PRESIDENT -  Ellen Varnerin has been an educator for over 30 years starting as a 6th grade teacher and then continuing as a school psychologist. She finished her career having served for 12 years as an Administrator for Special Education. She and her fiancé, Ray, live in East Sandwich and have a CAP certified Weimaraner named Maxwell. Ellen and Maxwell have been making therapy visits with CAP since 2016.

SECRETARY - Karen Carafoli  is a registered nurse who retired in 2011 from Jordan Hospital in Plymouth, where she was given the opportunity to become the Director of both Cardiology Services and Professional Development. Karen lives with her husband, Richard in Sagamore Beach. They have two golden retrievers, Molly and Mia. Both “ girls” have passed their CAP certifications. Molly and her dad are starting their second year of visiting and Mia hopes to begin soon. In addition to CAP activities, retirement has provided time for quilting, decorative painting and enjoying four wonderful grandchildren.

​​​MEMBER AT LARGE-Kathy Fedorchuk focused on dog training in retirement and volunteered at the Friends of Falmouth Dogs as the trainer there.  She enrolled in CAP with her Irish Setter, Seamus. It was a bumpy ride but Seamus and Kathy became a certified team and love visiting as the dogs touch so many lives through the CAP program. Kathy and her husband John live in Falmouth.  

Companion Animal Program: 



CHILDREN'S PROGRAMS AND TRAINER - Susan Hunt is a retired school nurse and health teacher.  She and her husband, Carter, settled in her hometown of Falmouth in 2008.  Susan and her Labradoodle, Chowdah, have been active members in CAP since 2013.   Chowdah and Susan fill their lives with grand kids and family, long walks with friends and their dogs.   They also participate in Tricks classes with CAP's head trainer, Sheryl Benson, and are part of the 4H Paws for the Arts and the after school program at Wixon School in Yarmouth.

​​TREASURER - Rob Schain and his wife Debbie relocated to the Cape full time from New Jersey in 2011.  A few years later, Rob retired after a 36-year career as a financial analyst in the energy industry.  One of Rob's accomplishments in retirement was becoming a CAP therapy team in 2017 with Sophie, his now six-year old Brittany mix rescue, and he recently joined the CAP Board as treasurer.  His other activities in retirement include playing alto sax for the Chatham Band and the Sound Dunes swing band.

​MEMBER AT LARGE - Kathryn Scanlon Catanach joined CAP in 2005 and did pet therapy visits with two adopted guinea pigs, Ruby and Jinks, for several years. She then visited for 10 years with Niko, a retriever/shepherd mix. Niko retired in 2020, preferring to spend his time visiting neighbors, napping, and taking short walks in the woods. Kathy lives in Falmouth and is a retired marine geologist who specialized in mapping deep-sea habitats. When she isn’t taking short walks in the woods with Niko, she likes to spend time travelling and sailing with her husband, observing wildlife, and volunteering for disaster response and science organizations. 


​​VISITATION COORDINATOR - Judith Cosgrove joined cap in 2009 with her darling rescue Vizsla, Eva. She had retired from Frontier and Verizon where she worked for many years as an IT professional. Eva passed over the rainbow bridge recently after she shared her love and compassion to all who met her. Judith now works part time at Powerhouse Gym in Cedarville that helps her maintain physical fitness to keep up with her other rescue Vizsla, Anna. Anna is scheduled for training in CAP.  Judith belongs to the Sagamore Highlands Association where she created and maintains their web site.  Her husband Tom and Judith reside in Sagamore Beach with Anna and their rescue kitty, Picasso. Judith does acting, community theater, background work for movies, and training videos for medical companies.

TRAINING COORDINATOR-Sheryl Benson is the Head Trainer for Companion Animal Program.  She has been teaching the CAP Therapy Dog Training Classes since 2015.  She is a Dog Trainer/EnergyHealer/Communicator, who has been working with animals since she was 3 yrs old.  She has been actively involved in training with her own dogs in Competitive Obedience, Tracking, Agility, Freestyle, Rally Free, and Nosework for the last 30 years.  She is currently training her young Border Collie Sophie and Border Terrier, Drew in Nosework, Freestyle, and Rally Free.

CAP Newsletters

The Companion Animal Program

P.O. Box 453
Chatham, MA 02633


The Companion Animal Program is a 501(c)(3) non-profit,

tax exempt, charitable organization