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Have You Met Dawn Lenhardt?

A spontaneous and fun-loving young Arizonan, Dawn Lenhardt understands the value of interaction with a trained therapy dog for those not gifted socially. This board member of Gabriel’s Angels notes that “The best aspects of Gabriel’s Angels are the kids we are able to reach. I see the children, and the way they bond to the therapy dog is amazing. They often can’t relate to each other or other people, but they immediately connect with the dog. Once a little girl said she was afraid of dogs, but after watching the other children kiss and show love to the dog, she was able to take a brush to groom and pet him. So there was social progress being shown!”

Dawn became associated with Gabriel’s Angels when she attended a recognition ceremony where Pam Gaber was accepting an award for her dog, Gabe, who had recently died, but was being honored for his work.” I heard her speech and immediately knew this was a group I wanted to become more involved with! I had already been through therapy training with Zoe, my Wheaton Terrier, and our team was starting to work with children. So Gabriel’s Angels was a perfect fit for me!”

Lenhardt grew up in Prescott from the age of 13. “But before then my father was in the military and we lived in many places. Twice we lived somewhere as long as three years, but the shortest time was only six months. I was born in Texas, lived in San Francisco, Little Rock, Louisiana, and our most interesting stay which was in Panama.” Considering Arizona her home base, she enthuses, “I think the best thing about AZ is the heat!  And there are so many things to do here, plus the people here are friendly; it’s just a great place to raise our 16 month old son.”

The Lenhardt’s also own a second home on the Big Island of Hawaii, in Kona. “We love the climate there because we can spend all of our time outdoors. But we truly love all areas of the US and enjoy travelling--my husband was from Chicago, I have a sister in Dallas, and a brother in North Carolina, and we absolutely love New York. Actually, if I’m home or in one place too long I become bored!”

Dawn’s original therapy dog, Zoe, died last January. “But I’m happy to say that we are going to get another dog from our breeder this January! We are planning on this puppy also becoming a therapy dog. Of course, we have to have it a full year before we can begin training to become a therapy team. But I’m greatly looking forward to that!”

As an energetic and loving wife and mother, Dawn firmly believes, “When you volunteer, you not only benefit others, but you yourself get so much in return, helping you to become a better person.”

What are your local volunteer activities? Board Member of Gabriel’s Angels

Who inspired you to give back to your community? My parents. They are always helping others out.

Which fundraising event is your favorite? Gabriel’s Angels Fundraising Breakfast

Favorite restaurant? Teepee Mexican Restaurant

Whom do you most admire, and why? My parents. They inspired me to be a hard worker and give back to my community.

If your life were a movie, who would you want to play your part? Julia Roberts

Do you have any pets? We had a gorgeous Wheaton Terrier, who we absolutely adored. She died in January. She was only 6 ½ years old.

Favorite TV show? Grey’s Anatomy

When you move, what will your home tell its next owner about you? We love life, love to throw parties, and are always traveling.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learned through the years? People may forget what you said or did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.

What was your first job? McDonald’s. I worked the drive thru every Saturday morning in high school.

What is your greatest indulgence? I love clothes.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement? My son Cole.

What is your most treasured possession?  My son Cole and my husband David.

What is the quality you most like in people? Kindness

Favorite books/Writers? Sophie Kinsella, Confessions of a Shopaholic

What is the trait you most deplore in others? Lying

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Family time, traveling, shopping, going to fun restaurants.

What would we be most surprised to know about you? I am very spontaneous – I am not a planner.

What is the best advice you have ever received? Never judge a book by its cover.

What are some challenges facing nonprofits? The economy; finding new donors