The Human-Animal Connection Board
Genie Joseph, PhD - President & Executive Director
Genie Joseph, PhD is a certified Trust Technique Practitioner and dog trainer. She was previously on the board of the Human-Animal Bond Program at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii.
She is the creator of The Act Resilient Method and for this work, she was given President Obama's Silver Volunteer Service Award. And the Resilience Team won the American Psychological Association's National Workplace Resilience Award. She and her dog Sophia are registered and certified as a Therapy Dog Team with The Alliance for Therapy Dogs and have done hundreds of visits with over 4,000 Service Members, Veterans, youth, elderly, and incarcerated people.
Genie has over 2,000 hours of volunteer work in animal shelters, rescue centers, and sanctuaries. She does private consultations, conducts workshops and classes, and speaks to groups on communication, healing, and the human-animal connection. She is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and published author. She registered and insured through The International Institute of Complementary Therapies. She is Human-Animal Bond Certified through NAVC.
Thomas Crowley - Treasurer
Thomas Crowley, Treasurer of the Human-Animal Connection, recently retired to Tucson, Arizona after 30 years in Dallas, Tx. Tom is married and has two dogs who are registered with the Alliance of Therapy Dogs. Prior to retirement, Tom worked for the JCPenney Corporation as Director of Merchandise operations. He worked closely with Buying teams, Store Operations, and Corporate Financial Planning on a variety of processes and projects. In his last two years at JCPenney, he built a new team in Bangalore, India, and had the pleasure of traveling there to work with the staff to set up the office.
Tom has a long history of volunteer experience. He has been a dog handler with the Alliance of Therapy Dogs for 11 years. He also served as the Membership Coordinator for the local chapter, Heart of Texas Therapy Dogs. His visits included nursing homes, Alzheimer’s facilities, and programs for kids with Special Needs. Here in Tucson, Tom has been working to establish a new local chapter to support the ATD Therapy Dog teams. In addition to being a dog handler, he is also an evaluator of prospective new therapy dog teams. Prior to working with therapy dogs, he volunteered with the Society of Saint Vincent DePaul in Dallas for several years, working with the local conference to support the needy. Tom also coordinated the Speakers Bureau with the Pittsburgh Aids Taskforce when he lived in that city.
Nathan Michael Bush - Vice_President
After ten years of distinguished military service and a promising career, U.S. Air Force veteran Nathan Bush faced a sudden medical separation from service. Battling multiple health conditions and chronic pain, heavily medicated and with all treatment possibilities exhausted, told by doctors not to expect recovery...he was feeling hopeless.
In this dark time, Nathan found some solace in nature. Though his mobility was limited, and pain a constant companion, he had to keep moving. With the support and encouragement of friends and family, Nathan planted a garden. It was a new beginning. And an unanticipated and profoundly healing process had begun. As Nathan learned to nurture and nourish the plants and animals of his growing farm, and the farm, in turn, nourished and nurtured him, doctors were surprised by Nathan's increasing health and strength.
Within three years, Nathan had experienced miraculous recovery and remissions. With his returning health and ability, and a sense of profound gratitude, Nathan wanted to share his healing experiences and continuing recovery with other veterans struggling with PTS, chronic pain, and reintegration into civilian life.
Working at a nearby non-profit equine therapy center as Farm Manager and Programming Coordinator, he partnered to develop a successful and life-changing model of therapeutic horticulture. In collaboration and official partnership with Cornell University and the Department of Veteran Affairs, the program was funded and advanced, and the model adopted by the VA's Whole Health System, making this programming currently available to all qualifying veterans in the Fingerlakes region of Upstate New York, with plans to replicate the program across the nation.
This healing journey taught Nathan that connection is a primary human need. He recognized that the “medicine of connection” to self, with others, and with nature had done for him and others what no other medicine had. Nathan continues to work in veteran outreach and has discovered the profound and unique qualities of the human-animal connection. He regularly works with wild mustangs who have been gathered from federal lands, separated from their herds and family units, living in the sub-optimal conditions of BLM holding pens. Nathan teaches these wild horses the skills they need to be adopted into new families and become part of a new herd. In this symbiotic relationship there is benefit to both. For Nathan, relating to animals in gentle cooperation builds trust. It makes available the deep wisdom and healing power intrinsic to animals.
Now, for Nathan, sharing these practices and facilitating the human-animal connection has become his new mission. A mission for life.
Patricia Billard, PhD -- Dir. of Educational Healing
Trisha Billard, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice specializing in holistic approaches to growth and healing through mindfulness-based somatic psychotherapies that support mind/body/spirit integration and balance. Trisha is an EAGALA certified mental health practitioner, and embodied mindfulness meditation teacher.
A passionate advocate of both human and non-human animal rights, Trisha is invested in humane education that fosters trust and healing through collaborative human-animal bonds and supports positive, ecological, and ethical social change.
Trisha’s three rescue dog’s Leo, Harry, and Oliver are her best teachers.
Caleb Files - Secretary
Caleb Drake Files is a student at the University of Arizona, majoring in business and theater. Growing up in a military family, Caleb and his family would often take in abandoned pets left behind when families got deployed. He has an affinity for animals with a troubled past and believes they are often misunderstood. Caleb recently adopted Bo, one such dog with a “bad” record, from the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, an uplifting story in an era of constant bad news. You can read about that in this in our Blog Post - Bo's Second Chance at Love.
Caleb believes his work with the Human-Animal Connection will help animals recover from adverse histories and circumstances so that they may be rehabilitated and become able to find healthy homes, providing healing for both the animal and the human.
Here's a two-minute video about The Human-Animal Connection
IThe Human-Animal Connection is a proud member of the Association of Professional Humane Educators