Emily Sprong, Executive Director
Emily got an early start in animal welfare: her first volunteer and employment experiences were with vets, kennels, and feral cat organizations. After studying wildlife biology in graduate school and working for wildlife-focused non-profits for many years, the opportunity to apply for the ED position at SAFe crossed her path at just the right time: “It feels like I’ve come full circle and I’m very happy to have returned to my roots.” Emily appreciates the respect and compassion the SAFe Rescue community demonstrates, and her favorite moments are when people and kitties find the perfect match: “I love when someone comes into the rescue and our adoption counselors find them just the right fit. Their ability to listen and connect with both people and cats and to help adopters through transition challenges, makes me very proud of the work we do. (I’m also a sucker for torties).” Not surprisingly, Emily’s fur-family includes a tortie named Tiger Lily, as well as a dog named Zarby. When she’s not at the rescue, you can find Emily spending time with her husband and two daughters, hiking, attending the theater, and driving back and forth between the girls’ practice and rehearsals, of course!
Nichole Abbey, Event and Donor Care Coordinator
As the rescue’s go-to staff member for all things event-related, Nichole unites her love of animals with her passion for creating great experiences for guests. “I’m excited to create and execute events to educate and inform the community of the great work we’re doing. Plus, I hope to bring in more donors and volunteers to help continue saving as many kitties as we can!” When she’s not busy event planning, Nichole enjoys reading, walking around the city to discover new places, and playing video games with her cat Blanche snuggled next to her.
Maggie Bowen, Retail and Customer Service Lead
Maggie has a special place in her heart for kitties who need extra help: Bear, a special needs cat she fostered for SAFe years ago, quickly became a “Foster Triumph” and joined her family. “We adopted a special needs kitty from SAFe and ever since I’ve wanted to show people how amazing and wonderful they can be.” Maggie—who has a passion for animals and volunteering—has stayed active with the rescue and in 2018 she joined the staff to manage the retail department. When she’s not here helping homeless cats, you can find Maggie spending time with her cats at home or exploring new recipes in the kitchen.
Kaylee Gregory, Cat Care Lead / Adoption Counselor
For someone who loves cats as much as Kaylee, a shelter specializing in kitties is the purr-fect place! Kaylee appreciates being part of a team of staff and volunteers who work together with a common goal to help animals. Kaylee’s life goal is to become a veterinarian, and cats who are going through tough times have a special place in her heart: “I empathize their struggle, whether they’re sick, scared or sad … A lot of people in the world give up on animals that aren’t the way they expect them to be, so when these kinds of cats get adopted, that’s truly the most rewarding feeling.” At home, Kaylee’s pride of kitties includes Lupin, who acts as surrogate dad to any kitten he meets, and Under the Bed Sideways Ed, a star special needs cat who developed a fan following during his time at SAFe Rescue. Kaylee enjoys a range of hobbies, both indoor and outdoor: she loves creating hand-made gifts, gardening, gaming, longboarding, walking her cat Locke, and watching cartoons!
Daniela Jones, Development and Communications Assistant / Veterinary Assistant
Daniela stays very busy—she holds two jobs while also enrolled in school—and all of her endeavors involve helping animals! When she’s not helping spread the word about the SAFe Rescue kitties, Daniela works as a veterinary assistant for the kitties and is studying to become a Licensed Veterinary Technician. She finds spending time with the rescue community especially refreshing: “I love spending time with people who are equally as cat-obsessed as me”! Daniela has one kitty named Jedi, who is her best friend.
Shelley Lawson, Development and Communications Director
Shelley, who works to build community awareness and support for SAFe Rescue’s programs, treasures the opportunity to connect with cats and the people who love them: “Even on the hardest, busiest days, I know I have a chance to make a difference for animals, and that makes it all worthwhile.” Shelley and her husband share their house with a crew of senior cats (including former SAFe kitty Jacob), a hyperactive dog, and a rotating cast of foster cats… Meanwhile, a flock of chickens and a school of pond fish call their yard home. When she’s not busy advocating for the kitties, Shelley’s passion is international volunteering. She has helped build homes for families in need on three different continents so far and is hoping to take her work boots to a fourth continent soon.
Omi McGrew, Cat Care Lead
For Omi, helping kitties is a family project! She got her start volunteering alongside her son, became a dedicated cat care volunteer, and then joined the staff as a Cat Care Lead. Omi has three kitties at home: Meat Pie, Kraken, and Crow. Crow—who was displaced by wildfires in California and spent time here recovering from a skin infection—stole Omi’s heart while she was volunteering in the rescue’s Isolation Room. When she’s not busy with the kitties, you can find Omi hiking and attending concerts.
Amy Mills, Operations Manager
Amy’s SAFe Rescue roots run deep: she originally adopted in 1999, began to foster in 2009, became more involved over the years, then started as a full time in employee in 2015. Amy, who manages the rescue’s operations, finds it especially rewarding to help people learn about cats and to help cats find the purrfect home. She has a soft spot for big, scruffy, tom cats who blossom into fantastic pets, and her group of kitties at home includes Trinket, a SAFe Rescue foster triumph.
Jordyn Nolz, Cat Care Lead: Isolation Room
Jordyn spends her time at the rescue caring for the cats and kittens in the Isolation Room. These felines are receiving treatment for a skin infection called ringworm. Jordyn gives the “Kitty Cadets” here in the Iso room (lovingly dubbed “Ringworm Academy”) the very best care. It’s always a good day when one of the kitties “graduates” and gets the green light for adoption. Jordyn’s family includes, Jet, a SAFe Rescue alumnus.
Sarah Theriault, Adoption Center Manager
When Sarah was only 7 years old, she read a book called Koko’s Kitten—and the rest is history! Her love of animals and her drive to help them has stayed with her throughout her life. Sarah finds Adoption Counseling especially rewarding on two different levels: first of all, there’s “the instant satisfaction of meeting people with big hearts who are opening their homes to adoption.” On a broader level, there’s also “the long-term satisfaction of being a part of a team that is actively working on decreasing the homeless cat population and improving feline welfare.” When she’s not busy helping adopters find the perfect kitty, Sarah enjoys adventures with her dog Clay, watching movies, and trying new recipes. (She’s especially talented at baking sweet treats!)