Patricia Wheeler completed her Bachelors in Psychology and Masters in Counseling at the University of Rochester (NY). She has lived in Livermore, California, since 1969. She worked for almost 25 years at Educational Testing Service (ETS), evaluating programs and doing research. While working at the ETS office in Berkeley, she completed her MBA in Management at Armstrong College and her PhD in Education/Policy Analysis at UC Berkeley.
Pat has had four dogs that have worked as therapy dogs. She has been a therapy dog handler since November 2002. She has over 3,000 hours as a therapy dog handler. Her Black Lab, Lawrence, the Livermore Lab, had about 1,800 hours of service before passing away of cancer on December 21, 2013. In 2012, he was one of six therapy dogs nationwide recognized by the AKC Humane Fund Award for Canine Excellence. Albert was rescued off the street in Livermore and was a therapy dog from May 2005 until he passed away on January 4, 2014. He had about 1,400 hours of service. We think he was a Black Lab/Border Collie mix. In July 2013, Pat obtained Maddie, a Black Lab, from a local breeder. She adopted Wylie in October 2014 from Tony LaRussa’s Animal Rescue Foundation. Pat and her dogs are registered with the Alliance of Therapy Dogs (ATD), formerly Therapy Dogs, Inc., which is headquartered in Cheyenne, WY. Pat is also a Tester/Observer for ATD.
Her dogs have worked at numerous places over the years including Alzheimer’s facilities, nursing homes, assisted living homes, welcome home celebrations for troops, schools and colleges, a shelter for homeless and battered women and children, a program for adults with mental health/developmental challenges, a camp for children with life-threatening and chronic illnesses, etc. They have served infants through centenarians. Pat was astounded by the impact her dogs have had and the life-changing differences they were making for people. She started collecting stories and testimonials in 2005, and this led to a book about the work of her dogs and over 50 other therapy dogs, Successful Tails: The Wonders of Therapy Dogs.
Although dogs are a major part of Pat’s life, she is also an active amateur musician. She plays in three local concert bands—Danville Community Band, Ohlone Community Band, and San Ramon Symphonic Band. She played with the Pleasanton Community Concert Band for 27 years and was a member of its Board for 21 years, serving as President, Secretary, and Personnel Manager. With the Altamont Winds, she plays for special events such as memorial services and holiday celebrations. She is member of the Association of Concert Bands and its Regional Membership Coordinator for Northern California and Oregon. She also plays with the Windjammers Unlimited, a group devoted to preserving classical circus music. Each year, she plays with the Nevada County (CA) Invitational Concert Band and the Williamsburg (VA) Consort. From 2007 to 2015, she was the Band Coordinator for the annual, two-day Golden Gate Park Band Festival in San Francisco.
Through two local Phi Delta Kappa (PDK) chapters (CSU-East Bay Diablo and Berkeley chapters), Pat continues to network with educators and participate in educational service projects. She is also a member of the Josefa Higuera Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She has been a volunteer with the Department of Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System Livermore Division since 1987.
Pat has two sons and four grandchildren. When time permits, she enjoys traveling. She has been to about 40 countries and all but one continent (Australia).