into the sunset. They want a strong commitment from these recipients.” Ingram has long supported charitable causes here in the Valley — TGen, Barrow Neurological Institute and Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West are just a few he has supported — and says giving back is key to him. “It goes back to the early part of my career — Paul Harvey used to be a news commentator, and he would talk about ‘leaving the woodpile a little higher than you found it,’” he said. “It goes back to the Old West days, when as people moving east, there were times they’d come across a cabin and would go in and find a woodpile and start a fire. When they left, the obligation was to leave it higher than when they arrived. It’s an obligation each and every one of us has — to leave our country and society a little better than when we found it.” Ingram credits his family and his work team with inspiring him and enabling him to be successful, and APRIL 2019 | FRONTDOORS MEDIA  29


Mike Ingram and his wife Sheila share a philosophy of rising through adversity, staying focused on goals and delivering on commitments.

while he’s nowhere near retiring, he does enjoy spending time on the ranch with his six children, 21 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. He also raises cattle and horses as well, which helps explain why he keeps doing what he’s doing. “It’s pretty exciting to see a new baby colt hit the ground, exciting to see a new calf born, exciting to see a new project come to fruition,” he said. “When people retire, sometimes their level of giving back subsides, and they don’t give the way they used to. I don’t want to do that. Besides, my wife would not be happy,” he joked. “She says, ‘I’m happy to have you home for dinner, but I don’t want you home for lunch.’” To learn more about Mike Ingram, the Horatio Alger Association and its member class of 2019, go to




The Valley’s Highest Quality, Most Reliable, Best Equipped Audio/ Visual Company is also the Best Value in Town Find out what dozens of the Valley’s top events and nonprofits already know — Latest Craze Production goes above and beyond to create an extraordinary AV experience for any occassion. And be sure to ask us about our incredible new LED walls that will make your visuals stand out like never before. | 480.626.5231

The new line of KATCO bags is designed to be organized, so their owners don't have to be.

GIVING IN STYLE {fashion in the philanthropy lane}

POSH AND PRACTICAL With KATCO, a luxuriously organized lifestyle is in the bag Tyler Butler | Fashion Writer

Growing up with a mother who suffered from macular degeneration, Kathryn Gandal recognized the value of an organized handbag. She realized women’s bags were often in a state of disarray, and that keeping them organized was a daunting task. And she recognized it was nearly impossible for women like her mother, whose eyesight was severely compromised. After a fluke accident in a flight, where her cell phone and car keys created a spark and started a fire in her bag, she understood how important an organized handbag could be. It was not only an issue of fashion, but also of function and safety. Gandal combed the market for a bag that had the organizational features she was looking for. To her dismay, she found nothing. She worked on the idea for years, but the timing wasn’t right for the launch of an innovative, fashion-oriented, organizationally adept bag. After an encounter with Jessica Leila Adnani and a thought-provoking conversation about the lack of innovation in department stores, the bag began to take shape. Adnani had just relocated to Phoenix and happened to connect with the resources at F.A.B.R.I.C., the fashion incubator in Tempe, that

could help the women bring their idea to life. Angela Johnson, the co-founder of F.A.B.R.I.C., helped the women sketch their bag, mindmapping the interior components and a design that would enable the KATCO bag to be manufactured. Together, the three created not only the leather bag itself, but also a wallet/ wristlet that fits cards, coins and cell phone; a makeup bag; dual eyeglass case; leather folio for papers/laptop; key-ring lanyard; and a KATCO insulated bottle perfect for water, smoothies or wine. Their goal was to create a bag fit for the chicest, most organized woman. Gandal and Adnani went about sourcing materials to find the right match for their luxe design. They connected with CLi Digital Media for their logo design, ALKEMY AZ for their media, and Laura Madden, a local fashion advocate and model, who will be featured in their commercials. The project, for the most part, became one by women, for women. The bags are already receiving visibility, having been featured in a variety of runway shows benefiting nonprofits. With their official launch date set for June 1, the duo is keenly fixed on APRIL 2019 | FRONTDOORS MEDIA  33

Photo credit: Shane Baker

how their bag will positively impact society. “We’ve already made a $5,000 donation to the Arizona Apparel Foundation, which is what supports F.A.B.R.I.C. and all of the services offered there,” Gandal said. “We love Arizona and want to support this underrepresented fashion community. We really hope to help put it on the map nationally.”

