Get to know our 100% volunteer-run team. We could not function without them.
Founder & Executive Director
Courtney founded Paws for Life in 2007 and serves as Board President and executive director. She has 20 years of experience in animal welfare and, in addition to managing the Rescue, also serves as an Advisory Board Member to the Michigan Pet Fund Alliance, Board Trustee and spokesperson for Michigan’s Political Action Committee for Animals, member of the National Disaster Animal Response Team and presenter and speaker at various state, national and international animal welfare conferences. Courtney’s advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: “Jump in with both feet. It’s the most rewarding thing you’ll ever do. Rescuing an innocent life from unspeakable conditions, nursing that animal back to health and providing all the TLC possible, then watching that forever-grateful life find a forever family. You will experience gratitude and selflessness that you never dreamed possible. Their lives are worth every moment you give.”
Caitlin recruits new volunteers and helps them get started on Paws for Life’s various teams. She also runs the volunteer retention and recognition program, tracking volunteer hours and accomplishments. Caitlin is also temporarily serving as Paws for Life’s customer service manager, answering emails and returning phone calls, until a permanent replacement is found. She is also a member of the Dog Team and has a great eye for photography, responsible for many of our fabulous dog photographs. Caitlin’s advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: “Do not limit your imagination. You may think that volunteering means only one activity, but really there are so many ways to get involved."
Mark has been a volunteer with Paws for Life since the very beginning, when the Rescue was first founded in 2007. He has filled many roles in the Rescue, including founding of the organization. Mark recently retired and moved out of state, but has stayed on as a volunteer supporting from afar in any way possible. Mark’s advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: “Becoming a volunteer for Paws for Life Rescue is very rewarding to your heart and your soul. There is a wide variety of tasks to choose from as a volunteer. Tell us what type of things you like to do. Chances are we have a position for you.”
Dog Behavior and Adoption Coordinator
Anne is a full-time dog trainer with multiple international certifications. She is currently pursuing her PhD with a concentration in Animal Cognition. Anne’s knowledge and experience is critical to helping Paws for Life’s rescue dogs. Anne works with both foster care homes and permanent adopters to make sure the dogs are adjusting well. Anne is also our lead adoptions counselor on the Dog Team. Anne’s advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: “Please don’t hesitate. The animals need you now and we are happy to have you come aboard. One thing I struggled with at first was finding balance. Sometimes I forgot to take care of myself, but luckily, our director and fellow volunteers in the rescue supported me and helped me to avoid something we call ‘burn out.’ PFL is wonderful at taking care of its volunteers and making sure we are able to stay volunteers for as long as possible."
Director of Cat Care and Adoptions
Vicki leads the Cat Team, directing cat intake into the rescue from partner shelters, ensuring medical care is up-to-date and overseeing adoptions and placements. Vicki specializes in pregnant and nursing mama cats, bottle-feeding babies when necessary. . Vicki’s advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: “Start out slow. Come by an adoption event and get to know us, see what we are about. It is very rewarding. You provide joy to those who adopt and save lives at the same time. I’m not sure it can get any better than that. And, don’t sweat the small stuff.”
Cat/ Dog Team & Fundraising/ Events
As a Petco Foundation partner, Paws for Life is allowed to have a selection of adoptable cats and kittens live inside Petco stores. Anne manages the Rescue’s relationship with the Rochester Hills store and leads the team of volunteers who go to the store daily to feed, clean and care for the cats and kittens living there. Anne's advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: “Please do it! The reward of knowing that a cat or dog is getting a better life is everything."
Marketing Coordinator/ Fundraising & Events/ Dog Team
Ashley works with all of our teams to advertise and market our adoptable pets, fundraising opportunities and upcoming events. Ashley is always fostering adoptable dogs and placing them with forever families. Ashley’s advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: “DO IT! Rescues are always in need of more help because the list of animals in need only gets longer. As little or as much time as you are able to contribute is always appreciated!”
Jason volunteers helping at events, walking dogs and introducing them to applicants. He has transported animals, fostered dogs and pups in the past and every Christmas he plays Santa Pawz at our partner Petco store, posing for photos with dogs and cats to help the Rescue raise funds. Jason’s advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue “Just do it! It is the most rewarding, heartfelt feeling to be part of helping the helpless get a new lease on a life that they much deserve – dog or cat! I know I’ll always volunteer and rescue my pooches from PFL.”
