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Don & Stephanie Vaughan

Therapy Dog Trainers

Don and Stephanie are a husband-wife team with 30 years of combined experience as therapy dog handlers. Their hearts are with the giant breeds – rare mastiffs, in particular. They also focus on rescuing giants in need. Over the years, they have owned a Tosa Ken, also known as a Japanese mastiff; a rescued Saint Bernard; a rescued Great Dane mix; a rescued Neapolitan mastiff, sometimes referred to as an Italian mastiff; a rescued Dogue de Bordeaux, also known as a French mastiff (think Turner & Hooch), and recently, they added a rescued Irish Wolfhound.

Don and Stephanie began volunteering in animal-assisted activities with their Japanese mastiff, Majo, in 2002 through Therapy Dogs Inc., now known as Alliance of Therapy Dogs (ATD). Majo’s nine-year career focused on the elderly, with most of her visits in nursing homes. But in 2010, Majo started working at an adult detention center, the beginning of what would turn into a fulfilling new path for Don and Stephanie in the correctional system. Their second registered therapy dog, a rescued Saint Bernard named Gaag, worked for nearly five years with ATD, regularly visiting an adult detention center, a juvenile detention center and hospice patients. Napolean, their Bordeaux, visited for about a year at a number of correctional facilities in the area, including a juvenile detention facility, two area adult detention centers and a federal medical facility.

In August 2011, Don became a tester/observer with ATD, and in June 2016, he was elected to its Board of Directors. Recon, an Irish Wolfhound, is the newest addition to their crew. He is currently being trained to ideally become their next registered therapy dog sometime in 2018.

Current Courses

  • 2 Day Therapy Dogs 101 Seminar View

Pet parent of

Dizzy Bell

Great Dane Mix


Irish Wolfhound

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