Recognizing that corporate social responsibility is a concept KATCO wants baked into its business, the founders feel their goal is not just to create a financially profitable brand for its own sake, but also so they can help impact communities in positive ways. The company plans to select a philanthropic cause each quarter and donate a percentage


Spring Clean Your Purse!


1 Turn your handbag upside down and dump the contents on an empty table. 2 Take a moment to look through everything and think about which items you really need and which items are there out of habit. 3 Collect like items and put things back in the bag in an order where you can easily reach them. 4 Separate car keys from house keys by having dedicated key rings. 5 Keep the bag orderly so it becomes a habit and you don’t waste time reorganizing every day.

of profits as well as offer customers the chance to round up their purchases to raise funds for worthy causes as they check out online. The ultimate dream is that the company will help solve problems that women face, both those found inside their bags and in their lives.


To learn more, go to

2446 E CAMELBACK ROAD | 602.955.8000



191787_PHOENIX_FRONTDOORS_7.75X4.75_MAG.indd 1

3/18/19 1:31 PM


Society of Chairs }

Frontdoors is proud to recognize those who volunteer their time, treasure and talents to support local organizations in a leadership role.

Nicole Anderson and JoAnn Stevens Chairs of Inchstones: A Celebration of Champions benefiting United Cerebral Palsy of Central Arizona

Why do you support UCP of Central Arizona?

Describe this year’s event.

Nicole: The day our child was faced with a devastating diagnosis,

Nicole: Our 8th annual fundraiser “Inchstones” promises to inspire

our world came crashing down. There were incredible moments of pain and sadness as we realized our dreams for our daughter were vanishing before our eyes. Alexandra had already begun services with UCP prior to our diagnosis, and our therapy team was among the first to know of this news. They were there for us as we grieved and wanted to learn as much as possible about her diagnosis of Pitt Hopkins Syndrome. Now over the course of three and a half years, her therapists and the support staff at UCP have offered us a renewed sense of hope for her future. Three times a week, every single week, Alexandra receives therapy to develop critical skills to help her achieve her dreams. I support UCP as a family ambassador, annual donor, volunteer and as a member of their board of directors, so that others can learn about UCP’s critical role in the community. Our family is forever grateful for the incredible therapists that have given Alexandra the gift of hope and cheer her on as she masters every single “inchstone” along the way.

and offer a unique glimpse into living life with a disability, while living a life without limits. Guests will have the opportunity to meet Alexandra and Max, my daughter and JoAnn’s son, as well as other children who are defying the odds on a daily basis. While medical journals tell us that our children may never walk or talk, UCP tells us they can and will. Either through a visit to UCP or by attending the event, you will leave with a renewed sense of purpose and hopefully inspired to do more and be more for your community.

JoAnn: I support this organization because I believe they are doing

Nicole: The French Riviera. I fell in love with the coastal beaches of

amazing work for families, children and adults with special needs. They helped my family navigate a very hard path when our son was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of 6 months, and they continue to support Max through triumphs and challenges of everyday life with CP. He has grown to love his therapists as well as the teachers in their inclusive early-learning center. He knows everyone as we walk the UCP campus and they have become like family to us.


Favorite movie: JoAnn: Any Harry Potter movie. It was the first “real” book I ever read at the age of 10, and it cultivated my love for reading. The books continued to be released throughout my childhood and I finished the last book when I was 19. I’ve been obsessed with HP for most of my life, so naturally I love the movies.

