We’d look at a lot more lonely dogs and people if it weren’t for the amazing SOS volunteer staff that includes our Events Manager Kate Rigby, who, when not planning events plans weddings and other social soirees! And she’s perfect for any social event because even though she thinks she talks too much we think it’s the perfect amount of charm that leads to socializing. (That and one OK two glasses of wine.) We asked her for three dinner guests (living or alive) and of course she gave us four because otherwise her other half (the fourth (or first?)) would have to hear every intricate detail in full post-meal: Che Guervera, the Buddha himself, and Frank Sinatra.
Hey everyone meet Trish Mantle. She not only works with us as Public Relations Manager, but she’s a client, too, having adopted SOS alumCannon. And that’s super cool because we get a lot of media interest in the work we do because puppy! and who else to best explain what we do than someone who has adopted through SOS! When she isn’t tending to her own dog you can find her tending to her two groovy cats Hugo and Tula. (Though Tula might be actually be a dog because she plays fetch and happily laps water out of the toilet.)
Meet Laura Bye! This Burlington native is now a full out Torontonian with a tattoo sleeve and nocturnal lifestyle. She was surrendered here after realizing that she was so much more than her love for Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls, and more into street dogs and chasing girls. She came into her position as founder after realizing that being a foster was not all it was cracked up to be. She wanted the responsibility of finding and rescuing dogs in order to annoy her neighbours even more. Although she spends most of her time answering emails, we try to think of her as human social although she continuously talks too loud and too fast (at least that’s what we’ve seen in her SOS TV appearances). She is, as you would expect, dog social and also dabbles with cats when the right one fits the bill. So, an Egypt Empress.. I mean straggly Egyptian street cat named King Tut. She is certainly not kid social and is more of a feral dog looking for her first real experience with reality. When she crawls out of her cave she is easily approachable with her chronic cut-eye and choke collar. It’s really all just a cover as she is just a lost mutt like the rest of us. Even though she may be in the position of the “alpha” of the group, she really can't bark or bite. Open up your home and give her a chance, as supposedly she was never allowed dogs in her apartment to begin with.
Born and raised in the same town that brings you Ontario’s annual Shakespeare festival and a notorious popular music recording artist, Holly Santandrea is our resident Adoption Manager who manages meet and greets, home visits, and reference checks. She got involved with SOS after going through the process of adopting her own rescue pup and realizing all the moving parts behind the scenes of the ever so sweet and ever so loving Lucy. The best part about Lucy is she shares Holly’s love of the Toronto Blue Jays, and always perks up when Jose Bautista is at the plate.
Brought to you by the letter M (born in Mississauga, raised in Muskoka, spending time with her black schnoodle Milly), Allie Wilson is the SOS Adoption Co-ordinator who supports the Adoption Manager to help facilitate meets and greets between applicants and scruffs. And it all makes sense because not only does the job involves a lot of spreadsheets, staying super organized, keeping the team in the loop about the status of adoptions, and a lot of spreadsheets, Alexandra is busy at an accounting firm working with spreadsheets or designing and sewing wedding dresses. (The latter of which, hopefully, doesn’t include spreadsheets?)
Allison Wills found her forever home as Executive Director of Save Our Scruff in February 2015 with a goal to grow and expand the organization. In addition to day-to-day operations, Allison manages a basket of volunteers who contribute to Save Our Scruff’s success. When not working for the dogs, she can be found chilling with her dogs, Rookie and Rolland, or whipping up some vegan goodness in the kitchen. That's right, she loves all animals, not just dogs!
Like all of us at SOS, Sigourney Bailey has a crazy huge love of dogs that led her to joining SOS. Sigourney is our Adoption Administrator (and also the occasional transport and home visit because she’s that awesome). If you are interesting in meeting or adopting a Scruff, she's the one giving your application the A-OK. Growing up in Florida, she had her menagerie that included her first dog Tika; hamster Michael Jackson, Smokey, and Penny; mice Henry and Goober; fish Spike, Big Red, Valentine, Crawl the Warrior King, and of course rabbit Phoebe. (If you’re ever stuck on finding a good name for your pet don’t hesitate to ask Sigourney.)
