Who We Are

Joyce Biethan

Joyce is the lucky owner of Unsinkable Dogs. After 20 years as a Physical Therapist, dogs took on a more important role in her life. In 1996 she began the end of her first career when she started teaching dog obedience classes. By 2001 Joyce’s Dog Obedience Services was incorporated, and Joyce stopped doing PT. Joyce’s dog business continues to operate in the Seattle area with the help of several former students who have been teaching with her for the last several years.   Joyce has a strong passion for helping owners learn to provide leadership and clear communication with their dogs in order to solve behavioral issues. 

Due to family circumstances, Joyce moved to SW Washington in June, 2007.  During this upheaval, her dog Mick, a 10yo border collie, needed TPLO surgery following 6 months of intermittent lameness.  The surgery was a success; however, Joyce was eager to swim Mick regularly.  When she found pools and trained staff in short supply, she decided to build Unsinkable Dogs to help fill the need.  Joyce searched to find staff members who are as passionate about the possibilities of dogs and water as she is about training and leadership.  The results of her search turned up 3 women with diverse backgrounds and a shared passion for dogs and water.  

Joyce plans to continue her behavioral consulting in the Portland/SW Washington area while managing and assisting her staff at Unsinkable Dogs.

[Joyce's photo is courtesy of Julie Thomas]

Mindy Mulligan

Mindy was led to this work by her last great dog, Mike, who had cancer before dying at age 13.5.  He instilled in her the desire to increase the quality of life for animals during injury recovery or during their final days, as well as to support their humans during those stressful times.  After Level I and II Canine Water Therapy courses with Cindy Horsfall of LaPaw Spa, Mindy began swimming dogs in northern California before relocating to Portland, Oregon.  She is excited to be settled in the Northwest and offering her services at Unsinkable Dogs here in Washington!       
Mindy offers a supportive environment using warm water assisted swimming and energy work.  Her mission is to provide a safe and nurturing atmosphere in which pets and their humans can find spiritual, physical, and emotional balance on their journey together.  When your dog is resting between swims, Mindy uses Reiki to work with your animal's energy system to restore balance and to improve energy flow. Reiki may also ease your animal's pain or stress.  This can be a very powerful tool, especially when combined with the benefits of swimming in warm water!  
Mindy is in the process of working toward her Small Animal Massage Practitioner licensure in Washington and looks forward to adding bodywork modalities to her “toolbox” when that is achieved.  
When not swimming dogs, Mindy enjoys mountain biking, doing yoga, hiking with her two dogs, and napping with her two cats.  For more information about Mindy and her work, see www.PawsInBalance.com. 

Julie Thomas

Julie Thomas has always been around dogs. Her dad had a dog before meeting and marrying her mom. That dog was their first child; Julie the second.  

In addition to having her own 4-legged angels over the years, Julie spent a number of years with Border Collies and sheep on her best friend’s sheep farm. 

After living through cancer surgeries for multiple pets belonging to both herself and friends, Julie looked for ways to serve these beloved animals and their owners.  She studied small animal massage at the Northwest School of Animal Massage (NWSAM), based in Redmond, Washington, to help her with this goal. She has completed and received certification at two levels, Basic Maintenance and Rehabilitation.  

Julie lives and practices massage in Northwest Portland. Her current clients, all located in Oregon, include primarily geriatric dogs both pre- and post-surgery, as well as a 7-month-old lab who had both hips replaced.  

As a life-long “water rat”, she is excited about the opportunity to be a part of the “Unsinkable” gang. She looks forward to the State of Washington completing its procedures for certifying Small Animal Massage Practioniers so she can use her Massage skills in the water at Unsinkable Dogs.  

To add to her skills (and avoid cleaning house as her children say), she currently is enrolled in a TallGrass Animal Acupressure course. 

 [Julie's picture is courtesy of Kim Biethan]

Judi Truskey

At the age of 35, Judi Truskey once again became a dog owner after listening to a little voice that told her to go to the local Humane Society.  Her best girl, Australian shepherd Kyah, was waiting for her there.  After 12 years together, Kyah has succeeded in completely changing Judi's life.  Kyah convinced Judi to learn and use modern training methods, become a TTouch practitioner, and learn about and use alternative ways of feeding and maintaining health.  Together they competed successfully in obedience, agility, and canine musical freestyle.  When Judi wanted to get a male Aussie, Kyah convinced her to get a female Belgian Malinois, the blonde and beautiful Lucy who left us in August, 2008.

Judi became a Certified TTouch Practitioner nine years ago, mostly for the benefit of her own dogs.  Since "going public" two years ago, Judi has given seminars for Guide Dogs for the Blind and at a national specialty dog show.  She loves water and working with bodies in the water and is excited to be a part of Unsinkable Dogs.

[Judi's photograph is courtesy of Kim Biethan]