Favorite place to travel: France while in college and will never forget the majestic beauty of the Mediterranean waters, not to mention the fabulous food, shopping and history! I’ve been back since, but never with Alexandra. One day I hope to be able to share other cultures and experiences with her.

JoAnn: Puerto Vallarta. The people are friendly and fun, the culture is rich and colorful. Great food, beach and sun. Such a beautiful place!

Interesting fact about you:

any cause, with my clients knowing they are helping to give back in a very big way, all through the purchase of a T-shirt.

Nicole: My daughter is one of only 1,000 children in the world living with Pitt Hopkins Syndrome. In an effort to raise funds for critical research and continue to build awareness for Pitt Hopkins Syndrome, I founded RareiTees for a Cure, an online clothing brand with 100 percent of proceeds going to research. I volunteer my design skills to launch personalized apparel for

JoAnn: I’m passionate about sharing what life is like for kids like my son Max. One of my main goals is to ensure that the people around him know exactly who he is and that he is so much more than a diagnosis. CP is a small part of who he is. I use my voice to educate and advocate for my son and others in the special-needs community.

Thank you to all of our March Cheers to the Chairs! Nominees: Latasha Causey & Kate Baker Teach for America (Celebration Dinner) Scott Ellsworth & Braydon Dennis Brokers for Kids and Agents Benefiting Children (Scottsdale Active 20-30 Club, Brokers for Kids) Julie Hancock Boys Hope Girls Hope of Arizona (2019 Success Starts With Hope Breakfast)

To Nominate Your Event Chair, Co-Chairs, Honorary Chair or Board Chair, Contact

You’re Invited! Society of Chairs 2019 Tables and Tickets Now Available Wednesday, May 8, 2019 | 6:00 pm The Arizona Science Center Featuring Culinary creations from Chef Michael DeMaria – M Culinary

Award Sponsorships Now Available Contact for details

Honoring Nancy Hanley

Produced by


Saving lives, one cat at a time

Catie Richman | Contributing Writer

THE STORY Fearless Kitty Rescue was founded in 2012 through the serendipitous friendship and dedication of two avid volunteers, Kim Kamins and Paula Stefan. The lifelong cat lovers stepped up to start their own rescue when the organization where they were volunteering decided to no longer focus on cat adoptions. “We started off with 650 square feet of carpeted space — don’t do that at home. And then it just grew to almost 3,000 square feet in a matter of four and a half years,” said Paula Stefan, co-founder and executive director. The Fountain Hills-based organization has since grown to a 5,200-squarefoot facility fondly called “Kittyville,” complete with eight adoption rooms, a medical area and two kitten intake rooms. The nonprofit’s name and logo were inspired by 38  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | APRIL 2019

Karma, a tiny kitten whose bold spirit embodied the rescue’s fearless mission. “Karma had just finished eating and was looking up, and they looked and said, ‘Oh, she’s just fearless,’” said Christine Orbeck, a devoted volunteer and board member. “Any time you create something, you’re trying to figure out what’s the most powerful statement in your logo. And she was a pretty powerful star,” said Stefan. Fearless Kitty Rescue primarily serves the Fountain Hills community, but they have extended their reach and taken in kitties from Prescott to Yuma and even Houston. “I think our journey is really trying to save as many animals as we can,” Stefan said. “And being kind in doing it and helping our people; helping the humans as much as we help the animals.”

Karma, the kitten that provided inspiration for the Fearless Kitty logo, has found a forever home, but her spirit continues to motivate everyone at Fearless Kitty Rescue.


Fearless Kitty rescues cats in distress without regard to age, breed or ease of placement.

