Emory Dogs

dogs in training

Dogs Currently Active in Emory fMRI Studies and Dogs in Training. Dogs in group ALPHA (A-Team) began scanning in 2012, and our latest group HOTEL began in January 2018.

Group Name Bio

callie dog


Callie is a terrier mix, called a “feist” in the South, and is the first dog to sit for an MRI. Greg’s family adopted her at the age of 9 months from the Atlanta Humane Society. Early on, she showed her innate skill at treeing squirrels and hunting anything that moved in the yard. This last spring Callie was responsible for a Darwinian carnage of 3 baby birds, 2 chipmunks, a rabbit and countless moles. But Callie loves people, and she loves to learn new things. Greg says, “I take her to work whenever I can. Sometimes she hangs out in the lab, and sometimes she helps pilot new experiments at the MRI.”


caylin dog


Caylin, a border collie, is a member of the A-Team. Caylin is owned by Lorrie Backer – a long-time dog trainer who has an interest in positive training methods.  She has trained many dogs, including two border collies who earned their UD (Utility Dog) titles.  She plans to take Caylin all the way through to an OTCH (Open Trial Champion) title. Lorrie has a PhD in Genetic Toxicology and works for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. At the CDC, she is an environmental epidemiologist focusing on preventing illnesses from exposure to environmental pollutants.  When she is not training or working, she enjoys landscaping her yard with edible plants (for birds, butterflies, pollinators, and people), and participating in various citizen science and community projects.




libby dog


Libby – a pit-mix and member of Bravo Company. Her owner, Claire Mancebo says, “A little brown dog (soon known as LBD, then Libby) was found by the side of the road in a rural part of southern CA in 2008. She can’t wag her tail due to some unknown physical trauma but she is still one of the most expressive dogs I’ve ever met. When she’s excited, she’ll tap dance and jump and quiver all over. She also makes every kind of noise a dog can make (grumbles, barks, yodels, whines). Her exuberance is matched by her ability to settle down quickly…she loves to nap on us most of the time. During our time in California, she was picked for a spot in a national commercial for dog treats…not too unexpected, since her owners worked for animal training companies specializing in animal actors. My background in animal training drove me to participate in the fMRI Dog Project when I heard about it from a co-worker at Emory University. It sounded like a fun challenge and definitely has lived up to expectations. Libby has demonstrated a good ability to focus on the task at hand (especially when there’s hot dog involved!) even though she’d rather be running around, trying to lick faces.”


pearl dog


Pearl, a golden retriever, is a member of Bravo Company. Pearl was a potential service dog for Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), but after 2 years of training, Pearl decided being an assistance dog was not for her. She came back to live with her puppy raiser, Vicki D’Amico, and quickly became a registered therapy dog with Happy Tails Pet Therapy in Atlanta, Georgia. Vicki says, “Pearl is a loving and goofy girl who lives to sit in laps and give hugs. Her favorite hobbies are chasing Frisbees and competing in the sport of Nosework.” Vicki has been volunteering with animal organizations for over 20 years. Pearl is the 8th dog she raised for CCI. Vicki says, “I have a passion for all types of working canines, I am excited to be involved in this ground breaking research and its potential as a tool to help identify a working canine candidate and decrease the time and resources spent on getting them to their human partners.


zen dog


Zen, a golden retriever / lab mix, is a member of Bravo Company. His owner, Darlene Coyne, says, “Zen was the sixth dog I raised to be a service dog for Canine Companions for Independence.  He was named by the breeder in California since his was a ‘Z litter.’ It turned out to be a perfect name for him.  He was released from the program due to a very distractible nose.  I am excited that he has another chance at really making a difference.”


eli dog


Eli is a Vizsla and a member of Bravo Company. He lives with Lindsay Fetters. Eli was bred primarily to be a show dog, but has become much, much more. Eli enjoys learning new skills and likes to stay busy by being involved in a broad range of activities. He’s been an actor in a Sundance TV Original Series, enjoys hunting for quail, is training for agility, and works in Lindsay’s office as the mail and document delivery boy. Eli also won Best in Breed at Westminster in 2016. Lindsay was a former service dog trainer and has taught Eli to do all tasks expected of a service dog. Lindsay and Eli both enjoy being members of the fMRI Dog Project.


edmond dog


Edmond is a 5 year old, lab/golden cross. As a young pup, Edmond started training with Canine Companions for independence. He  was released for mild hip dysplasia and became our family pet.  He soon became certified as a therapy dog with Therapy Dogs International.  He currently works as a reading dog at 2 elementary schools.  Edmond loves to learn, especially when food is involved.  Edmond would say his favorite thing about MRI training is the abundant supply of hot dogs!!

