In Loving Memory, Gayle Hutchens

Gayle HutchensIn Loving Memory
Gayle Chadwick Hutchens, RN, MSN
10/17/1947 – 8/13/2011

Our founder, our inspiration and our friend, Gayle Chadwick Hutchens, died Saturday evening, August 13, 2011, embraced by the love of her devoted family who were at her bedside and the many, many friends whose lives were touched by her selfless generosity and kindness.

Gayle was a wife, mother, grandmother, nurse, healer, teacher, mentor, manager, entrepreneur and a woman of deep personal faith. Her crowning achievement and the legacy of which she was most proud was the creation of Paws & Think, Inc., in October 2001. The agency’s unique mission touched lives throughout Central Indiana and brought her accolades from around the world.

In Paws & Think, she discovered her passion and spent her last years working tirelessly to extend its reach into schools, the juvenile justice system, adult day care, library reading programs and bereavement programs, including a funeral home where she placed dogs who help children, adults and even staff travel through the landscape of loss. She retired completely just weeks before her death.

We celebrate the life of this remarkable woman through our commitment to build on her work in service to at-risk youth and canines.

Leave a reply »

39 thoughts on “In Loving Memory, Gayle Hutchens

  1. Anne Simmons Wolpert says:

    I worked with Gayle at the very beginning of Paws & Think in 2001-2002, just after completing the Purdue University Dog Behavior & Training course. I learned so much from her, not only about canine behavior, but also about how dogs can help adolescents who are struggling with school or other issues. I will miss her very much and only wish that I had been able to work with her more in these past few years. God bless! Anne & Splash

  2. Carol S. Davenport says:

    Though I knew that Gayle’s passing was just a matter of time, it still saddens my heart to know that she is gone from us. I do know that she is whole and at peace in a better place. My heart aches for her family and loved ones. May the love of those around you find peace and courage in this difficult time.

    God Bless, Carol S. Davenport

  3. Teresa Kofski says:

    Gayle was such a kind and gracious lady..She will be missed. My condolences to her family and loved ones.

  4. Coleen Zinn says:

    I knew this was coming but it is hard to accept. Gayle was such a special person. She tought me how to be a puppy trainer to Hogan and for a short time I had Lady. I learned a lot from her.
    God bless her family and all her many friends. Coleen

  5. Wendy Hendricks says:

    Gayle was such an inspiration. I am glad I was able to work with her. My sincere condolences to her family.
    Wendy and Amber

  6. Jodi Van Slyke says:

    She was a rose among thorns. She was one of those people you would be lucky to encounter once in a lifetime. I was blessed to have known her, and work with her for eight years. She had a way with people that is unequaled in my experience. My prayers go out to her family.

    Jodi, Jazz, Kashmir and Daisy Rose.

  7. Gayle Hutchens was my hero. She was so devoted to everything she touched or touched her. SHE CHANGED LIVES AND BROUGHT HOPE TO SO MANY PEOPLE AND TO DOGS THAT MIGHT NOT HAVE HAD A CHANCE IN LIFE. One of her most admired traits to me was that she was a listener first then an activist if she believed in your cause. I will miss her! I am confident that she has already started a program for angels and critters in Heaven.

  8. I only met Gayle once, but I could see her passion and purpose and resolve for her love of animals and the healing power they bring to humans. I am grateful I had a chance to meet and talk with her…and she inspired me to continue on my path with pets and people, as well. Thank You Gayle.
    Patty Spitler
    Pet Pals TV

  9. Sue Brockus says:

    Gayle was truly an inspiration. Our condolences to her family and the friends she knew best. May you find comfort in God’s grace.
    Sue, Tom, Elvis, Buster, Josie, Harley and Scooter Brockus

  10. Laurie Adams says:

    Gayle will always be in my heart – Her drive and passion were unmatched – She was an amazing woman who looked at a need and “Made it Happen” Thru Gayle I have met several wonderful people – My heart goes out to Gayles family during this tough time- but Know this…….She was a truly amazing woman. Very rare person. {hugs} to all family & Friends.