In the digital world the contacts of Simone Dunham Gaspar are placed into two separate, yet equally important groups: those whose call and text she’ll return before you’ve put your phone back in your pocket; and those who get a response long after their phone has been upgraded. Fortunately for SOS we’re the former because as Reference Manager Simone is in charge of our reference team who are responsible for reaching out to all our potential fosters and adopters. (To be sure… it’s a lot of phone-tag.) When not saving scruffs Simone helps save felis silvestris catus, endothermic vertebrate, and reptiles at an animal hospital. Simone also keeps our fosters in the know regarding adoption status and ALSO is in charge of answering the emails to our general email inbox. This is one busy lady!!!
Just like the pups we bring in, Devon Gerby has seen the sights of the world, including Vancouver, Argentina, Indonesia, Singapore, and the Netherlands. Along those travels she’s had three rescue pets two dogs, Poncho (poodle mix) and Fido (lhasa apso mix), and one blind male cat, Potato. That experience is what makes her the dynamite Foster Manager who handles and tracks our incoming pups with their foster families she is. We asked her favourite quote and you’d almost think we’re making it up but we didn’t: The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog (M.K. Clinton, Showstoppers).
After adopting Snapple, a rescue from southern California, Lauren Barless took it upon herself to do everything she could do to help give dogs like him a second chance. We’re thrilled to have had her sniff out SOS to lend her keen design sense because you oughta know she’s the royal dame who helps design our website and brochures. (Not to scratch behind our own ears or anything but they are pretty awesome). Her favourite quote is the best one: Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time. So why not make full use of that wasting time with one of none of these beauties.
Independent like a Beagle and loyal like a Rottweiler is how we’d describe our resident Home Visit Manager, Danielle Balon, whose role is critical to our success; before any adopter is approved to take in an SOS pup they’re visited by a (wonderful) volunteer who swings by for a quick check of the digs and neighbourhood. Danielle gathers applicant availability and finds a volunteer based on location to complete the home vistit. When she’s not in her own neighbourhood of Burlington, ON, you’ll find MC Miss Congeniality in the gangster’s paradise of Six Mile (Lake) going toe-to-toe in a pitch perfect rap battle with Coolio.
If you thought you loved dogs and animals you ain’t seen nothing yet. Hailing from Orangeville and residing in Brampton, Robyn Cross is a key member of the SOS Vetting Team and a key member of animal rescue in general. She joined SOS because she was looking for different ways to help out animal rescue organizations. If you ask us this is pretty amazing because outside of SOS, she’s a Registered Veterinary Technician with not one but two animal clinics and volunteers for a second dog rescue! If they ever make another Dr. Doolittle movie let’s not even hold auditions; the role is hers!
If you want to volunteer for the transport team then you will then quickly get to know (and obviously love) Felicia Tortorelli, SOS’s quirky and amazing Intake/Transport/Donation Manager. What does that entail? We bring in dogs from all around the world to the GTA, and we’re certainly not going to have our scruff walk to our foster homes by themselves. Felicia’s our pointperson and we keep her busy. Maybe too busy? But that’s OK because Tucker, her Chocolate Lab/Poodle, can let his own self outside, unlock his own crate, and can turn the lights off when it’s time to crash.
We never have to tell Caralee Kennell anything twice because quite like a Golden Retriever and Poodle, she’s easy to train. And that’s an important because as Alumni Coordinator, Caralee is responsible for checking in with adopters post adoption to see how things are going. (We love our SOS community!!) Caralee considers herself a vegan-wannabe, and if you let her, will enlighten you with copious facts about all things animal welfare. When she’s not working with SOS by night or as a recruiter by day, you’ll likely find her lurking social media, particularly Instagram. And that’s a good thing because that’s how she found us!
If Taylor Turner ever says she’s not hungry, don’t listen, because she’ll steal from your plate when you’re not looking. Unless, of course, you’re her homegirl Belle, the one-eyed Morkie. As Volunteer Co-ordintaor, Taylor is responsible for housetraining new volunteers, completing home visit training, and cascading volunteers for events and initiatives. When she isn’t helping our plucky non-profit you can find her helping other plucky non-profits with marketing and communications; definitely not singing All Saints at the top of her lungs; or planning her next vacation in the Greek Islands.