THE CAUSE Since 2012, Fearless Kitty has taken in more than 1,300 cats, and last year alone adopted out 214. This year, they aim to bring in a new record of 250 cats to Kittyville. The nonprofit’s mission is to save homeless cats and provide them with the highest standard of care while they wait for homes in the most effective way possible. “We are in the business of saving lives — it is a business and we run it like a business and that’s in part why we are so successful, because of the heart and the soul of our people and their desire to do what’s right by the cats that we bring in,” said Obreck. As a part of that business, Fearless Kitty has evolved to help educate the public and become a highly valuable resource for humans and cats in the community. “Kim and I didn’t know what rescue was when we first started. We just wanted

to help these animals. And now it’s about how can we help the public be educated,” Stefan said. Currently, Fearless Kitty is preparing for the critical “Kitten Season” — the time from April to October when kitten birth rates increase and shelters quickly hit capacity. While it may sound like an adorable phenomenon, Kitten Season for rescues like Fearless Kitty it is a critical time of scrambling for resources and space. “Kittens are super fragile,” Stefan said. “From the time they come in to the time they are adopted, it is a huge undertaking.” With the extra care and attention young kittens need, Fearless Kitty relies on their foster program for extra support. “The foster program is growing, and it’s going to allow us to save those other animals that we haven’t been able to serve because of our resources,” Stefan said. “I am excited about that, for sure.”

THE FUTURE What started as two dedicated friends has now grown to a staff of seven, including an 40  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | APRIL 2019

adoption coordinator, events coordinator and foster coordinator. “All of the people

are key components of the organization and what’s needed for Fearless Kitty to be here 20 years down the road,” said Stefan. As Fearless Kitty Rescue continues to expand and build on their success, they hope to one day shift focus. “We would like to be out of business as a rescue,” said Stefan. “We would like to have a different purpose — it wouldn’t be about how many calls we’re going to get this month of how many animals need our help. “ But until then, Fearless Kitty Rescue will charge forward, doing what they can to help the homeless cats and hopeful humans in the community — one fearless kitty at a time. To learn more, visit


KITTY CAM! Want to know what it’s like to be a cat at Kittyville? Get a look inside the lives of adoptable residents with the help of the Live Kitty Cam donated by Maddie’s Fund. Peek in on playtime, nap-time and even tune in for scheduled activities and informative talks.



KITCHEN DOORS {farm-fresh foods} Lisa Mullavey | Culinary Writer

AZ FINE SWINE Mesa and Gilbert | Located on an expansive farm in Mesa, a fifth-generation Arizona farm family works hard raising around 250 hairy sheep-like Mangalitsa pigs. What’s so special about the Mangalitsa? Hailed by many as the world’s finest pork, the tender meat is prized by famous chefs and home chefs alike for its rich and buttery taste. Mangalitsa pork is red and marbled like a rib-eye steak. Translated, Mangalitsa literally means “a hog with a lot of lard.” Their fat compares to olive oil and is high in omegas (good fats). So where can you try or purchase some of this wonderful pork? Several local restaurants feature AZ Fine Swine’s pork on their menu such as Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. To purchase Mangalitsa pork, head out to the Gilbert Farmer’s Market (AZ Fine Swine does not have a retail location). They are there every Saturday with more than 25 different items to choose from. I picked up some of their chorizo and bacon and it was truly the best pork I’ve ever tasted. AZ Fine Swine’s hogs are humanely raised with no hormones or antibiotics and the pigs are processed (every part of the pig) and packaged by a local company.

WELCOME DINER Phoenix | Welcome Diner is located in Downtown Phoenix, nestled in the heart of the Garfield neighborhood. The restaurant is a modern take on the classic roadside diner with a cool vibe, friendly staff and top-notch food and drink. Welcome Diner prides itself on being a farm-to-table eatery, partnering with several local purveyors and farms. My family and I recently stopped in for dinner on a Friday night. We started with drinks, all adorably served in different glassware. The kids had their fruit punch, which is freshly made, and my husband and I each ordered a cocktail. Our Prancing Pony and Old Fashioned were both good; overall their drink menu is unique and fun. We asked the waitress for recommendations and she was on the money. I had a dish that made them famous: their chorizo meatloaf. The taste was rich and spicy and like no other meatloaf I’ve eaten before. My husband ordered the delicious Big Jim, a fried chicken biscuit topped with country gravy, cheddar cheese, bacon and an egg. Our boys shared the spicy Mac and Cheese with chorizo. We passed a lot of forks around the table during our visit and left full.

