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Greg Murray.JPG

Photo: Greg Murray

Mary L Motley has been a faculty member in Cleveland State University’s Health and Human Performance Department for over 40 years. Thanks to her extensive experience and years of training her own dogs, she knew just what she had to do when she discovered that the out-of-control puppy she brought home from Cleveland Animal Care and Control (CACC) was deaf. Learning how to communicate with Acorn was a mission of love that soon embraced, not just the little foster dog she welcomed into her family, but deaf dogs all across the country and beyond. Mary now acts as a mentor for shelter volunteers and foster parents working with deaf dogs at CACC and throughout Northeast Ohio as well as for individual’s who follow Acorn on his facebook page, DEAFinitely Awesome – the Adventures of Acorn.


Carol Peter, CPDT-KA has always loved dogs but discovered her passion for training as a shelter volunteer where she became one of the inaugural trainers in a volunteer trainer program that helped thousands of dogs find -and stay in- loving homes. Her commitment to compassionate, positive training led her to achieve accreditation as Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) and open the Cold Nose Companions Training Center in Chardon, OH. She has honed her skills through continuing education and hands-on experience with dogs that have complex behavioral issues such as separation anxiety, fear, reactivity and destructive behaviors.

Photo: Peggy Turbett Photography


Timy Sullivan has combined careers in animal welfare and journalism for many years. She has covered life-saving programs for professional websites and written about shelter animals as a columnist for the Chagrin Valley Times. She is the former director of Geauga Humane Society’s Rescue Village near Cleveland and co-founder of the PetFix Northeast Ohio low-cost, high volume spay-neuter clinic. An enthusiastic CITY DOGS Cleveland adopter and volunteer, Timy served as Project Manager for The Acorn Project.

Photo: Amy Sancetta


Jenny Campbell has been a freelance book illustrator and cartoonist for more than 30 years. She writes and illustrates the nationally syndicated cartoon strip Flo & Friends and her artwork graces the State of Ohio specialty Pet Plate. She created the artwork for this web site and for Acorn's books.

Heidi Wormser is a freelance graphic designer and web developer. After a successful 30+ year career creating print, multi-media and web projects for corporate, educational and non-profit clients, she's cut back on work so she can spend more time petting dogs.


Cleveland Animal Care and Control (CACC) is responsible for enforcing Cleveland, Ohio’s animal-related ordinances, including impounding stray dogs. 


CITY DOGS Cleveland is the adoption program at Cleveland Animal Care and Control. It was founded several years ago to enrich the lives of dogs during their time at the city kennel, prepare them for adoption into loving homes, and provide the public with as many opportunities as possible to get to know them for the great family dogs they were meant to be.

One the biggest unknowns in animal welfare (and even more specifically open admission government run agencies) is identifying and understanding deaf dogs in a shelter setting. Having over 15 years of experience within animal welfare myself, it seemed rare to come across and/or identify these types of dogs. With the help of Acorn and Mary shining a spotlight on this segment of the dog population, we can now identify deaf dogs and provide the type of support needed so they can thrive. The Acorn Project takes it to the next level allowing everyone whether it’s a shelter, animal control agency, or an owner from anywhere in the world to have instant access to resources to better support their deaf dog. Thank you to Mary, and Acorn for providing such a much needed resource.


— Cory Keller,

Manager of Animal Control Services, City of Cleveland

Amy Sancetta is a Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist who enjoyed 30 years as a staff photographer with the Associated Press. She traveled the world covering every major sporting event from the Olympic Games to the FIFA World Cup, as well as the Oscars and Emmys, and the tragedies of 9/11 in NYC and the Oklahoma City Bombing. Now retired, she uses her skills to help various animal welfare organizations. 

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