Suzanne has been a volunteer since the very beginning, when the Rescue was first founded in 2007. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our Cat Team. She is an expert at TNR and is a compassionate colony caretaker. Suzanne is also on the In-store Cats team, caring for the Paws for Life kitties who live at our partner store, Petco – Farmington Hills. S Suzanne’s advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: “You need to be prepared to sometimes go unnoticed, to sometimes never be thanked and sometimes no one even knows what you do. So, you need to offer your services knowing it is between you and whomever you are helping, be they human or animal. You will always receive more personal benefits from your volunteering efforts than you ever give out. It’s good for your soul and volunteers live longer!”
Meghan volunteers at fundraising events and on our in-store cats team, caring for the Paws for Life adoptable kitties who live in habitats at our partner store, Petco – Farmington Hills. Meghan's advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: “Jump in, the water’s warm! Even if you don’t have a ton of time to devote to volunteering, every little bit helps and there are so many different ways to get involved."
Maria volunteers by , fostering cats, many with major medical needs, and helping out at adoption events. She has transported cats, supported fundraising events and helped out with organizing the Paws for Life storage unit. Maria’s advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue, “Do not spend so much time thinking about it, and just do it. Give it a try! There are so many things that are needed in a rescue. There is a job that will fit. And, consider being a foster. It is so rewarding to be that bridge in an animal’s life. Providing the care and love this cat or dog needs until they are ready for their forever home, because without rescues and fosters, they would not be alive.”
Angela volunteers with the Paws for Life in-store cat care team, taking care of the cats and kittens who live at our partner Petco store in Farmington Hills. Angela's advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: "Do it! It is a wonderful experience. There are so many animals who just want love and affection (and the occasional treat). I enjoy being able to provide this for the animals who do not have a family or home."
Nikki volunteers with the Paws for Life in-store cat care team, taking care of the cats and kittens who live at our partner Petco store in Farmington Hills. Nikki’s advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: "Have fun and love on the animals as much as possible!"
Amy is a loving foster care parent for cats and the occasional dog. Amy’s advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: “If you have some room in your house, foster! The animals ask for so little and it makes a huge difference. You might think you won't be able to give them up, but it’s not that difficult when you know they’re going home with someone who will love them.”
Cat Intake Coordinator, Behavior, and Foster Care
Santa works very closely with our partner shelters to determine which cats and kittens need rescue, then works to place them in foster care. Santa also has the eye of a photographer and is responsible for many of our amazing cat photographs. Santa does a lot for our rescue, and has extensive experience and education in TNR. Santa’s advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: “Don’t be afraid to volunteer and don’t be nervous to foster. We can’t save lives without your help! One person can make a world of diﬀerence for so many.”
Dog/ Cat Team, Fundraising & Events
As a Petco Foundation partner, Paws for Life is allowed to have a selection of adoptable cats and kittens live inside Petco stores. Alex manages the Rescue’s relationship with the Farmington Hills store and leads the team of volunteers who go to the store daily to feed, clean and care for the cats and kittens living there. Alex's advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: “Do it! It's fulfilling and fun and there are so many benefits. It can be short term or long term, but we'll take any help we can get. It's SO worth every second of your time. There's no feeling quite like looking into an animal's eyes and seeing them trust you for the first time."
Cheryl volunteers fostering cats and kittens and helping out at adoption events. Cheryl’s advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue, “Being a foster care volunteer can be hard work and it can be hard emotionally, but it is also THE most rewarding thing you can do. So many pets need our help and they seem to know when we help and are so grateful. It is so wonderful to help a ‘baby,’ then see him/her go to their forever home and watch them get spoiled, like they deserve! Then you are able to take in a new foster and help yet another pet in need. "
Dog Team/ Adoptions Counselor
Kneila fosters and coordinates incoming adoption inquiries, applicant conversations and placements, and also helps intake dogs and finds foster care homes for them. Kneila's advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: “Just give it a try! It's the most rewarding thing, with people who will instantly welcome you."