  11. She will be missed. She will be remembered. It was an honor to know her. Prayers to all ~ Tina McIntosh, Joy’s House adult day service, a partner with Paws and Think

  12. Marty Posch says:

    I met Gayle through an organization I was President of, Giving Sum, we had done a few volunteer events with Paws and Think and I had the wonderful experience of getting to know her and hearing her speak passionately about this wonderful organization. I didnt know her well, but I can say without a doubt that the world needs more people like Gayle. An amazing woman. Rest in Peace

  13. Holly Halvorson Southern says:

    How fortunate I am to have met Gayle in 2005 when she helped us start a Paws to Read program at the Carmel Clay Public Library. She was always patient and generous with all my questions and concerns. News of her death came as a surprise to me–I didn’t know how sick she was–and it’s sad to know the world is without her now. But boy, did she make a difference to so many of us (people and animals both)! I hope and pray her vision for Paws and Think will continue for many years to come.

  14. Kathy Janes says:

    I have always felt that Gayle was the mentor I met too late in life. She was always thoughtful, caring, teaching, passionate and gloriously ladylike even in jeans. She has given so much to everyone whose lives touched hers and many who never even knew her name. I feel such compassion for her family at her loss, but know that there are many sharing your grief. I am grateful to have had the time with her that I did, and committed to seeing her legacy of Paws and Think become all that she envisioned.

  15. Gayle was a force for good for both animals and people. What a gift to all those she met! My thoughts and prayers go out to her family.
    Heartfelt thanks to Gayle’s spirit for her contributions to the so many lives.

  16. Duncan Pat Pritchett says:

    I knew Gayle from the years we attended DePauw University together and also to the time where she began the Paws and Think program. She was a wonderful woman who made a real difference in this world. She will be missed.

  17. Mark Hursh says:

    I’m so sad to learn that we have lost Gayle. She was such a force of inspiration and hope for many. Her spirit brightened the countless lives of those around her.

    Thank you Gayle for all the wonderful work that you did during your short time here. Your kind heart and dedication will be deeply missed.

  18. John Aleshire says:

    Gayle’s shining spirit, vision, and compassion causes we humans to pause and to think that even though her life was far too short, it was fully lived and beyond measure. To all of us, whether two legged or four, are enriched by her life and touched by her spirit. She will be greatly missed.

  19. Tracy Dawson says:

    I was blessed to have worked with Gayle after she started Paws and Think. She did a pilot program with me in IPS. I am shocked to hear of her passing. She will be greatly missed.

    My prayers are with her entire circle of family, friends, and pets.

    Tracy Dawson, LCSW
    Social Worker

  20. Sylvia Payne says:

    I met Gayle when Paws and Think was a very young organization and was delighted to find a volunteer opportunity that meshed with my interests in the healing power of dogs. I served on the Paws and Think board from 2004 to 2009, and was president much of that time, working closely with Gayle to build the organization’s strengths. She was tireless, endlessly patient, totally devoted to the work. I am so sad that we have lost her.

  21. Hazel Weiss says:

    I met Gayle in a training seminar at Bergin University for Canine Studies in 2001. I was there for client training to receive my first service dog,Hams, Gayle was my instructer, supporter,and inspiration for following your heart. I was able to visit her and Paws and Think in 2002 and do a volunteer presentation for at risk youth and she took us to the Indy 500! She maintained her love and support for us over the years, our hearts, are so full of love for Gayle and sadness for her pasing. Sam and I send 0ur deepest sympathy for Gayle’s family.

  22. Gayle was an inspiration to all of us who work with and for young people, for her creative problem solving and her drive to make good things happen for everyone involved. She will be missed in our youth-serving world.

  23. Sarah Burkman says:

    My husband and I were honored to find a mentor and role model in Gayle when we served on the Paws and Think board during the organization’s early years. In the years since, we have been blessed to find a true friend in Gayle. She has been so kind to our family, never neglecting to spoil our feisty basset hound with treats. We will all miss her.

