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Staff & Leadership

Our Staff

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Karen Aseltine

Sanctuary Feline Behavior Manager & Care

Karen Aseltine

Novice Master Chef
Specializing In Cuisine Featuring The Finest Cat Hairs

In addition to providing daily loving care for the cats at the Sanctuary, Karen also helps promote our cats for adoption and organizes the medical records and animal care data for all the Sanctuary cats. Karen is a Certified Cat Behavior Counselor and serves as our resident “kitty psychologist”.

 

Best Things in Life: bicycles, scented candles, gummy bears, warm summer nights
Could Easily Live Without: snow days, paper cuts, family members who complain about my cooking.

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Jen Dalo

Canine Cottage and Behavior Manager

Jen Dalo

Organizer of Canine Treats & Toys

Jen manages all the animal care and activity at Henree House and specializes in making sure all the behavioral needs are met for the dogs at the Sanctuary. She works with a team of specially trained volunteers to provide the treatment plans and behavioral therapies to help our dogs become well behaved canine citizens so they can find their forever homes.

 

Best Things in Life: exploring the great outdoors with my wife and dogs, finding great used book stores, WoW

Could Easily Live Without: trollers

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Paul Johnson

Office Manager

Paul Johnson

Carrier Of Heavy Things

Paul is our “Point man, Go-to-guy, Mr. Get’er Done”. He organizes the office operations and makes sure that all business runs smoothly at Our Companions.

 

Best Things in Life: Classical music, craft beer, cartoons

Could Easily Live Without: Sports

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Krystal Makowski

Canine Cottage and Medical Manager

Krystal Makowski

Famous Decorator for the Furry and Captain of Canine Cuteness

Krystal manages all the exciting canine activity in Chris’s Cottage and specializes in overseeing the medical care and needs of all the dogs at the Sanctuary. From fixing minor boo-boo’s to coordinating with veterinarians to provide extensive treatment and therapies, Krystal is our make-you-feel better staffer at the Sanctuary.

 

Best Things in Life: All things sparkly, Photography, Mac and Cheese, shopping

Could Easily Live Without: Hitting my funny bone -the irony is too much

Rebecca Morton

Rebecca Morton

Sanctuary Feline Caregiver

Rebecca Morton

Time Traveling Feline Housekeeper

Rebecca provides the daily care and loving attention to our feline guests at the Sanctuary. Offering food, treats, gentle brushing and interactive play are among her specialties, and tasks Rebecca considers a privilege to provide to our deserving cats.

 

Best Things in Life: Disney, reading fantasy novels, dragons, pirates, my fur (and scaly) babies 

Could Easily Live Without: Spiders and paying bills

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Henry Petrofsky

Director of Finance

Henry Petrofsky

Internal Controls Freak

Henry is our official “Bean Counter” who meticulously oversees the daily, monthly, yearly and long-term financial operations of Our Companions.

 

Best Things in Life: My wife, cats, my iPad and a good cigar

Could Easily Live Without: Network news

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Jennifer Strong

Sanctuary Canine Caregiver

Jennifer Strong

Dog's Best Friend

Jennifer works at the Sanctuary’s Canine Cottages providing loving care, exercise, nutritious food and downright spoiling every single dog at the sanctuary. She is also our unofficial Canine Defense Legal Counsel advocating and defending all dog behavior (naughty and nice). Torn up doggie bed? Your fault not Buster's- case closed!

 

Best Things in Life: Disney World, Halloween, The Drive-in Movies (yes they still exist!), Dogs (of course), Spending time with my husband and our fur kids, Christmas movies!

Could Easily Live Without: Snakes and Spiders

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Edie Boneville

Helpline Program Assistant

Edie

Connoisseur of Organization,  Time Management Expert and Lover of Furry Things

Edie is an important cog in the Animal Helpline machine. She works with our dedicated team of Helpline volunteers to respond to calls for assistance and manage cases while always flashing a mega-watt smile that brightens everyone's day.

