Rescue Staff

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!

Olivia Cass, Intake Specialist

Olivia has worked with animals her whole life: she started volunteering at the local animal shelter at the age of 11. Having cared for many over the years, Olivia appreciates each species: “I really enjoy learning about different types of animals and how they uniquely experience the world.” When it comes to cats, Olivia’s favorites are the ones with a loud purr! Currently, two cats, Ripley and Link, fill Olivia’s home with purrs. Olivia also cares for pet reptiles including snakes and lizards. When Olivia isn’t helping cats at SAFe or spending time with her animals at home, you can find her with her girlfriend exploring the Pacific Northwest. (Sometimes Ripley, who loves a car ride, joins them too!)

Hannah Cropf, Development and Communications Associate

You know how people talk about being “raised by wolves?” Well, Hannah was raised by cats (rest in purrs, Louise and Tango). Her early job experience as a vet tech and dog groomer, combined with her more recent role as art gallery admissions lead, has given her plenty of insight into the world of pets and people alike! She shares her home with her partner and their little moo cow boy Jazz, who would like to be fed right now, this instant, thank you very much. When not thinking about or actively surrounding herself with cats, Hannah sometimes makes time to read, paint, go thrifting, and oops, she’s thinking about cats again.

Kelsi Eldredge, Development and Communications Manager

Kelsi has loved animals for as long as she can remember, but it was a recent tragedy that awakened her calling to animal welfare as a career: “When the Camp Fire wiped out my hometown of Paradise, California in 2018, I saw so many humans and their fuzzy family members displaced by the fire. I did everything I could do to help them, from fundraising and passing out gift cards, to crocheting dog sweaters and blankets, to sending animal supplies. Once I started, I had finally found my calling and knew I needed to continue.” Kelsi carries her passion to protect and advocate for animals into every aspect of her role, and she finds that watching shy and scared kitties learn to trust is especially rewarding. Due to allergies in her household, Kelsi can’t have kitties at home, so she cherishes the time she spends with them at work. Her best furry friends are two very cat-like rescue dogs, a senior Pomeranian named Bruno and a tiny Chihuahua named Qira. When she’s not busy at the rescue, Kelsi enjoys hanging out with her pups, crocheting, drawing, and learning new crafts.

Michelle Flowers, Foster Specialist

As a self described “Animal Behavior nerd,” Michelle has always been passionate about animals. Initially envisioning herself working in a zoo setting, she quickly changed directions after volunteering in a shelter with domestic animals and falling in love. Joining the SAFe Rescue team makes Michelle feel like she’s “leveled up in the game of life,” and she’s really happy to be a part of the team. She loves being surprised by animals and their ability to learn, communicate, adapt, and shift their behavior when given the opportunity. Michelle loves getting to know each cat’s unique personality, and has a particular soft spot for juveniles and adult cats – especially those who are more anxious/shy/shutdown – “I love seeing them come out of their shells, with their personalities shining through. ”Michelle shares her home with two sweet, older kitties, both rescued – Miss Kitty, a 17-year-old Siamese who is a big lap kitty, and a small, black 12-year-old girl named Kitten Underfoot, who was rescued from a feral litter. “She’s my puppy cat and follows me wherever I go. I’ve trained her to do tricks!” In her free time, Michelle writes, sings, and performs in a band. She also plays ukulele, harmonica, melodica, whistles, and plays the occasional drums.

Jessica Green, DVM, Veterinarian

For Jessica, working in animal rescue is a return to her roots: her dedication to helping animals is the reason she first entered the medical field. Jessica especially enjoys getting to know different felines and their personalities: “I enjoy meeting each new kitty, learning about them, and trying to make them feel their best!” When she’s not tending to the needs of animals, you can find Jessica cooking, running, hiking, and spending time with her two children. Jessica’s furry family members include three kitties (Diesel, Isabella, and Isis) and an honorary feline: chihuahua Betsy, who is convinced she’s a kitty, too.

