Meet Sheri

To learn more about Sheri and why she's running, watch her video below, click the questions, or scroll down to read.

  • Photo of Sheri

    Who's she?

    Sheri Soltes founded and has run a successful business for 30 years. Prior to that she was a civil trial attorney for 8 years and a Briefing Attorney for the First Court of Appeals, Harris County, Texas.

  • Photo for Service Dogs, Inc.

    Sheri founded and runs a business. What kind of business?

    Sheri founded Service Dogs, Inc. in 1988. It is a nonprofit that trains service dogs to assist people living with deafness or mobility related disabilities free of charge. All of the dogs come from animal shelters and rescue groups. (See www.servicedogs.org)

  • Photo for schooling

    How’d she do in school?

    Sheri earned a B.A. with high honors in 1981 from the University of Texas Plan II Honors program. She earned a J.D. with honors in 1984 from the University of Texas School of Law.

  • Photo for Austin

    How long has she been in Austin?

    Sheri moved back to Austin from Houston where she’d been practicing law in 1993. She has lived in the same house in District 47 for 24 years.

  • Photo for Issues

    What does she stand for?

    Inclusiveness, integrity, intelligence, fearlessness and perseverance.

  • Impress
    me.

Sheri gets things done.

Snapshot of article about Sheri's impact on people's lives with her nonprofit, in Real Simple magazine Photo of one of Sheri's clients, in Real Simple magazine
Read about Sheri's impact in Real Simple national magazine.

Through Sheri’s leadership, Service Dogs, Inc. partners with the Texas Juvenile Justice Department in conducting PAWS, the nation’s first and only juvenile prison service dog training program. PAWS teaches youth empathy, responsibility and vocational skill.

Sheri also has been instrumental in placing courthouse dogs with Victims Assistance departments of the Montgomery County District Attorneys’ offices. These dogs comfort children when they are interviewed about abuse and even accompany them to court when they testify. Sheri will be speaking about the courthouse dogs program to the Texas District and County Attorneys Association conference in September 2017.

Sheri has mentored assistance dog programs around the world, including in Australia, Japan, Spain and Chile. She has been a featured speaker at many conferences and institutions in the United States, Spain and Chile.

Her articles on the legal rights of Assistance Dog users have been published by Assistance Dogs International, the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners and Leader Dogs for the Blind.

Snapshot of article about Sheri in Texas Law
Learn about Sheri's business in this Texas Law article.

Sheri helped draft the 1995 and proposed 2017 revisions for Texas' Assistance Dog access statute. She is currently working on a mobile website with a geolocator that will tell both assistance dog users and the business community the relevant service dog access laws, protocols if there is an issue, what may be asked of the person with the dog and that includes a reporting function to compile data. It will have both a U.S. and international scope.

Sheri's other accomplishments include:

  • Assistance Dogs International:
    • ADI NA, Board of Directors, 2014 - present
    • ADI, Vice President and Conference Chair, 1999 - 2003
  • Austin Police Department – Helped create its Search and Rescue Dog program including donating APD’s first Search and Rescue dog and providing initial training. K9 “Austin” was named “Search and Rescue Dog of the Year” by the American Kennel Club.
  • Snapshot of article about Sheri's nonprofit in Hill Country View magazine
    Read about the mission of Sheri's nonprofit in Hill Country View magazine.
  • Chairman’s Commendation from Austin Mayor’s Committee for People with Disabilities, 2006)
  • Service to Mankind award from Austin Sertoma Club, 2011
  • Member, City of Austin’s Capital Transportation Authority’s Appellate Committee for Paratransit Eligibility, 2012
  • Airport Service Dog Relief Area Consultant – Assisted Texas airports in complying with federal regulation, McAllen and Abiliene municipal airports, 2016
  • Speaker, Texas District and County Attorneys Association Conference, 2017 (scheduled)
  • TV – In addition to countless interviews and appearances, Sheri created:
    • Café Woof, FOX-TV, Austin (monthly, 2007 – 2008)
    • My Pet, KXAN-TV (NBC), Austin (weekly, 2012 - 2015)
  • In 1999, Sheri created the Mighty Texas Dog Walk as a special event fundraiser for Service Dogs, Inc. It has won six Guinness World Records including “Largest Dog Walk” and “Biggest Fur Ball”.
  • Sheri created the Awesome Accessibility Awards, which recognizes businesses that provide outstanding services to people using assistance dogs, in 2016
  • Printed media:
    • Real Simple, national magazine, 8 page feature, Dec. 2015
    • Hill Country View, local magazine, cover and feature, Feb. 2017