  24. Bonnie Jones says:

    Upon my retirement, I was fortunate to find Gayle and her wonderful program. I was both a volunteer and paid consultant with Paws & Think. I was always amazed at how patient and kind she was with dogs. She helped me with my rescue dog, Sugar, who was timid after being in a puppy mill. And she showed up at my door with love and compasion when Sugar died suddenly. I will never forget how much caring and concern she demonstrated. I am priviledged to have know her and am saddened by her loss.

  25. Carol Kortman says:

    I was in school pursuing a masters degree. I wanted to do a study on the effects of facility dogs on the population of a school. Gayle was a huge help! She didn’t have any adult dogs available but asked if I was interested in puppy raising. I said sure. She went to the kennel to pick out a puppy that she felt had the right demeanor and characteristics. She could not have picked a better dog! Hazel and I have been a team in our school since October, 2008 when Hazel was just 3 months old. Gayle’s legacy will be in all the children and adults that Hazel has reached through Gayle’s belief that dogs benefit all who are in schools!

  26. Wend Boomhower says:

    I have worked with Gayle and Sandy over many years putting together a beautiful book that truly personifies Gayle. It has been an honor to know Gayle as She has blessed my life with her beautiful spirit and kind understanding. The news of Gayle’s passing left me feeling deeply sad but happy too knowing that she is in a better place – free from pain.
    Miss you Gayle. xxxx

  27. Marsha Thomas says:

    I met Gayle in 2005 when I was attending training classes for therapy dog certification for Paws & Think. Gayle was our instructor and such an amazing woman. I learned so much from her and she was an inspiration to everyone. After we were certified, Gayle asked where I would like to volunteer. I told her I wanted to go to the Veterans Hospital, but they didn’t have a program in place. My job involved a financial system that the soldiers used in Iraq and Afghanistan. I spoke to Soldiers and Marines everyday and wanted to give something back to them for serving our country. Within months, Gayle had granted my wish and the therapy dog program was approved with the Veterans Hospital. My husband, our dog Cheyenne, and I love visiting the veterans and it is all because of Gayle’s effort and her belief in us. We will miss her kind heart and dedication.
    May her family find comfort in God’s grace.
    Marsha, John, and Cheyenne

  28. Amy Canute says:

    My greatest sympathy to her family. Gayle was simply an amazing person. She had passion and compassion. In her busy world she made people feel unique and special. What fruit her life brought!

  29. CK Graham says:

    Gayle was indeed and amazing woman and has left big shoes to fill. I feel honored having known her. Hugs and prayers to her family, friends, and all at Paws n Think as you adjust to her absence.
    CK Graham, Delta Society Licensed Instructor
    Indy Pet Partners, an Affiliate of Delta Society
    American Red Cross Pet First Aid Instructor

  30. Sam Hopp says:

    I was granted the unique privilege of knowing Gayle and working briefly with her in the early years of Paws and Think on her Board of Directors. The world has lost an ambassador for good and a capacity for care that I have never seen surpassed. A very, very sad day.

  31. Debra A. Clements says:

    I was lucky enough to work for Paws and Think a few years back as the Volunteer Coordinator. It was a great experience and I learned so much from Gayle. On a personal note, my relationship with my dog Hershel was greatly impacted from knowing her.

    Indy is a much better place because of Gayle and her work and I am sorry that we have to say goodbye.

  32. Amy Van Ostrand says:

    Gayle was an extraordinary woman. I looked up to her, treasured her friendship, and will miss her. I feel very lucky to have known her.

  33. Renee Eusey says:

    What a loss! Gayle always
    Lived simply.
    Loved generously – human and animal alike.
    Cared deeply
    Spoke kindly.