Corrie McDonald, Cat Care Lead

Corrie is a true feline enthusiast, sharing her home with four cats of her own: Boris, Sally, Ash, and Bruce. Corrie’s lifelong love for cats, nurtured by her upbringing surrounded by animals and a chance encounter with a stray cat during her childhood, fuelled her passion for cat care. After the passing of her old man cat, the feeling of wanting to get involved and help kitties in need started tugging at her—leading to her joining the SAFe Rescue Team. In her free time,Corrie can often be found diving into deep rabbit holes of knowledge, exploring new topics, or getting lost in the woods.

Mia Hua, Cat Care Lead

Mia is a lifelong animal lover! She came to embrace this love after her tech career, inspired to join our community by a devoted SAFe Rescue volunteer. Mia volunteered with the Cat Care team for two years where she found purpose and structure during a transitional period in her life. Finding purpose and community with SAFe Rescue cats and cat lovers alike, Mia enjoys getting to know kitties’ unique personalities and quirks. “Most of the cats have been through so much and might not have consistently experienced love, care, and compassion from humans,” Mia says. “We are able to give that to them at the shelter as well as an opportunity to find a happy and safe home.” She loves watching SAFe Rescue cats get more comfortable and trusting in our care! 

When she isn’t caring for cats at the rescue, Mia comes home to a cat of her own, Pax, and her husband Loc in Bothell. Pax is a 7-year-old sweetheart who is a rescue herself from partner animal welfare organization Pasado. In addition to cuddling with Pax, Mia enjoys reading, playing video games, and bouldering!

Amy Mills, Foster and Intake 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.

Kim Morgan (LVT), Veterinary Care Manager

Kim’s love of animals shines through in everything she does! From her career, to her hobbies, to her home, Kim’s devotion to protecting defenseless creatures is easy to see. At SAFe Rescue, Kim stays busy tending to the medical needs of the 1,700+ cats who find safety during the course of each year. Even so, Kim still finds time to run the non-profit Isla Holbox Spay Neuter Project, which provides free spay/neuter clinics in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. When she’s not at work or traveling to help animals abroad, you can find Kim at home with her rescue crew, which includes five horses and a pride of rescued felines. Although outnumbered, basset hound Rupert and “bagel” George (a basset/beagle mix) fit right into the beautiful family!   

Lindsey Neblina, Volunteer & Shelter Manager

Lindsey’s connection to the rescue began even before she took on the role of Volunteer Manager: her feline friend Telecaster is a SAFe alum! Her drive to help animals has deep roots: “When my family adopted our first pet when I was a child, I saw all of these dogs and cats without a family, without a home. I knew even as a child that it is my calling to help them in any way I can. I love working with animals because they are our companions, our friends and family members and they deserve our compassion and help. I think there is a lot we, as a society, can do to improve the lives of our own animals and for animals in general.” When Lindsey is not hard at work on behalf of the rescue kitties and humans, you can find her gardening and spending time with her family. Lindsey also shares her home with a golden retriever named Gibson, who—like Telecaster—is named after a guitar.

Jordyn Nolz, Surgical Assistant

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.

Erika Olson, Veterinary Assistant

Tending to the medical needs of kitties is both a career and a passion for Erika! When she’s not here at SAFe Rescue helping homeless kitties, you might find her working at Pilchuck Veterinary Hospital or studying for her Veterinary Technician license. Erika takes her compassion for cats home with her: “I really like the special needs kitties! I have two blind cats of my own, and it is amazing what they are able to do.” While Erika’s drive to help animals keeps her busy, she also treasures the quiet moments with her feline friends Manny, Brutus, and Ducky—who are all foster triumphs—and Jazzy.

Gabriel Ponce, Adoptions Counselor

The role of Adoption Counselor is a natural fit for Gabriel! As he explains, “What I love most about working with animals is the feeling you get when you know a kitty has found a loving and perfect forever home.” The kindness and compassion required for work in animal welfare first attracted Gabriel to SAFe Rescue, and animals have always tugged at his heartstrings. Gabriel shares his home with a ditzy senior pit-bull mix named Callie, a sweet Doberman named Nova, and a fluffy senior cat named Tiger. When he’s not working to unite adopters with new furry family members, Gabriel enjoys hiking, playing music, watching movies, playing video games, and performing in musicals and plays at local theaters. 

