Sarah, our CEO
Sarah Macdonald studied a Ba, Arts: History / Politics at University of Notre Dame and a Master of Teaching (Secondary) at ACU. She enjoys a notable career as an entrepreneur and runs Canine Comprehension, a company that brings therapy dogs to schools to interact with children. Therapy dogs help young people widen their perspective around mental health so they can get to a place where they are ready to learn. They not only work with schools and support facilities in Melbourne, but offer tutoring, other school services and support residential care kids who are out of school due to social anxiety.
Sarah started her career as a teacher and worked with many young people. She realised how big a part mental health played in learning. She also completed an animal assistance therapy course and spent a considerable amount of time as a professional dog trainer. It was during this period that she recognised how kids, especially kids at-risk, could benefit from dog-assisted therapy and Canine Comprehension was born.
She has been awarded the Commonwealth Bank Australian of the Day and a Silver Stevie® Award in the category of Female Entrepreneur of the Year in Asia, Australia or New Zealand category in 2019. Last year, Canine Comprehension was nominated in the Animal Assisted Learning (AAL) Category at the Animal Assisted Therapies Ltd Conference Awards and was a finalist at the Australian Small Business Champion Awards. 2021 Canine Comprehension won the Australian Achievers Award - for excellence in customer relations
River is Sarah's main therapy dog. She is a Kelpie cross and was rescued by a small volunteer group when she was only 6 weeks old. The beginning of River's life was a struggle, as she was a malnourished puppy, with a weak immune system and nearly died a few times in the first few months of living with Sarah and her family. She is now a strong, happy dog who enjoys running with her doggy friends and also snuggling with anyone who will give her attention. Her favourite person is our Operations Manager, Louise McKenzie.