FÀME CAFFE Phoenix | Fàme Caffe is a charming restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch seven days a week. Their classically trained chef uses high-quality, locally sourced ingredients across their menu. Fàme also has a full bar with a cocktail and wine menu and several beers on tap. I met my parents for breakfast early on a Saturday and there was a line out the door. We each ordered something different so we could share and try several of Fàme’s dishes. I had a vanilla latte while my dad had orange juice, which tasted as if the oranges had just been plucked from the tree. My mom ordered a Coke, which came in a glass bottle. The food arrived and we dug in. I had the Croque Madame, a French sandwich with smoked ham, bèchamel sauce, on toasted nine-grain bread, topped with melted Gruyère cheese and an egg (I ordered mine over-hard), served with a side of mixed greens tossed in a light vinaigrette. My mom had a chorizo, potato and egg breakfast wrap and my dad tried their brioche breakfast sandwich with egg, bacon and aged cheddar cheese. Next time, I’ll visit for lunch and try some of their house-made sangria.


Danzeisen Dairy Laveen | Danzeisen Dairy produces the freshest milk and dairy products in the Valley, bringing you as close to the cow as possible. Known for processing and bottling milk the old-fashioned way, in glass (because it just tastes better), their bottles feature the logos of Arizona sports teams and other fun designs. Exclusive to Arizona, their dairy products are used by many local chefs and restaurants and can be purchased at retail locations across the Valley. I visited their bottling facility and retail location in Laveen, where you can buy their products and tour the facility. Their dairy farm is 10 miles away and houses 1,400 dairy cows. I had the privilege of speaking to Lamar, their bottling-plant manager, and he put their definition

of ‘fresh’ into perspective. Milk taken from cows the night before would be processed, bottled and shipped out the day I was there. This happens four days a week to the tune of 8,000-10,000 bottles per week, just for their milk. They also produce butter, cream and seasonal favorites like eggnog, and partner with other local companies to bottle orange juice and lemonade. I often purchase their milk and prefer to use their heavy whipping cream for recipes. Danzeisen Dairy will be celebrating their fifth anniversary this November and will release a commemorative bottle design to mark the occasion. Visit their website to learn where to locate their product or to sign up for dairy tours and butter-making classes.

A 2ND ACT {survivors giving back}

SIT. STAY. HEAL. Nonprofit helps soldiers find new BFFs Judy Pearson | Contributing Writer

When veterinarian John Burnham’s father died in 2007, he had an urge to connect with something bigger. His father had been in the military — a fact of which Dr. Burnham was very proud — and he began to think about how he might honor his father while using his skills with animals. We all know there are no accidents in life, and after Burnham had treated several canine patients whose owners were veterans, a spark ignited. The dogs were helping heal the unseen battle wounds these deployed men and women had experienced. Combining his own observations with the evergrowing body of research supporting pet therapy, Burnham devised a perfect marriage: Give more vets the opportunity to experience the unconditional love of a dog while reducing the number of Valley area shelter dogs. And Soldier’s Best Friend was born. “The military personnel returning with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and TBI (traumatic brain injuries) find themselves going from Afghanistan to driving their minivans in the blink of an eye,” said Brenda Meir, the executive director of Soldier’s Best Friend. “There’s often not much time for that transition, not much time to decompress.” And when the symptoms of their conditions appear, those who had risked their lives for the freedom of others find themselves haunted by fear and 44  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | APRIL 2019

