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!
Emma Cole, Cat Care Lead / Adoption Counselor
Emma works to help both cats and people at SAFe Rescue: in her role as Cat Care Lead, she makes sure all the kitties’ daily needs are met. Then, as Adoption Counselor, Emma helps families find the purr-fect match for their household. Emma has two rescue kitties of her own—she met Julian and Misfit at work, and they convinced her to give them a fur-ever home!
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
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 at a veterinary clinic 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.
Lucy Kellett, Retail / Customer Service Lead
Lucy’s favorite part of the day is watching adopters go home with their new fur babies! Lucy helps visitors feel welcome, answers lots of questions, and helps adopters find the supplies they need for their new kitties. She brings a love of kitties to her work and has always felt most at home in the field of animal welfare. When she’s not at the rescue, Lucy spends time with her husband and beautiful baby girl and their fur family, which includes dogs, cats, and a fish.
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.
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.
Maria Soriano, LVT, Veterinary Care Manager
For Maria, rescue work comes from the heart: “It’s about helping those less fortunate have better outcomes, and that is the best kind of reward.” Maria manages the rescue’s medical program, making sure the kitties receive the care they need to get healthy and find homes. As much as she loves cats, Maria has a soft spot for dogs, too. Her family includes Raven (a lab mix rescued post-Katrina in Louisiana), Ziggy (a small dog who was found on a highway in California), and two formerly feral kitties Maria socialized and introduced to the comforts of indoor life. When she’s not working, Maria loves to be with her family, whether they’re hiking and travelling or just spending a cozy day with movies and a good book.
Sarah Theriault, Adoption Center / Customer Care Lead
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!)