Samantha Dick really cooks, you know: literally and figuratively! Literally because it’s one of her favourite things to do; figuratively because she’s an awesome Foster Events Co-ordinator who organizes and manages all foster dogs for SOS events that includes foster outreach, availability tracking, and co-ordinating dogsitting andtransport as necessary. Born and raised in Toronto (or, as she would pronounce, Toronno), Sam left the 6 for a bit to go to an unnamed university in Kingston, ON. Once the Limestone City’s lustre faded she followed the big smoke back to Hogtown, and we’re glad for that because we’re happy to have her as part of our team.
Baby, Laura Sharkey was born to run, which is ideal because her perfectly naughty beagle Toby has bounds of energy, and has no problems chasing her around town looking for Toronto’s best croissant. One of her many goals in life is to live abroad by the ocean or somewhere in the mountains. Of note, her favourite place to visit in the world is Manasquan, New Jersey. As one of SOS’s Foster Co-ordinators, Laura welcomes new applications and guides them through the fulfilling world of fostering.
Kristine Cedrone has worn many collars with Save Our Scruff. She started as a transport volunteer, then she was a foster, and now she’s Vetting Manager. And we’re thankful that she’s able to find time to help us because when she’s not helping us she’s helping shape the minds of future volunteers, fosters, and adopters as a kindergarten teacher in Toronto. Kristine originally joined us because she had the most amazing life experience with a rescue dog (two taps to the heart and a point to the sky) who changed her life all in the good ways (of course), and wanted to honour his spirit. She’s fostered and dogsat many SOS pups since, and we couldn’t be happier to have her on the team.
You know why Kendall Wilson was part husky in a previous life? Because she loves winter. And that makes sense seeing as she currently spends her time alternating between studiously volunteering for SOS as Alumni Coodinator and kicking up her feet in Iceland’s many geothermal baths. In the wise words of Theodore Roosevelt: I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well. Well… thanks to the tireless work of all the SOS volunteers past and present, there are many pups who were on the paths to difficult lives and lead them well.
At first, Christina Nguyen was petrified, thinking that she could live without a dog by her side. But oh, not her, and that’s why you’ll find her strolling along the streets with Miss Olive, her maltese. When not helping SOS with our corporate events or following up with references, or walking Miss Olive, Christina has her nose buried in books on her way to a Masters of Science in Global Health at McMaster. Number one on her bucket list is to travel to each continent on this world, likely with an extended stay in San Diego.
Catia Almeida got her first sniff of SOS when she accompanied a friend on a puppy transport ride along in May 2015 and hasn’t left our side since. As our Fundraising Co-ordinator she plays an important role in supporting our goal to bring dogs from all around the world to loving homes all across the GTA. (Our pups are furever thankful for veterinary care, grooming, and supplies as they make their way from fosters to adopters.) Although she doesn’t currently have her own dog, you may want to follow her when she finally adopts because of her words to live by: If you want crappy things to stop happening to you, then stop accepting crap and demand something more.
Billie Jean Shannon will never cause a scene because she has way too good of a heart. Why do we know that? Because she volunteers with Save Our Scruff of course. Billie Jean joined us all the way from Dublin, Ireland. While she may have quickly become acclimated to the sights and sounds (and possible smells) of Toronto, a part of her heart is back home with Ruby, a springer spaniel/border collie cross (Sprollie?!) who is funnier than Bono and the Edge walk into a bar and the bartender says, oh no, not you two! (We apologize for the joke because she dislikes U2 with a passion; and she’s our Dogsitter Co-ordinator who, when unable to herself, liaises between current fosters and potential dogsitters to help find a temporary home when fosters are out of town.)
Jenna Bye from Burlington, ON, baby, blasts Backstreet Boys till she’s black and blue in the ears. She relates well to dogs, obviously, so we thought we’d also give her the enviable task of also relating to the public as our Public Relations Guru. If she ever tells you a bad joke, don’t worry about laughing to be polite because she’s already doubled over in hysterics because no one laughs at their own jokes better than Jenna. She also says she’s too shy to ever actually go through with karaoke, but we know that once she gets a taste of it Jenna Bye will be back all right!