Dr. Karen Ni, OTD, OTR/L, CPDT-KA is a registered and licensed occupational therapist with specialty training in animal assisted therapy, and a certified professional dog trainer in Orange County, California. She received her Bachelor, Master, and Doctorate degrees in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California. Karen completed over 3000 hours of supervised hands-on experience providing OT and AAT through fieldwork, doctorate residency, and work experience at Dogwood Therapy Services, Inc. in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she integrated animal assisted therapy as a motivating therapeutic modality in occupational therapy treatment for children and adults with disabilities. Karen has acquired continuing education in dog behavior, training, handling, and welfare. She has presented on animal assisted interventions at conferences throughout the world. Karen is a member of Animal Assisted Intervention International (AAII), the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), the Occupational Therapy Association of California (OTAC), the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), and the Dog Trainers Alliance of Southern California (DTASC). Karen is also a Field Representative Trainer for Paws With a Cause, where she facilitates the placement of assistance dogs for people with physical disabilities, hearing loss, epilepsy/seizures, and autism. In addition, Karen is a team evaluator and member of the Southern California leadership committee for Pet Partners, a volunteer visiting therapy animal organization.
Dottie is a 3-year-old canine co-therapist that has been specially trained to work with Dr. Karen Ni during the provision of occupational therapy services. She encourages participation in goal-oriented activities and inspires individuals with her focus, energy, and drive. Dottie is an Australian Cattle dog mix who was rescued at 14 weeks old in Albuquerque, NM and has been training ever since in assistance dog tasks and animal assisted therapy work. She has presented on AAT at AOTA and OTAC conferences. Dottie is also a Demonstration Dog for Paws With a Cause. She has her AKC Canine Good Citizen Certificate and Novice Agility title. When Dottie is not working, she enjoys playing fetch, hiking, and doing agility. Dottie is an active dog who loves learning new things!
Tater Tot is a 2-year-old canine co-therapist. He is a Labrador Retriever, born in York, Nebraska and raised at Dogwood Therapy Services in Albuquerque, NM. He has been training since 8 weeks old in assistance dog tasks and animal assisted therapy work. Tater promotes participation in therapy using his exuberance, goofiness, and enthusiasm for life (and food!). When Tater is not working, he enjoys playing at the dog beach, going on sniff walks, and snuggling. He is a happy dog who loves to share his joy with others!
Together, we are dedicated to supporting individuals on their paths to greater independence, health, and wellbeing.