About Us | Service Paws Of Central PA


SPCP is a non-profit, non-residential, community-based organization, founded in 2011 by Ms. Leslie Kelly, who herself is deaf and relies on the expertise of her service dog, Nokie. All members of the SPCP Advisory Board are volunteers. SPCP was established with the goal of helping individuals financially obtain a service dog and/or helping defray extraordinary veterinary costs for those currently using a service dog.


Service dogs are used for many reasons and are life changing for those that are able to benefit from these extraordinary animals, their services include but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors.

What Can We Do?

Our goals are to help with the purchase of Service dogs and extraordinary veterinary bills associated with caring and maintaining these wonderful animals. We are able to do this through fundraising events, monetary donations from the public and redemption of aluminum can tabs. 

Meet Our Team...

Leslie A. Kelly                                                         


Altoona is my hometown, I was born and raised here.  I love this community. I attended Altoona Area High School, am married, and have three beautiful children with 9 grandchildren.  Along with Nokie, my hearing dog, I have three other furry “kids” at home. I became hard of hearing from a head injury, then at age 34, became totally deaf. My hearing loss did not keep me from working, but it did create a hardship for me.  That is when I started my new life with a hearing dog, Sara, until she crossed over the rainbow.

When Sara was with me, we did many presentations in the community to help educate others on different kinds of service dogs and how they can help a person with a disability. It was for me important to reach out to the public to help educate others.

When I needed my second hearing dog, Nokie, I had to raise $5000.  I asked the community to help me raise the money, and received so much help.  Even after I received Nokie, the money continued to come in, so I decided to give back to the community to help others as I was helped.


So, I founded SPCP.  I have such wonderful people on the board who help make it possible to assist those in need. This is truly something I love doing!

Joe Fagnani


I’m from the New York City area and spent most of my life working as a Systems Analyst for several major corporations.  When the last company for whom I worked was taken over by Star Wood Hotels, I was given an early retirement.  This gave me the opportunity to move to Blair County.


 I’ve been advocating for blindness related issues for fifty years.  In 1968, I was part of a group that established a dog guide user’s organization and drafted the first New York State dog guide legislation.  Through my volunteer work with other groups and organizations, I met Leslie Kelly and became a charter member of  Service Paws.

Celia Fagnani


I grew up in central PA and became involved with people with special needs from an early age.  I began working for OVR, Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services in 1990 and loved teaching blindness skills to people of all ages.  I retired from my job in 2014, and soon became involved in several non-profit organizations.  I knew Leslie Kelly from meetings, etc., when I was employed, and when I retired, I joined the Board of Service Paws.  

Gail Good


I’m originally from Central New York where I grew up on a dairy farm.  After living in Altoona for 25 years, I now call Central Pennsylvania home. I currently work at Penn State Altoona where I oversee the agriculture program serving as a faculty member and academic advisor.  I’m also the proud mom of three children.

Elizabeth Hogue

I was born in Beaver County, Pennsylvania and raised in Rochester, PA. I went to Mount Aloysius College in Cresson where I earned  my Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood/Elementary Education and English. After college I moved to Gallitzin and began working in Human Services for a non-profit organization in Altoona, at the current time I work at Southern Alleghenies Service Management Group. I have worked for many years to support and advocate for people with disabilities.  I live in Gallitzin PA with my family, including my daughter who has a severe Peanut and Tree Nut allergy. I also have allergies but Addy’s are far more severe. I was looking to gather as many resources as I could to help ensure Addylyn’s life was fulfilled and most importantly safe and came across Allergen Detection Service Dogs. Our journey to obtaining a dog lead us to Service Paws of Central PA who has made this possibility, a reality.


My family is eternally grateful to Service Paws for what they have done for our family and want to give back however possible. I didn’t hesitate to say ‘yes’ when I was asked to be a member of the board.

Julie Fischer


I am originally from Pittsburgh, but I spent 6 years living and traveling abroad before ending up in Hollidaysburg. My experiences working with English language learners and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities led me to pursue a career in speech-language pathology, so I am currently working toward a master's degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Penn State. I'm excited to be part of the SPCP team.  

Sue Brenneman



Besides being a wife, a mother of two daughters and a grandmother. I have also volunteered with other organizations in the Altoona area. 

Over 20 years ago I was diagnosed with Dermatomyositis, a rare auto immune disorder. Some days it took all I had to get thru the day. Having a chronic illness can take its toll not only physically, but also emotionally. I never had a service dog, but the benefits I have received from my present dog, Lexi and others is sometimes better than medicine.  I wanted to take these benefits and help make it happen on a higher level for those in need. I am honored to be a part of the SPCP mission.

Barb Heiss



Born and raised and living in Altoona Pa, I graduated from AAHS in 1975 and went to Penn State for two years before deciding to leave and taking a job of resident counselor for Family and Children’s Services. Eventually I took accounting courses at the Altoona School of Commerce. Not able to find an accounting position, I moved to Phoenix, AZ and was there working for a local distributing company for a year before deciding I missed the green grass, mountains, and even rain of Central PA. I am retiring in 2019 after working in the accounting department of New Pig Corporation for over 33 years. I’ve been a pet owner all my life. I already support an organization that provides service dogs for people with mobility issues. So ii just seems right to be a part of an organization that raises funds so that people who need service dogs, can get them.

Christy Collins




I'm originally from nearby Bedford, Pennsylvania where I grew up in a family of makers & doers.  We grew our own garden, canned our own food, worked together on the house, sewed, knitted, did woodworking & enjoyed family camping trips and Church activities.  Now, the wife of a retired "Coastie" (Coast Guard), I am working on designing and selling my own quilting patterns & staying engaged in the community.  I am also the proud mom of 2 adorable fur babies.  Mia is our 10 year old Sheltie & Deucy (short for Medusa) is our 6 month old Teacup Chihuahua.  They fill my heart & arms with love & snuggles!