Sheri is a volunteer on the dog team and the fundraising and events team. Sheri's advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: “It’s definitely worth it. A little of your time goes such a long way.”
Medical Care Coordinator/ Dog Team
Karen also helps with fundraising, events and animal transport. Karen's advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: “Do it! There’s a spot for everyone. Afraid you’ll try to take home every animal you meet? (actually we’re ok with that). We need help getting donations for the critters, raffles, auctions … How about paperwork? There’s an amazing amount of paper generated. Have some fundraising ideas? There’s always room for more ideas. There are many ways to help with minimal risk of filling your home with fur! That being said, we always need foster homes, your chance to share the love!"
Nicole is a coordinator of in-store cats. As a Petco Foundation partner, Paws for Life is allowed to have a selection of adoptable cats and kittens live inside a Petco store. Nicole manages the Rescue’s relationship with the store and leads the team of volunteers who go to the store daily to feed, clean and care for the cats and kittens living there, in addition to many other things. Nicole’s advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: “Volunteering in any capacity is valuable; I think people feel that giving an hour here and there isn’t helping, but it is. It isn’t necessary to make it another full-time job to be important and make a difference. It’s rewarding in any capacity.”
Sue has fostering cats and kittens since she came aboard. She also serves as an adoption counselor, placing her foster kitties in their forever homes. Sue helped forge Paws for Life’s partnership with our current Petco partner store and led the In-store Cats team, managing volunteers and taking care of the adoptable kitties. Sue’s advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue, “Try it! Save lives and meet other animal lovers. It’s the most rewarding feeling!”
Dave & Kathie S.
Dave and Kathie S. are a dynamic duo kitty cat foster care team and event volunteers. Dave and Kathie's advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue, “For fostering cats, be prepared for some of the less socialized kitties to not be ready to accept affection, but need to learn to trust and then to love. And then, be prepared to fail ... that is, to love them so much and adopt them yourself! Practically speaking, you need to have some space to confine them, especially if you already have pets. And it helps if you are familiar with Facebook. Kathie is not terribly adept, but manages and Dave isn’t even on Facebook! But the joy of seeing them placed with a happy family, in a forever home is amazing.”
LeeAnn helps care for our adoptable cats living at Petco in Farmington Hills. She also helps with fundraising and events. LeeAnn's advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: "I’d say that it is a very rewarding experience and, if you love animals, there are so many different things you can do with this rescue to help! Every hour I spend volunteering is an hour that the animals give back to me in love. It warms my heart each time."
Cat Team/ Dog Walker
Abbie volunteers on the cat team, fostering kitties in need. She is also a dog walking volunteer, taking care of Paws for Life adoptable dogs staying at the boarding kennel in Clinton Township. Abbie also volunteers at fundraising events. Abbie’s advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: “So long as you love animals and have a bit of spare time to dedicate to your volunteer duties, I say do it! There’s really no downside and the animals that you volunteer with have nothing but affection and appreciation for your efforts.”
Lizzie volunteers with the in-store cat care team, taking care of the cats and kittens who live at our partner Petco store in Farmington Hills. Lizzie's advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: "Give it a try! There are so many ways to help, you can start doing one thing and if that doesn’t work well, try something else!"
Nicki is a self-described "cat keeper." She is on the in-store cat care team, cleaning the cat enclosures, scooping the litter and making sure all the kitties living at our partner Petco store have fresh food and water. Nicki is also a feline foster care mom. Nicki's advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: "Do it! It’s easier than you think and the PFL volunteer coordinators and other volunteers are wonderful to work with. It feels great and you are helping so many animals. Get those feel-good feels!"
Randall's volunteer specialty is feline handling and care, giving all kitties living at our partner Petco store, new and tenured residents, as much love as possible, as well as a clean habitat and fresh food and water. Randall's advice for those who want to volunteer with our in-store cat care team: "Know (or learn) how to read a cat’s body language. Some of the cats are new to the enclosures at Petco and may be scared at first. Treat every cat as an individual with its own needs and personalities. Be open minded, because anything can happen at any given moment."
