About Dr. Lori

DSC_9335 3Dr. Lori Friesen completed her PhD in Education at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She has served as Co-president of the Canadian Committee of Graduate Students in Education (CCGSE), Co-president of the Elementary Education Graduate Students’ Association (EE:GSA) at the University of Alberta, Chair of the Canadian Committee of Graduate Students in Education Mentorship Award  (CCGSE), and as Chair of Graduate Student Representatives for LLRC (Language and Literacy Researchers of Canada).

Dr. Lori’s Work with Children and Animals

One of Dr. Lori’s passions is supporting children to become more confident and proficient readers while helping them to develop the tools for success in life through increased compassion and empathy for animals and for all life on this planet. She has developed two 8-week programs: How Your Dog Can Help Your Child Read, Lead, & Succeed (an after-school program for children and their parents), and How Dogs Help Kids Read & Succeed In the Classroom (an in-classroom language-arts program).

Dr. Lori has served as a volunteer for the Pet Therapy Society of Northern Alberta and founded the Paws to Read with Tango animal-assisted literacy summer program at the Stanley A. Milner Public Library in Edmonton, Alberta. She was awarded the Government of Alberta Graduate Citizenship Award, the University of Alberta Graduate Student Community Service Award, and the Virginia Cummings Bursary for her dedication and service in her community.

In 2011, Dr. Lori was inducted into the Golden Key International Honour Society in recognition of her outstanding academic achievement and excellence. Her doctoral research, in which she explored how one class of grade 2 children experienced an animal-assisted literacy program, was awarded a SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) Doctoral Fellowship, the Isaak Walton Killam Memorial Scholarship, the University of Alberta Doctoral Prize of Distinction, the Alberta Teachers’ Association Doctoral Fellowship, and the University of Alberta Ph.D. Recruitment Scholarship.

Dr. Friesen with Reading DogsDr. Lori’s research examining animal-assisted literacy has received media attention around the world. Her work in animal-assisted literacy has been published in various peer-reviewed journals, including Early Childhood Education (2009), Learning Landscapes (2009), Language & Literacy (2010), Childhood Education International (2010; 2012), and most recently in The International Journal of Learning (2012). Please see the research page of this site for a complete listing of Dr. Lori’s publications, research, presentations and professional experience. Dr. Lori’s M.Ed. work has been published as a book, The Beginning Teacher’s Handbook for Elementary School (2008).

Dr. Lori is currently writing a book titled How Dogs Help Kids Read and Succeed to teach parents, volunteers, and educators step-by-step how they can help children to become stronger readers, develop stronger and more compassionate relationships with their friends and family, and develop the skills for success in life. With gentle guidance, children can make a real difference in our world for each other and for the animals who share our planet – while learning powerful lessons in meaningful, purposeful literacy.

Dr. Lori’s Work Inspiring Teens

Dr. Lori has been personally trained by Jack Canfield, author of The Success Principles and the beloved Chicken Soup for the Soul series, to become a certified Success Skills trainer. In partnership with the prestigious Elementary Institute of Science in beautiful San Diego, Dr. Lori designed two programs to help give teens the confidence and skills they need to live the lives of their dreams. Dare to Dream and Vision Boards for Young Visionaries is a two-day workshop designed to take teens from where they are to where they want to be.

Dr. Lori’s Work Empowering Women

Also drawing on her success principles training, Dr. Lori has developed a results-oriented, 5-step method to help women take 100% responsibility for their happiness. When women participate in in this content-rich program, they leave excited about the potential they have in their personal lives and in their success goals. More than just an inspirational experience, this program offers women proven techniques, strategies, exercises and activities that they need to create the lives of their dreams. Women will leave energized and amazed by the personal growth and awareness that comes from not only learning what they need to know, but what they need to do to attract the love, personal fulfillment, and happiness that they truly want. Just click here to learn more about this exciting workshop for women.


Dr. Lori splits her time between beautiful San Diego and La Quinta, California, where she enjoys clichéd long walks on the beach, spending quality time with amazing friends and family, and volunteering as an SPCA/San Diego Humane Society Outreach Educator. Her side passion is writing a memoir about a backpacking trip to the Greek Islands with her senior parents – use your imagination, the reality was worse than that! The working title for this non-fiction memoir (because truly, family is funnier than fiction) is Larry and Jo-Jo Do Greece (more information will follow on this as it comes available)!

Lori is a regular supporter of many animal-related charities, including the ASPCA, the Humane Society Legislative Fund, The Animal Legal Defense Fund, Farm Sanctuary, and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. To donate to Dr. Lori’s new program, How Dogs Help Kids Read & Succeed In the Classroom, please click here. Anything you are able to contribute will be greatly appreciated!