Our Leadership


SONJA WINGARD / Director & Founder

In 1999, Sonja Wingard, Abby Soley, and Gwen Hunter started ANT with encouragement from Catholic Community Services. Sonja, BSN, is ANT’s Executive Director, and brings more than 30 years of experience in working with people and animals as a registered nurse, 4-H leader, equine specialist, and riding instructor. Read More

JACK AGUIRRE / Therapist

Joaquin (Jack) Aguirre M.A., LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who enjoys blending Equine Therapy at Animals as Natural Therapy. He has provided counseling to at-risk children/adults and their families for 22 years in hospitals, foster care and private practice settings. He also holds certificates in Biofeedback and Stress Management and as Trauma Response Specialist.

JULIA CLIFFORD / Assistant Executive Director / Development Coordinator

I am thrilled to be ANT’s new Assistant Executive Director. I want to help ANT continue to touch lives because we can change the world. It takes time; it takes a team and the community; and it starts with one person -- that person is you! Thank you for being a part of ANT as a volunteer, donor, visitor or participant. I so look forward to meeting you and hearing your story.

JESSIE PEMBLE / Office Manager

Jessie, who holds a Bachelor's degree in Therapeutic Recreation from WWU, is our office manager. She also works with our teens in recovery as a mentor, and is passionate about our therapy animals and their capacity to heal. Jessie is excited to help serve our Spanish-speaking families!

Kelsy Hartmann / Feeder & Barn Manager

Kelsy started working as one of ANT’s feeders in the summer of 2016. She is almost finished with her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology with a Pre-Vet emphasis at WWU. Her experience with farm animals before coming to ANT was limited, but Kelsy has learned so much from the all the amazing people and animals here. Her dream is to be a veterinarian with her own small farm someday!

Emily Gordon / Feeder

Emily has been part of the ANT team since March, 2015. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor's Degree in Biology at Western Washington University, with plans to become a veterinarian. Emily came to ANT with 10 years of equine experience, and was drawn to the inspiring and impactful way ANT uses the natural teaching of the horse to touch the hearts of the community. You may find her feeding the animals and mucking stalls the pens, mentoring youth during Day Camp, or volunteering at ANT events.

Celeste Hufford / Feeder


BETTY BARATS / Volunteer Coordinator

Betty is our volunteer Volunteer Coordinator.  She is a retired Special Education teacher and administrator.

SUE SWANK / Bookkeeper

Certified Riding Instructors:

Sonja Wingard (PATH, CHA, and EAGALA)
Haley Didier (PATH)

Roz Anderson (PATH)
Shannon McCune Dickerson (PATH and CHA)
Amanda Martin (PATH)

Horse Trainer:

Trisha Pendelton


Celeste Hufford
Emily Gordon


Sue Swank

Office Manager:

Jessie Pemble

Our Animals:

Horses, llama, dogs, goats, rabbits, chickens, ducks and a cat!

Our Volunteers:

More than 60 fabulous volunteers mentor program participants and care for the animals each week!  Check out our Volunteers Page to learn more.

Our Donors:

Business, Individual and Foundation Supporters help all year long through their donations.

Our Supporters