Therese Backowski


Billie Groom

Vice President

Emelise Baughman


Marsha Pugh

Marsha Pugh has been a member of DWAA since 2004 and has been treasurer since 2009. She is a second generation dog person and has been showing and breeding dogs since her earliest memories. Marsha writes a bi-monthly pet care column for The Italian Greyhound Magazine. She conducts handling classes and judges 4-H competitions.  Until her retirement in March 2010, she was the administrator of a multi-million dollar pension fund.

Carol Bryant

Immediate Past President

Carol Bryant is a familiar face in the Internet’s digital dog park, as a pet influencer, pet product and travel expert, writer/blogger, speaker, social media pro, and dog mom. She proudly wears her trademarked, “My Heart Beats Dog,” on her left bicep. King introduced her as a “dog lover of the highest order,” when she appeared with her Cocker Spaniel, Dexter, on Oprah Radio’s Gayle King show.

In addition to her own blog and social media presence, Carol was the PR, Marketing, Social Media Manager and blogger for BlogPaws Pet Blogging and Social Media company. Bryant founded FidoseofReality.com, a highly trafficked health and wellness dog blog for Cocker Spaniels and their canine friends.

Carol and her wife, Darlene, formed Wigglebutt Warriors, raising over $75,000 for homeless dogs to date. She is a featured guest on many television segments, radio shows, podcasts, speaking engagements, and a contributor to pet publications, including Dogster, Paw Culture, Dog Fancy, Fido Friendly, Pet360, AKC Family Dog, Today.com, and Hamptons Pet. She helps pet industry clients with event planning, public relations, traditional and social media footprints. Previous clients include Morton Salt, Doodie Pack, and Benji the Dog.

Carol received the DWAA 2018 Distinguished Service Award sponsored by the American Kennel Club. She has won several Maxwell Medallions and DWAA special awards and is the winner of the 2015 Women in the Pet Industry Woman of the Year in the Advocacy Category, Carol served as DWAA’s President from 2019 to 2021.

Ida Estep, Esq.

Legal Counsel
Ida Estep, Esq. is an attorney with a postdoctoral degree in tax law, also holds a master’s degree in social work. She has been active in dogs for most of her life and is involved in dog rescue, both as a foster and as legal advisor to rescue groups.

Board of Directors

Lisa Begin-Kruysman

Class of 2024

Merrie Meyers, Ph.D., APR, Fellow, PRSA

Class of 2024

Patricia Cruz

Class of 2024
Patricia Cruz began “stringing” for the NY Times in 1967 and wrote a weekly column for the original Long Island Press, New York Post and Newsday. I joined DWAA in 1971 and Approved to judge by AKC in 1972. I became an AKC Field Rep in 1978, and was elected to the AKC’s Board of Directors in 2012. I picked up a column in 1989. I judge all breeds outside the US including India, Cuba, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and most of South America and Central America.

Laurie C. Williams, CPDT-KA, CDTI

Class of 2026
Laurie WIlliams DWAA
Laurie C Williams CPDT-KA has had a love of and connection with dogs from as far back as she can remember. She is the owner and Director of Training and Behavior Counseling at Pup ‘N Iron Canine Fitness & Learning Center in Fredericksburg, VA. where she has been serving her community as a canine education specialist and dog behavior counselor for the past 15 years. She holds a B.A. from Norwich University in Montpelier, VT and was a member of the adjunct faculty of the Natural Sciences Department of Northern Virginia Community College for 7 years. Laurie is a nationally published writer with works appearing in the APDT Chronicle of the Dog, The Whole Dog Journal, Dog & Handler, 911, Essence, Fitness, and Good Housekeeping magazines. She is currently a member of the Board of Governors of the Dog Writer’s Association of America and is a therapy dog evaluator for Pet Partners, a Canine Good Citizen evaluator, and a licensed judge for the American Kennel Club.

Karen A. Harbert

Class of 2023
Karen Harbert has been a breeder and exhibitor of Cardigan Welsh Corgis for over 40 years with approximately 100 championships in dogs she has owned and/or bred, many of them obedience titled as well. She has served multiple terms on the Board of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America, and been president of two regional Cardigan clubs. She has judged a national sweepstakes in Canada and a CWCCA supported sweepstakes at home. She has served as editor of national and regional magazines, written breed columns for the AKC Gazette and is author of the ‘Murder at the Dog Show’ mystery series. Her professional background is in management in mental health and Child Abuse Investigation.

Joel Gavriele-Gold, Ph.D.

Class of 2025
Joel Gavriele-Gold is President of the Metropolitan Dog Club, NYC. He is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City. Joel has published articles on the use of his dogs with his patients in the AKC Gazette, The Psychoanalytic Review and in other publications. He also writes about psychological mechanisms operating in humans in their relationships with pets. Joel has appeared on radio and television programs including: Good Morning America, Men Are From Mars, MSNBC and local TV news guest spots. He is a member of the Stewards Club of America and the American Canine Education Foundation. Joel is an instructor and supervisor to psychoanalytic students and has Skype sessions in Louisville. KY and Beijing, China. His Bouvier des Flandres, Dova accompanies him in his Manhattan therapy practice.