Edmond loves laying in the sun, though!


ohana dog


Ohana is a 6 year old golden retriever and started out her career as a service dog with Canine Companions for Independence. She was the 13th puppy I had raised and when she was released from the program, I adopted her. She is a certified therapy dog through ITA and a certified, trained R.E.A.D. Dog as well working through Reading Paws. Ohana is also learning Canine Freestyle and is scheduled for her first competition in April 2016.  Ohana was named by CCI and her name is Hawaiian for family and she has definitely become part of ours


dog tug


Tug, a Portuguese Water Dog, joined the fMRI studies in 2014 when he was less than two years old. His working dog heritage, strong personality, and size at the start of his research career posed some challenges. However, he and his handler Jessa, were able to overcome the issues and have gone on to be regular participants in the studies. Dr. Berns now affectionately refers to this team "as the data point I almost let go, but glad I didn't".
Tug lives in Atlanta with his three two-legged siblings and 1 Chihuahua friend and enjoys all things water, hikes, fetch, and snuggling. Jessa, an animal lover, grew up riding horses and went on to training dogs after graduate school. She is a speech language pathologist and rehabilitation services manager at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. 


velcro dog


Velcro is a seven year old Vizsla and member of Charlie company who began life as a show dog.  He earned 4 points toward his championship before he decided showing was not his thing.  He spent two months at hunting dog camp and learned to love birds, catching their scent and pointing their location.  However, he did not do well with the pressure of hunting, preferring it to be an occasional fun activity he pursued at whim.  Because of his incredibly affectionate and docile nature, his owner Lisa, who is a clinical psychologist, thought he would make an excellent therapy dog.  Through his Canine Good Citizen training, they met Dr. Berns and became involved with the dog project.  During the week, Velcro’s real job involves being available to patients who enjoy the comforting presence of a dog, reducing their anxiety and kissing away their tears


ozzie dog


Ozzie is a seven year old Yorkie-Bichon mix who was adopted at age one from Angels Among Us Pet Rescue. At 18 pounds, Ozzie is one of the smallest dogs in the program and, as Greg likes to point out, he has a remarkably small brain!

While Ozzie is surrounded by dogs of distinction in this project, he himself is a regular house pet. He has the personality of a terrier. (Much to his mom’s chagrin, he is not a cuddle bug, but he sure is cute!) His idea of a perfect day is to hang out at the pool in the summer, float on his raft, and swim to retrieve a stick.

Because Ozzie is so food motivated, he does well with experiments which offer frequent rewards—which come in the form of green beans and peas! As soon as Ozzie arrives at the lab for a scan, he runs intothe MRI to get started!

We all agree that life is so much better with dogs, so it’s fantastic to be able to participate in the amazing Dog Project.


tallulah dog


Tallulah is an energetic Carolina Dog, rescued by Cory and Anna Inman, who loves exploring new places and meeting new people.  She enjoys hikes in the woods and spending time with her family.  She was introduced to the study by Cory who is a cognitive neuropsychologist ​at Emory University who utilizes fMRI with human studies.  He wanted Tallulah to participate in learning more about how the canine brain works


truffles dog


Truffles is one of the lucky dogs who made it out of a rural animal control facility before being adopted by Diana in 2005. She is a pointer mix with an exuberant personality and a zest for life that brings a smile to everyone who meets her. Although never formally trained, her intelligence, friendliness, and love of hot dogs made her a great candidate for the Dog Project. She is a very active dog who enjoys daily runs through the woods at the Nature Preserve, where she swims, chases squirrels, and generally has an excellent time. Diana is passionate about animal rescue. She is President of the Board of Mostly Mutts and works at fundraising and adoption events. We are so proud to be a part of this groundbreaking project which has the potential to improve the lives of all dogs


koda dog


Koda is an outgoing, adventurous 2 year old. She loves everyone who gives her attention and never meets a stranger. She learned about the MRI coil as a puppy, watching intently as Zula practiced hundreds of times at home. Her favorite hobbies are hiking, agility tricks, swimming, playing chase with other dogs and trying to chase deer and turkey (which she's not allowed to do). She was adopted from Fulton County shelter, where she lived a couple months, after being picked up by animal control as a stray on the streets in Atlanta. She is really good at teaching foster dogs discipline and the house rules, during their transition from a local rescue shelter to their new families, which helps them all get adopted.