nightmares. “We’ve had more than one veteran tell us they were considering suicide. They wouldn’t be here today, they say, if it weren’t for our program and their dog,” Meir said. The organization finds dogs at Valley shelters and rescue partners. A careful process ensues before the new BFFs are ever introduced to their veterans. Each dog is given a physical exam, all health needs are taken care of, and those over 40 pounds are X-rayed for hip dysplasia. Then they’re fostered for two to four weeks to be assessed outside the shelter environment. They also start some basic obedience with the organization’s trainers, and are then placed in their new loving forever home. “This program is for PTSD and TBI only, but the severity of issues varies greatly,” Meir said. “The dogs learn three tasks to use each time they sense their veteran is having symptoms. The teams — what we call the dog/veteran combination — work with a trainer in public outings, for a total of nine times during their training. The team is tested on each skill.” The average training takes six to nine months, but some may finish sooner and others may take a little longer, particularly those with TBI. And there is no “training schedule” per se. Teams go into training all the time. Each is required to do a private lesson and a group class every week.

By pairing veterans with combat-related PTSD or TBI with service dogs, Soldier’s Best Friend touches two lives at once.


The groups are comprised of four or five teams, plus the trainer. The added distractions of additional people and dogs simulate what the teams will encounter in everyday life. “Soldier’s Best Friend only trains teams in Arizona,” Meir said. “But if a veteran is able to relocate for the duration of the program, we’ll welcome them.” And the stories she’s witnessed are truly amazing. “Vets tell me all the time that they’re able to do so many things they couldn’t before the program. One talked about being able to take his teenage daughter to the mall — crowds had been difficult for him. In February, another told me he had already been to the grocery store five times this year. Last year, before he’d met his new best friend, he’d only been able to go once,” Meir said. Soldier’s Best Friend has training locations in Flagstaff, Prescott, Tucson, Sierra Vista and Phoenix. The program is completely free to veterans, and the organization is limited only by its capacity, which is something it wants to strengthen. “So, like any nonprofit, we want to raise public awareness and funds,” Meir said. Since 2011, 257 teams have graduated from Soldier’s Best Friend. That’s 514 lives — canine and human — that have been given second acts. Ric, who graduated in 2014 with his canine friend Wilfred, is a shining example. “From the restless nights to the difficult situations, I have something that has been an elusive possibility … I have hope again,” he said. To learn more, visit


all year long. JOIN T O DAY D B G .O R G



BEHIND THE DOOR {the caniglia group}


Steve Caniglia

Shelley Caniglia

4024 E. Hazelwood St, Phoenix, AZ 85018

32 W. Rose Lane, Phoenix, AZ 85013

Classic ranch style home located on the one and only palm tree lined Hazelwood Street of Arcadia! Masterfully rebuilt in 2007 by Bent Nails Construction. True split master floor plan with 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and 2300 sq ft. Brazilian cherry wood floors, crown molding, wainscoting and granite countertops. The gorgeous kitchen sports a breakfast bar, gas cooktop, stainless steel appliances and opens to the family room with multiple sets of French doors leading out to spacious backyard. The master suite includes a gas fireplace, access to backyard, separate tub and walk-in shower, double sinks and his and hers closets. Private backyard with tons of grass for play. Just across 40th street from LGO, Postino’s and Ingo’s and around the corner from Kachina Park! Highly sought after Hopi, Ingleside, Arcadia School District!

Exceptional Mid Century Red Brick Ranch style home on a wonderful street in the Heart of the North Central Corridor! 4 bedrooms + den, 4 full bathrooms, 3467 sq. ft. on 15,651 sq. ft. lot. Spacious grassy front yard with mature trees. Wood plank flooring and custom shutters. Updated kitchen with stainless steel appliances, 5 burner gas stovetop, warming drawer and walk-in pantry. Family room has original vaulted ceiling, Coconino sandstone fireplace and sliding doors with access to back covered patio. Very versatile floor plan. Backyard designed by Creative Environments 2018 includes covered patio, separate Ramada with built-in BBQ, firepit, swimming pool and designated dog run. Freshly painted exterior trim and interior garage. Madison Schools! Close to all that North Central Phoenix has to offer. This house is a must see!

