Success Stories

Daniel Todd with his job coach, Alisha Wibking-Krohn, job coach with Mentor Oregon 

Daniel Todd discovered his dream job through one particular pooch.

For many months, Daniel went to Wild Rivers Animal Rescue in Gold Beach daily to visit Shasta, an older dog he adored. Daniel previously worked in small group employment doing landscaping and janitorial work, but it was not a good fit. Mentor Oregon reached out to Mark Curran, executive director at Wild Rivers, and they created a position for Daniel as a kennel technician.

For the past two years, Daniel, 37, has worked four days a week at Wild Rivers. He cleans the dog’s kennels, washes food bowls, feeds the dogs and cleans the bathroom and break room. He also socializes with the dogs, and continues to volunteer as a dog walker.

“A dog once saved my life,” Daniel said. “This job is a better fit for me.”

Daniel experiences Prader-Willi syndrome, a genetic disorder significantly affecting appetite, growth, metabolism, cognitive function and behavior. According to Joy Lea, former employee at Mentor Oregon, in the past some may have been thought of Daniel as unable to work in the community.

“He is very proud of his job and the very fact that he is working,” she said.

Daniel participates in the three dog parades throughout Curry County – in Gold Beach, Brookings and Port Orford, each year on behalf of Wild Rivers. 

“It’s amazing to watch him with the animals,” said Alisha Wibking-Krohn, job coach with Mentor Oregon. “There are certain dogs that won’t listen to anyone except Daniel.”

Daniel has been taking training classes so he can help training certain dogs to help them get adopted.

“Daniel always has a favorite new dog,” Mark Curran said. “He has a great rapport with the dogs, and he is always willing to help with anything that needs to be done. We are a small operation so having someone who can step in to help is important.”

Daniel lives in a group foster home and works 12 hours per week at Wild Rivers. His job coach helps to keep him on track with his job duties, and helps to keep him safe since he experiences food-seeking issues.

“I help dogs find homes by helping to train them,” Daniel said, warmly petting a dog by his side. “I love being with them and helping them.”

Lain Ham was the VR counselor for Daniel. Karen Lomheim is Daniel’s service coordinator from Community Living Case Management. Elaine Lortscher was the job developer and Alisha Wibking-Krohn from Mentor Oregon provides job coaching. Nelson Ferguson was the benefits counselor from the Work Incentives Network.​