ollie dog


Ollie is 3 year old mixed breed adopted from the Atlanta Humane Society in November 2013. Despite looking like a Border Collie or Australian Shepherd, his DNA test indicates that he is mostly Beagle and Labrador. Ollie’s owners heard about the Canine Cognitive Neuroscience lab through Tallulah’s dad.  Ollie is a Gemini who enjoys long walks on the Beltline, socks, swimming, and tennis balls.  He also loves howling along to his favorite songs, including ‘Ride’ by 21 Pilots, ‘2 Heads’ by Coleman Hell, and ‘Let It Go’ from the movie Frozen.


ninja dog




"Zula", a popular name from several African countries, means "brilliant, ahead". It suits her personality in her dealings with others. Her favorite activity is hiking - 35 miles a week - where she enjoys meeting people, leaping up large rocks to view the scenery, and sniffing everything. She likes running around her homemade backyard agility course with her dog and human friends. She is also a Happy Tails therapy dog. Cathy fosters through Mostly Mutts rescue, so Zula has helped several unwanted dogs become socialized and get adopted.  Cathy adopted Zula at 6 weeks old from a rescue -  and was told she's a lab/mastiff mix. Zula later had a dna test that came back 1/4 American Staffordshire terrier, 1/8 Miniature Schnauzer, 1/8 Boxer, and a mix of indeterminable breeds. At 56 pounds, she is a very unique dog. We are so proud of being a part of such historic dog research




mauja dog


Mauja is a typical material girl. She loves fashion accessories, cameras and shiny objects. Mauja has congenital bilateral deafness but that's never stopped her from pursuing her dreams of becoming a canine scientist! She recently turned 7 years old but since she couldn't hear the "happy birthday" song she doesn't seem to mind reaching senior status. Her favorite hobbies are watching television, staring at herself in the mirror, and going for long walks with lots of sightseeing. Her favorite holiday is Independence Day because that's the only time she can catch a free fireworks display


king tubby dog

King Tubby

King is a 9 year old Rottweiler mix plucked from the streets of Miami as a pup. His favorite pastimes include eating, swimming, wiping his mouth on stuff, eating, sightseeing, and car rides. He is an excellent ESA (emotional support animal), accompanies his person just about everywhere, and has road-tripped all over Florida and as far north as Wisconsin. Although he is a Florida native, he prefers the cooler weather and southern hospitality offered by Georgia and is eager to make history with the Emory Cognitive Neuroscience Lab so he can brag to his cat roommates about it.




daisy dog


Daisy is a typical dog with a not-so typical background. At 3 months old she was found by a Good Samaritan in a dumpster. Daisy was turned into a pet boarding facility where an employee would soon fall in love and adopt her. Daisy now lives a busy life of frequent naps, using her expressive face to plead for food, and searching for the perfect toy in the toy box. When she isn't studying to become a canine scientist, she loves to play frisbee, tag along in the canoe, and educate others on how pit bulls are not as scary as they think.


ender dog


Ender is a couple months shy of being a year old and he's a social butterfly. He loves to make sure everyone feels welcome and loved at all times and he loves to be a "good boy" for his pawrents. He is very playful and intuitive to others' emotions. He is very food-driven and will do anything when treats are involved! He is a power chewer, but only likes to chew on his "real" bones and has never damaged anything in the house. All he needs is love and in return is always eager to please.






zoey dog


Zoey is a 2 year old F1b Goldendoodle. She loves to play with her dog friends and run with her parents. She runs with her mom in races and frequently places as one of the top 3 dogs. She is a therapy dog with Happy Tails Pet Therapy and loves visiting the expectant moms at Northside Hospital.


