Our Founder

Paws and Think was founded by Gayle Hutchens, RN, MSN. When asked how she conceived the idea for the organization, Gayle said “When my husband was diagnosed with a serious illness, I knew I had to make a career change. I was looking for something with kids or animals or healing. When I told this to a friend at church, she said “God is bigger than that…you need to do all three!” Shortly after that conversation, I saw Oprah give Bonnie Bergin the “Use Your Life Award” for her similar program in Santa Rosa, California and knew I had found my answer. I contacted Bonnie to see if I could intern with her, and the rest, as they say, is history.” Dr. Bergin is the founder of the assistance dog concept, Canine Companions for Independence, and the Assistance Dog Institute.

Gayle earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from DePauw University and her Masters of Science Degree in Nursing from Indiana University. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau and Pi Lambda Theta honoraries. Gayle was formerly the Director of the Mother-Baby Care Program at Clarian Health Partners and held teaching as well as clinical and administrative positions for Clarian, the Indiana University Medical Center and the Indiana University School of Nursing. She has consulted in Brazil and Kenya as well as the United States. In 2007, Gayle was inducted into the nationally recognized L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth community.

In August of 2011, our founder, our inspiration and our friend Gayle Chadwick Hutchens passed away. Her memory continues to inspire the many, many individuals whose lives were touched by her selfless generosity and kindness.