 

Best things in life:   Family, big smiles, nature and all its miracles, books, a good belly laugh and the unconditional love of animals

Could easily live without:  TV, bills, traffic jams and lima beans

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Caroline Gaetano

Director of Community Programs

Caroline Gaetano

Happiest In The WoodsWoman

When not in the woods, Caroline manages our Animal Helpline, rehoming cases, “Sterile Feral” TNR program, veterinary assistance programs and other community programs.

 

Best Things in Life: Fresh mountain air, hiking with dogs, my vacuum cleaner and chocolate

Could Easily Live Without: Glitter, bananas and snakes

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Marie Joyner

Canine Operations Director

Marie Joyner

Was A Dog In A Past Life

Marie oversees “all things canine” at both the Ashford Sanctuary and our Valerie Friedman Program Center.

 

Best Things in Life: In the woods with the dogs, The Maine Cabin, Hound Hugs

Could Easily Live Without: Social Media

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Mary Moffitt

Sanctuary Canine Caregiver

Mary Moffitt

Dog Snuggler

In addition to feeding, cleaning, walking, playing and delivering the dog specific treatment plans for each dog at the Sanctuary, Mary’s specialty is hugs, kisses, snuggling and all things that make the dogs feel warm and gooey inside like fresh baked cookies!

 

Best Things in Life: Unconditional love!
Could Easily Live Without: Anxiety, stress and tons of shepherd hair

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Deanna Nickels

Canine College Program Manager

Deanna Nickels

Coach of Canines, Clients, & Those Who Train Them

Deanna runs Our Companion’s Canine College program which provides exceptional dog training classes offered by Our Companions volunteer dog trainers. Deanna also oversees our Adopt-a-Shelter Program which provides dog behavior and training services to local Animal Control facilities in our fine state.

 

Best Things in Life: hot fudge sundaes, teaching dogs new tricks, sunshine, gardening, family and friends

Could Easily Live Without: snakes, cold weather and bad coffee 

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Jon Phillips

Sanctuary Director

Jon Phillips

Doer, Fixer, Maker, Helper

When it comes to our beautiful Sanctuary in Ashford, CT, Jon is the Top Dog, the Head Cat, the Big Cheese! Or, more simply put, he is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Sanctuary, and all the people who make this lovely refuge possible for the animals we serve.

 

Best Things in Life: Watching TV on the couch with my wife and assorted furballs, all things musical

Could Easily Live Without: Reality TV

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Ariana Walsh

Feline & Canine Sanctuary Caregiver

Ariana Walsh

Nature Enthusiast

Ariana’s experience working with various species of animals (domestic and wild) has given her a true appreciation for the grace and absolute authority of the feline as well as the exuberance, energy, and wit of the canine. She is an expert in switching up her dog and cat “hats” each day to make sure that all the animals at the Sanctuary receive the highest quality care they so deserve.

 

Best Things in Life: outdoor adventures, animals of every kind, family, friends, and celebrations

Could Easily Live Without: TV, shopping, poison ivy, clowns, and balloons

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Lucas Brozyna

Sanctuary Canine Caregiver

Lucas Brozyna

Canine/Feline Night Life Specialist

By day, Lucas provides daily care of the dogs at the Sanctuary. By night he becomes our evening concierge when most folks go home. He welcomes the “Tuck-In” shift of volunteers who spend the evenings at the Sanctuary and lends a helping hand to make sure that all goes well with the animals during the evening and until the morning shift arrives.

 

Best things in life: spending time outdoors, bike rides, and disc golf.

Could easily live without: bad drivers, cold weather, and poor grammar.

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Sara Geriak

Feline Sanctuary Caregiver

Sara Geriak

Professional Cat Concierge

Sara is especially well trained (by the cats, of course) to provide personalized loving care including special activities and meaningful routines for all cats at the Sanctuary.

 

Best Things in Life: My dog Sam, Autumn, books, music, strawberries

Could Easily Live Without: Spiders, and tuition expenses

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Susan B. Linker

Chief Executive Officer

Susan B. Linker

Rampant Typo Maker, Daydreamer, & The Next Food Network Star

Susan is responsible for the oversight of Our Companions Animal Rescue and meeting the organization’s financial and operational goals. Like all CEOs, Susan is the proud recipient of all the public adulation and complaints. Thankfully the awesome staff at OC makes her job very easy.