    She shared her passion and vision with all who would listen. It will take many to do the work that she did but I know the “Paws and Think family” will continue to impact many.
    Thank you for teaching me, believing in me and sharing the purpose and pleasure of Paws and Think. Your brightness will be greatly missed. Renee and Greg

  34. Deb Case says:

    I met Gayle when I was working at Methodist Hospital as the Director of Clinical Operations for the Maternity Center. We had just been thrown together in the consolidation of the IU/Riley/Methodist campus’s. Neither of us was sure what this meant for our positions, or institutions. I could not have asked for a better partner! What a breath of fresh air. We became fast friends and realized that we were stronger together than apart. Gayle was an awesome nurse and person. In many times of political difficulties, we always had one another. Gayle and I kept in contact over the years even after both of us left Clarian. I am a Lab lover. I currently have 2 and love them dearly. There are many times when our best friend in the world is the bundle of fur with the energetic tail. We kept close during our common loves for children, and dogs. Gayle was tireless in her efforts to make the world a better place. She was kind, compassionate, devoted and always smiling to make someone else feel better. The world will not be the same without her. My sympathies to her 2 and 4 legged families. God must have needed his special angel for a different assignment. Keep her till we meet again….love always….deb Case

  35. Lorinda Moffett says:

    I am saddened to hear about Gayle’s passing. I met her 5 years ago. SHe helped us get a service dog for our son Connor who has cerebral palsy. My family and I feel blessed to have known this wonderful woman. Prayers go out to her family and friends.

  36. Mike Pieczko says:

    Although physically saddened about Gayle’s passing, my spirit rejoices knowing she is now with Jesus. I appreciated her so much teaching me how to use my Goldendoodle “Amazing Gracie” as a gift from God to minister to others. Gayle came at a time that I was unsure as a Christian getting into therapy dog work, and she showed me how I can still be a witness for Christ and do the work. She encouraged me when I was unsure of myself and my dog, but she could see the potential of me and my dog and encouraged me and taught me a lot, as well as opened doors for me that no one else has even come close to doing for me.

    In therapy dog work it is very common for individuals to give glory to the creation (the dog) than the creator – Gayle was different in this regard. I have learned that as a created thing, the dog knows who it’s creator is and is instantly obedient to His bidding to minister to someone regardless of what they look like; we, on the other hand, allow our own will to get in the way of His bidding, and many times in that regard the dog is quicker to respond to the Master’s direction than we as humans are. However we must see that Jesus is the one who is doing the bidding and directing, and the dog’s instant obedience compared to our resistance is what makes the dog such a good therapy mechanism. Gayle listened and obeyed the Master’s bidding very well, may we all strive to be as obedient, unto the end. Praise God and God Bless the family.

  37. Amber Striegel says:

    Gayle was such a strong, inspiring woman. She saw the good in everyone – people and dogs. It was so wonderful to serve with her and learn from her through my work with Paws and Think. I will miss her dearly. My thoughts and condolences are with her family.

  38. Jo Wildin says:

    I still think of Gayle often and remember her passion for Paws and Think. I really enjoyed working with her on several occassions for the at-risk youth and dog program. Testing the dogs before the start of each program was always a treat, especially watching Gayle try to get a young dog’s attention with her squeeky toys and the sounds she made. She was a very gentle, giving, loving, passionate woman who affected many lives. Guess God just thought he needed someone like Gayle in heaven to take care of all the dogs and children up there and I’m sure Gayle jumped at the opportunity as she always did. Peace be with you Gayle and may peace be with her family, friends, and those who had the opportunity to meet such a spirtual person.

  39. Jenny says:

    I met Gail in 2007 when I was looking for a way to get involved in my city through volunteer work. I love helping people and I LOVE dogs, so this was a natural fit. I helped with the first Dog Olympics that year and Gayle was such a sweet lady to get to know. The next year I got married and instead of favors, we donated to Paws & Think. I wasn’t able to continue my volunteer work, but I always thought so highly of Gayle and the work she did. What an incredible woman!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

fifteen + one =

About Us

Become a Volunteer
Make a Donation
Make a donation to Paws & Think