The Caniglia Group

Shelley Caniglia: 602-292-6862 | Steve Caniglia: 602-301-2402 |

OPEN DOORS {publisher’s page}

HELPING PEOPLE, SAVING PETS Pets and people in crisis have options, thanks to Lost Our Home Andrea Evans | Publisher

One of my intentions this season has been to attend events posted on the Frontdoors Calendar that are being hosted by organizations that are new to me. This past December, Lost Our Home Pet Rescue posted their annual “Sit. Stay. Brunch.” event to our website and I was excited to go and learn more about their efforts. What I discovered was an incredible story of kindness and determination. During the economic downturn of 2008, Jodi Polanski was a mortgage banker who found out about a disturbing trend in her community. She kept getting calls from her network of realtors asking if she knew what to do when they discovered a pet had been left behind by the owners of a foreclosed home. These animals were being left for days and weeks before being discovered by someone coming to check on the home or by the local police after a neighbor called to report the abandoned pet. So Polanski and her colleagues went to work to help these forgotten animals. They organized a network of friends, business associates and family members to become foster families for each animal that was left behind.


One of the first dogs that was found in desperate need of help was Sweetheart. The team learned she had been left in an abandoned home for about a month. She was weak, dehydrated, covered in ticks and anemic. When a Tempe police officer came to help, she tried to lick him as a sign of affection but her tongue was too dry. They took her straight to a vet where she was nursed for a month and deemed healthy enough to go to a foster home. But the damage was too much to overcome and she passed away shortly after being taken back to the vet’s office. This incident fueled Polanski and her friends to officially launch Lost Our Home Pet Rescue — an organization that helps both pets and people in crisis in an effort to keep them together when the owners are facing financial hardship. While the start to Lost Our Home was defined by the desperation and effects of the secondhighest foreclosure rates in the country, the group soon discovered that the need went beyond the rescue efforts. Over the past 10 years, Polanski has led her team to create five unique programs:

Eviction, foreclosure, fires, floods … all can force people and pets into unknown territory. Lost Our Home helps in trying times by caring for pets, easing some of the pressure on pet owners.

1 Temporary Care: Provides 90 days of pet care for people experiencing a life hardship, in hopes of reuniting the pet and owner. 2 Pet Food Bank: Provides pet food and essentials to financially struggling individuals and families so they can keep their pet. 3 Pet Rescue for Abandoned or OwnerSurrendered Pets: Includes medical care, shelter and food while looking for a forever home. 4 Low-Income Boarding: A program for struggling pet parents in need of boarding services. 5 Partnership with Sojourner Center: The organization manages a Pet Companion Shelter on the Sojourner campus so women escaping domestic violence can keep their pets while they heal. The organization has grown steadily year after year and is now completing a capital campaign to completely renovate their building in Tempe. When completed, Lost Our Home will be able to double their capacity for both dogs and cats in need of their shelter services. They have $400,000 left to

hit their goal of $2.4 million and will need more foster homes in the East Valley to continue their services while the building is under construction. A generous Arizona resident has established a $100,000 challenge grant to close the funding gap for the building campaign. When completed, they will be able to continue their role as the drop-off location for the Tempe Police Department and also add this service for the Mesa Police as well. My take on this story? Polanski is a problemsolver and Tempe’s own guardian pet angel for not only the pets that are sometimes left behind, but the loving pet owners facing hard times. For more information, visit

Andrea Andrea Evans PUBLISHER



CONNECTING WOMEN WHERE THEY WORK, LIVE OR PLAY Join us where you live, work or play to connect with like-minded women to share information, ideas, contacts and opportunities. Learn more at: | |