 

Best Things in Life: Soft cat fur, Summer, Home,

Could Easily Live Without: Country Music

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Stephanie Montemerlo

Director of Programs

Stephanie Montemerlo

Can Solve Anything With A Spreadsheet & A Cat In Her Lap

Stephanie is responsible for the oversight and development of all Our Companions' rescue, adoption and educational programs, yet still finds time to perfectly coordinate her purple and pink attire.

 

Best Things in Life: Home, pasta, good books, travelling

Could Easily Live Without: Snow and cold weather

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Lindsey Pellino

Sanctuary Feline Care and Volunteer Manager

Lindsey Pellino

Professional Cat Lady

Lindsey takes care of the cats at Sebastian House, and manages, trains, and oversees the volunteers who give all our feline guests much needed TLC.

 

Best Things in Life: bike rides, hot sauce, lipstick, reading on a hammock

Could Easily Live Without: mosquitos, cold weather, my own clumsiness

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Jocelyn Schmidt

Adoption Program and Social Media Manager

Jocelyn

Will always be found hanging out with the pets at the party

Jocelyn oversees the Adoption Program and Social Media activity at Our Companions.  Like a true superhero, by day she promotes our wonderful animals and spreads word of all the exciting happenings at Our Companions. By night you can find her busting a righteous downward dog and crow pose while teaching Yoga. 

Best things in life: kitty cuddles, Italian food, black coffee, the ocean

Can easily live without: bug bites

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Heather Wildman

Canine Cottage and Volunteer Manager

Heather Wildman

Canine Joy Coordinator

Heather is the manager of the Sanctuary cottage Chelsea House and is in charge of scheduling, training and managing the awesome volunteer who provide the daily care, enrichment and exercise for the dogs at the Sanctuary.

 

Best Things in Life: Mountain adventures, purple hair dye, Indian food, sunbathing with some furry friends, front row at a concert, and laughing until your stomach hurts.

Could Easily Live Without: Stubbing your toe and the feeling of having something stuck in your teeth.

Leadership

It is our pleasure to welcome our Board of Directors. While this diverse group of individuals offers a myriad of skills and expertise, they share a common bond: a deep commitment to the mission of Our Companions Domestic Animal Sanctuary. We look forward to many accomplishments through the dedication of our new leadership.

Officers

Maria das Neves - Board Chair
Risa Davidson, M.S. - Secretary
Leigh Ann Kissner, CPA - Treasurer

Directors

Pat Foley - West Hartford, CT
Mitchell H. Linker - Bloomfield, CT
Marie Joyner - Union, CT
Susan B. Linker - Bloomfield, CT
Maneesh Shanbhag, CFA - New York, NY
Kathy Sullivan - Bloomfield, CT
Thomas Weidman, FCAS, MAAA - West Hartford, CT
Ed Young - Southington, CT
Adam Zweifler, Esq. - West Hartford, CT
Valerie Friedman - Washington Depot, CT
Kim Zimmermann - Farmington, CT
Frank Gaetano, CPA (Licensed in MA, CT, NY, and NJ) - Grafton, MA
George Trumbull - West Simsbury

Advisory

Janet Bailey - Farmington, CT
Andrea Dobras - Glastonbury, CT
Jamila Hadj-Salem - Stafford Springs, CT
Linda Hatten - Farmington, CT
Lisa Holzwarth - Weston, CT
Gretchen LaBau - Bloomfield, CT
Anne Llewellyn - Enfield, CT
Kerri Mansberg - Ashford, CT
Lauren Mascola, D.V.M. - West Hartford, CT
Barbara Ruben - Middletown, CT
Damon Scott - Essex, CT
Chris Shivery - Avon, CT
Joleen Nevers - Storrs, CT
Jessica Beganski - West Hartford, CT
Diana Garfield, Esq. - Acton, MA