Meet Dina

Dina Zaphiris

B.S. Psychology, UC Davis

Dina Zaphiris has been a professional dog trainer for over 30 years. She is the
first American dog trainer to train dogs for federally funded studies involving dogs detecting early stage human cancer. Her work has been published in a medical journal. Dina has trained over 24 dogs to detect early stage cancer in humans, and has participated in federally, as well as privately funded studies. Dina is the founder of her non-profit, a 501c3, In Situ Foundation, dedicated to training dogs to detect early stage human cancer, and publishing research. Her recent collaboration with Duke University involves screening over 2000 samples for breast cancer, and determining the dogs ability and accuracy levels to distinguish malignant from benign blood samples. Dina’s background as a pet dog trainer eventually brought her tocertifying and training therapy dogs, as well as service animals.

Her dog, Stewie, is a registered and certified Therapy Dog, and works at LA Children’s hospital. Dina has trained the dogs for Al Pacino, Nicolas Cage, Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone, Tony and Ridley Scott, Barry Manilow, Ozzy Ozbourne, Patricia Arquette, Kate Beckinsale, and the Annenberg family. Dina participated in search and rescue, with her wilderness search dog “Django”, and was certified as a mission ready wilderness search dog team, deployed by LA Sheriff’s Department. Dina has taught a classes for police and search dog handlers at SAR City, Barstow College. She is a published author, and appears on several TV shows providing her expert advice and training for dogs and humans. Dina has titles in both competitive obedience and agility work with dogs.

Collaboration with Enloe Medical Center, Chico, CA.
Collaboration with UC Davis. Dina trains two dogs to detect upper thoracic cancer in saliva samples
Collaboration with Duke University. Dina Zaphiris, in conjunction with Duke University, conducting breast cancer research to determine dogs accuracy levels in distinguishing malignant from benign tumors in human blood samples.
Established first training protocol for the training of cancer detection dogs.
Primary dog trainer and researcher for e.coli detection dogs at Assistance Dogs of Hawaii. Trained 10 dogs to detect early stage UTI infections in paraplegics and quadriplegics.
Primary dog trainer and researcher for federally funded study on ovarian cancer. Undergoing peer review and analysis for publication. 10 dogs successfully trained to detect early stage ovarian cancer in human breath samples.
Working with Dr. Peter Banos for research involving cancer detection dogs to further development of the mechanical nose for disease.
Founder of In Situ Foundation, a 501(c)(3). Dina’s non-profit org trains dogs to detect cancer early in humans, and conducts research in the early detection of cancer, providing screenings for the public, using scent detection dogs.
Dina is on the board of directors and planners for the Annenberg Companion Animal Center in Palos Verdes. This is the new model for dog “shelters”, nationally.
Animal Expert for NBC’s Bonnie Hunt Show. Dina appears weekly on the Bonnie Hunt show, bringing on shelter dogs, giving training tips, and talking with Bonnie about animal issues.
Published Author of book: The Behavior Savior: the enlightened path to the perfect pet. Available on Amazon and in stores.
Host of Animal Planet (Discovery) show: PetFinder. The show places rescue pets with proper homes. 13 episodes
Deployed through LAPD/ for missing persons with her certified search dog. Received certification through CARDA. Specializes in scent detection work with dogs. Teaches seminars and classes at SAR CITY (the largest Search and Rescue conference in the country) on scent detection, training and motivating detection dogs.
Study published in Journal of Integrative Cancer Therapies on Diagnostic Accuracy of Canine Scent Detection in Early and Late Stage Lung and Breast Cancers (March 2006, Vol. 5, No. 1) Dina was the main assistant, helping to run the dogs through the study.
Dina began her formal education as a dog behaviorist and trainer, apprenticing under Richard Vye for 5 years, and began her own dog training school. Dina attended conferences for professional dog trainers all around the country. Her mentor, Richard Vye, is the only protege of Rudd Weatherwax, who trained the original Lassie. Dina trained dogs for film, commercials and TV.
Bachelor of Science, University of California, Davis. Major: Biology and Psychology, with an emphasis on animal behavior.

Dina grew up in Chico, California, surrounded by dogs, horses, chickens
andmore. As an only child of older parents, animals became her best friends.
Her entire life is dedicated to the connection between humans and animals,
particularly where we have helped each other survive. Her primary interest is where animals, dogs in particular, help humans.

Seeing eye dogs, bomb-detection dogs, search and rescue dogs, and cancer detection dogs are my inspiration. Very few creatures have coevolved the way man and dog have. We have actually effected each other’s evolution. Dogs guarded our agriculture, livestock, and our communities, helping man to make it past the agricultural stage, and bringing us to where we are now. We, in turn, have allowed these wonderful dogs into our homes, forever changing their evolution, as well. The connection between man and dog is magnificent. We were meant to help each other. There’s nothing else quite like it.” —Dina Zaphiris