Sara Price, Operations Director

Sara’s drive and dedication show in everything she does: she’ll be the first to tell you she likes to keep busy! After an early career in business development and management consulting, Sara transitioned to the non-profit sector so that she could use her skills to do good in the world. Sara explains, “I joined an animal welfare organization as a cat care volunteer, and I was hooked! Not only did I love caring for the animals, but I could see that the industry was changing and seeking new ways to improve the lives of animals… I knew animal welfare was where I wanted to be.” In addition to making animal welfare her career, Sara has continued volunteering. She now serves on the Board of Directors of The Goochy Project, which provides crisis-led boarding for the pets of clients referred by human case workers in the Seattle area. At home, Sara and her partner Mike share their home with two feline companions: Rorschach, a friendly black and white cat, and Fry, a scaredy cat with an adventurer’s heart. When she’s not working with nonprofits (or taking Fry for a walk in the garden on his leash), Sara enjoys hiking in the PNW, designing and crafting beaded jewelry, and reading. The COVID-19 pandemic has also rekindled her passion for jigsaw puzzles!

Dylan Shaffer, Community Support Manager

Dylan tells us that he finds a lot of value in the work he does because he is a purpose-driven person. “The role that I was hired for is the perfect combination of helping people, which I’ve spent the majority of my career doing, and helping animals stay in loving homes, which is something that as a pet owner I’m passionate about.” Dylan believes strongly in the intersection of humans and animals enriching and benefiting one another’s lives. What he enjoys the most about working with animals is getting to know their unique personalities and the ways they showcase their love and appreciation for you. Getting to look at cute cats all day is a nice bonus as well. Dylan and his partner live with two lovely cats: Nora, who is loveable but aloof and Olive who is energetic and just the teensiest bit spoiled. They also have two budgies, Ciri and Egil. As someone who is new to the Seattle area, Dylan spends a lot of his free time exploring the city and trying to find a new favorite place to eat and also enjoys hiking. When he is not feeling up for an adventure he enjoys reading, playing board games, and getting lost in YouTube rabbit holes.

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!)

Scout Wesselman, Donations Coordinator

Scout has felt connected to cats her whole life. In college, she adopted her first cat, a handsome tuxedo named Toby. Later on, a black cat named Salem joined the family. Though she grew up with cats, adopting Toby and Salem (a.k.a. “the boys”) has been a light in her life. Toby is considered to be an “old man in a cat’s body”, and Salem loves to bounce off the walls and interfere with Toby’s naps. Scout is excited to be working with animals because she wants people to find their purrfect cat companion and believes in the positive impact the relationship can have on mental health. She has always wanted to work for a meaningful cause and so being a part of the SAFe team is exciting and motivating! Aside from spending time with her boys, she loves to hike in the PNW, get artsy with some crafts, or go antiquing to add to her collection of eclectic home decor.

Cody Westfall, Adoption Counselor / Retention Specialist

Cody’s connection with SAFe Rescue started years ago when she saw a cat named “Zippy” posted for adoption. Although this black cat was senior and missing some fur, Cody knew she was the one! Adopting Zippy turned out to be only the first step of Cody’s journey with SAFe Rescue. Cody explains: “After my newly adopted cat was all settled in, I started volunteering… And then later I started fostering… And then began my role as an adoption counselor!” As part of the Adoptions Team, Cody particularly enjoys matching cats with families and supporting humans and felines through the transition. Shy cats will always have a special place in Cody’s heart, and black cats too! Cody currently shares her home with foster triumphs Gandalf and Gabriela and Mr. Fred, who are all black or tuxedo kitties. When she’s not hard at work for the Rescue or spending time with her family, Cody explores her creative side. Her favorite hobbies are jewelry-making, encaustic and mixed media painting, and all kinds of crafts.

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