Ashley O’Hara has a passion for dogs acquired over the course of her entire life. From a young age Ashley attended training courses with her dogs and became increasingly interested in their learning abilities. Ashley worked for nearly a decade as a paralegal in various types of law while simultaneously volunteering with a nonprofit service dog organization. While working as a paralegal, she had a visceral feeling that it was not what she was meant to do with her life. Her father encouraged her to follow her passion and posed the question: “What do you really love most in life?”. The answer came easily: organizing/planning, helping others, traveling (especially to Disney World), and dogs. In 2012, Ashley made the life-changing decision to leave her pursuit in the law field to fully devote to the inception of PAWS Training Centers and is now the President/Owner of the company.
Ashley counts it as one of life’s greatest blessings that she now has a dream job where work and hobbies have become intertwined. She remains focused on evolving processes and standards to continue strengthening the company. She finds it deeply rewarding to create new pathways in the service dog industry while focusing on training standard integrity, accommodation, and globally helping more individuals with disabilities. In addition to Ashley’s work with PAWS Training Centers, she is a co-founder of Atlas Assistance Dogs– a nonprofit organization working towards teaching and certifying service dog trainers and providing funding for training non-specified disability groups with privately owned dogs.
Ashley holds an associate’s degree in paralegal studies and a bachelor’s degree in business. She is a fervent supporter of animal rescues. She and her husband Tom live southwest of Philadelphia with their two rescue dogs – Sampson (a Saint Bernard mix) and Sarah (an Anatolian Shepherd/Great Pyrenees mix), and a rescue cat – Snickers.