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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, CPD-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 currently writes about shelter animals as a columnist for the Chagrin Valley Times. 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. The CITY DOGS program 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


CITY DOGS Cleveland is the adoption program at Cleveland Animal Care and Control, working to find homes for stray and unwanted animals.

In recent years, we have made tremendous progress toward saving adoptable animals in shelters all across the country by targeting specific groups at risk for euthanasia and developing programs to prepare them for success in adoptive homes. One group somewhat overlooked in his effort has been deaf dogs — largely because, in our noisy, busy shelters, we often fail to realize they cannot hear. Acorn and Mary have made us aware of the deaf dogs in our midst and given us the tools we need to help them shine. We are very grateful.   

Siedlecki, Colleen_CP2B3508_8x10_hi-res.

— Colleen Siedlecki,

Manager of Animal Care and Control, City of Cleveland