Kristen volunteers with the Paws for Life Cat Team, fostering cats and kittens in need. She has also been instrumental advising the development and fundraising team. Kristen’s advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: “You won’t regret it! Just go for it; I am happy I did.”
Jennifer volunteers with the Paws for Life cat team, fostering cats and transporting animals. Jennifer's advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue, “Go into it with your heart open. You'll be surprised at how much it can change your life for the better!
Jessica volunteers on our In-Store Cats team, caring for the Paws for Life adoptable kitties who live in habitats at our partner store, Petco – Farmington Hills. She also volunteers at adoption events, taking care of the cats, greeting customers and answering questions. J Jessica’s advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: “Go for it. Even if you feel like you are too busy and don’t have enough time, there are different levels of participation. Just helping take care of our cats in the habitat (at Petco) is rewarding and doesn’t take up that much time. We have a schedule and you can decide which days you go. Getting to spend some quality time with the cats in our habitat not only helps them, but also, for me, I always leave there happier."
Mitchell is a caretaker for Paws for Life cats living at our partner Petco store in Farmington Hills. Mitchell's advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: “Be passionate about what you do."
Emily is a feline foster mom and caretaker of cats who live at our partner Petco store in Farmington Hills. Emily's advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: “Consider your lifestyle and available time, and then make the call! Talk with one of the volunteer coordinators about the many ways you could give of your time and choose one. Just get started and build from there. You will find your sweet spot in no time and will be so glad you did."
Fundraising & Events
Vickie volunteers on the In-Store Cats team, caring for the adoptable kitties living at our partner Petco store. She also helps out at adoption events and with transporting cats, as well as fundraising. Vickie’s advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: “Do it. It’s healthy work. You get exercise climbing up and down ladders, sweeping and bending over, you feel you are doing something worthwhile and, at the same time, you are getting an education. If you go to work as a volunteer in a bad mood, that will change fast; a soft stroke of a kitty’s fur with a brush of a whisker on your cheek and a gentle swat with a padded paw will change your feelings as a purr resonates in your ear.”
Fundraising & Events
Haley is a Paws for Life dog walker and events volunteer who jumps in whenever and wherever needed. Haley's advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: “Volunteer as much as you can or are willing. Every little bit helps, so don’t feel bad if you can’t volunteer as much as you want to. I try to do something every month”
Fundraising & Events
Aileen is a Cat Team volunteer who helps care for our adoptable cats living at our partner Petco store in Rochester Hills. Aileen is also a fundraising and events volunteer, plus a feline foster care parent. Aileen's advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: “Just do it. I loved working the Santa Paws event, all the people are great and the purrs are so worth it.”
Shelly has fostered both dogs and cats for the Rescue and most recently helped with sending out medical reminders to adopters. Shelly’s advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: “Be prepared to lose your heart over some absolutely precious fur babies who will rely on you to better their lives."
Fundraising & Events
Katelyn volunteers on the fundraising team for Paws for Life, supporting events and assisting with the planning process. She has also rescued and fostered kittens. Katelyn’s advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: “Just go for it. If you have a passion for helping animals and making a difference in society, then I whole-heartedly recommend joining the Paws for Life family. Even if you can’t foster an animal directly, helping out animals in need in any way you can is a great feeling.”
Fundraising & Events
Melissa is a longtime volunteer who helps with events, fundraising and donations. Melissa's advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: “Stop considering and just start doing. Every little bit helps and the teams are well organized with strongly driven and committed leadership, always speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves. It is not often that you find such a strongly committed volunteer organization. You will be very grateful for the fulfillment, experience and education you will gain while volunteering with Paws for Life.”
Lauren is our dog walking coordinator. She leads the team of dog walkers who spend time, exercise, play, train and love our dogs living in a boarding kennel in Clinton Township. Lauren trains new dog walkers, manages the boarded dogs’ supplies, such as ID tags, leashes, collars, harnesses, cots and toys, and spends a lot of time with them. Lauren’s advice for those who want to volunteer in animal rescue: “There are many ways to help and, as your life changes, you are able to adjust how you volunteer. I started off fostering, but now I coordinate our dog walking team. There may also be times where you just need a break. Our team is totally understanding of this. We want you to have the time you need to recharge and we will be here when you are ready to help again.”