dog shelby


Shelby is a 10-year-old yellow lab, and a member of the HOTEL team. She was bred and trained as a professional waterfowl retriever, and is recognized by the American Kennel Club as a 5x Qualifier and Master Hunter. After two litters of puppies and eight years of hunting and competing, Shelby entered retirement and was adopted by her owner Brooke McKenna, a psychology graduate student at Emory. For fun, Shelby loves to play fetch - both in and out of water - and take hikes on the local trails. She’s a pro at sniffing out toys, and stays sharp by playing hide-and-go-seek. In her down time, Shelby enjoys the relaxation of retirement and cuddles up with any human who will give her a belly rub.


dog chevy


Chevy is a 5-year-old English lab who does not retrieve. His favorite activity is to show off his handsome ombre fur and muscular thick chest by laying in the middle of the most travelled path in the house. He does not care much about squirrels or frisbees, but he can not imagine a world without tug of war and ice cream.


dog Aubie


Aubie is a 14-year-old Australian cattle dog mix who was adopted at one year of age from the Spokane Humane Society in Spokane, WA. He has a willing attitude, is a great friend, and includes everyone in his fun.  Though an avid squirrel chaser, he has slowed down a bit due to his age and currently spends his days organizing his toys and holding the sofa down.  He enjoys participating in comedic video shorts with his owner, Maryanne Weatherill, a speech-language pathologist completing a Ph.D. in educational psychology/applied cognition & development.


dog Kirby


Kirby is a 4-year-old boxer/hound mix, and is the happiest guy around! Kirby has never met a stranger; dog or human. He greets everyone with a wagging tail, wiggling butt, and toy in his mouth. Although he is 75 pounds, Kirby believes he is truly a lap dog, and the best snuggler…EVER. His favorite hobbies include hiking, swimming (even though he’s not very good!), and playing tug. In addition to his good looks and charm, Kirby is especially unique because he suffers from idiopathic epilepsy. Don’t worry, not even seizures can bring this happy boy down! Kirby is also an excellent big brother to 2-year-old Kevin (dog), and 4-year-old Richard (cat). Given his high food motivation, and eagerness to please, Kirby is sure to excel at his fMRI training!


dog Kaper


Kaper, a 7 y/o Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, (NSDTR), was born and bred in Nova Scotia and wears the Canadian maple leaf proudly. He comes from a long line of working dogs. The breeder claimed he was the most mellow of his litter and he has lived up to the Toller reputation as ‘the best dog ever.’ He’s a great traveler, companion, and buddy He introduced me to the grand dog sport of Agility to eventually compete at the Excellent/Master level. He dabbled in Rally, added Scent Work to his repertoire, and learned a few tricks. In his spare time he enjoys walks, loves playing in the ocean, is always a good citizen, and considers himself an official Toller ambassador. He is also an accomplished squirrel chaser although his main jobs are cuddling and looking for treats, by counter-cruising or otherwise. Kaper lives contentedly in Roswell with his young Toller brother and is looking forward to the challenge of working with The Dog Project.


dog rowdy

Rowdy Jr.

Rowdy is an eight year old Australian Shepherd.  He is first and foremost a much loved and very spoiled family pet.  He is very vocal (as you probably noticed) and considers keeping his family on schedule his main job.  When my son was younger he was the school bus monitor, waiting until all of the kids from the street were safely on the bus before he would go back home.  Now he just hounds my son if he is not up and moving toward the door when it is time to leave for school.



dog loki


Loki is a 10 year old American Cocker Spaniel who still acts like a puppy. His favorite thing in the world is food, followed by hiking, and then his human. He loves to chase squirrels and play tug but hates water with an undying passion. He is a quick learner with the right incentive (food), and likes to show off his tricks to all his friends


dog rookie


Rookie is a 5 year old Goldendoodle. He is a very energetic dog who loves to chase after his frisbee and tennis ball, and play with his squeaky toys at home. He is beginning to learn agility. After a long day of playing, he likes to end it cuddling with Mom on the couch. His daily love quota may be high, but he gets plenty of love and attention from his mom and dad!

In Memory

Group Name Bio


dog wil



roman dog


Roman is an 8 year old Lab mix who was rescued through Mostly Mutts in 2010. He had a rough start in life but is now healthy and happy. He is shy but friendly and loves his daily runs in the Nature Preserve with his humans and fellow canines. His sister Truffles has been a part of the MRI project for several years now, and Roman is looking forward to participating in this groundbreaking work.


stella dog




jack dog


 Golden Retriever