Adoption Coordinators

Adoption Coordinator Team

Anna Garrison

anna120At one time or another, Anna has wanted to be a zoologist, a veterinarian, a pet store keeper, and a cryptozoologist. It’s safe to say she has been an animal lover for a very long time. She has handled snakes and walking sticks with ease and owned a variety of animals from rhinoceros beetles to silkworms to over a hundred rats. Having only experienced a dog pound from Lady and the Tramp and Homeward Bound, she decided to visit one for herself in March 2010 to get her dog a companion. The rest is history. Not able to forget the sad state of the (then) Baldwin Park Shelter, she signed up to be a volunteer.

It didn’t take long for Laura Knighten and Kerry Oldridge to recruit herto United Hope for Animals where she’s since become subject to a wealth of information that she would never have been able to learn otherwise (including proper tic removal). She handles UHA paperwork, fosters dogs, writes articles, and keep herself open to learning more about the animal world than she’s always been comfortable living in. Anna lives at home with her two beautiful Baldwin Park alumni: Asta, a two and a half year old border terrier/wirehaired dachshund mix, and Aislinn, a one year old Irish terrier mutt.

Katja Guenther

KatjaKatja Guenther was raised by wolves. Well, not quite, but her family dog from the time of her birth through elementary school was a tailless Norwegian Elkhound named Wolf, whose companionship and loyalty cemented her life-long love of dogs.

A native of Boston with roots in Germany, Katja moved to Southern California in 2006, where she learned about the region’s very high rates of homeless pets and shelter killing of adoptable companion animals. Katja assists in UHA’s Shelter Support Program and Glamour Shots, and also networks and fosters shelter dogs. She has a particular fondness for large dogs, especially pit bulls and mutts.

She holds a PhD in sociology and is an associate professor of sociology at the University of California, Riverside, where she specializes in the study of social movements, social inequalities, and social change. In her spare time, Katja enjoys SCUBA diving, travel, reading, and hiking (or snowshoeing) around her cabin in Big Bear Lake. She shares her home with her wife and their two large rescued mutts, three rescued cats, and about 35 tropical fish.

 Menna Kearns

Menna is a California native who returned to the Golden State in 2008 after a 12 year stint in the Pacific Northwest. Growing up in the foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains, dogs and cats were always in her home, as well as the occasional hamster or bird, and recuperating skunks, opossums, or raccoons.

By day Menna moonlights as a web/software developer – but when not coding, she spends time with UHA, helping out with everything from dog wrangling during photo shoots to social networking. During her _other_ spare time she volunteers at the California Wildlife Center, plays her accordion, hangs out with her three dogs + one foster, attempts to learn new languages (human or artificial), and hunts for good local music.  A recent small dog convert thanks to her pup the “Chihuahua Ambassador,” she has a special place in her heart for the little ones that she meets at the shelter.

Meena Pharo

Meena loves all creatures but has a special affection for the Pit Bull Terriers.

She believes in giving all animals equal opportunity no matter what breed and educating the public on the true and accurate disposition of the lovable, loyal, and clown-like Pits.

Meena is the administrative contact on Petfinder and Adopt-A-Pet. She is also the contact for anyone that is interested in volunteering for UHA.

Jana Savage

janaJana is an East Coast native, born and raised in the metropolis that is Bangor, Maine. After a stint in Boston, where she got her degree in Economics, she decided the next logical step would be to move to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting and writing. She was not aware of her other life’s passion that she would find there, animal rescue.

After adopting her first dog from the West LA animal shelter, she became what is known as a “crazy dog person”, a title she is very proud of. Her boyfriend tells her she cries way harder when animals die in movies and she doesn’t deny it, it’s just more sad. Volunteering with UHA has been an amazing opportunity for her to save lives, gain a deeper sense of meaning in her life, and meet wonderful people.

Jana lives in Santa Monica with her boyfriend Casey, who is also now a crazy dog person (she comes home regularly to find him watching “Pit bulls and Parolees” and weeping). She also lives with her Chihuahua/Terrier mix, Marty, her Dachshund/Beagle mix, Harry and her Pit bull/Lab/Whippet mix, Phoebe.

Samantha Sayon

samSamantha is a California native, born and raised. An animal lover from the start, she grew up with almost every pet imaginable, from guinea pigs to chickens. She was blessed with the greatest best friend, a Chow Labrador German Shepherd mix named Angie, who was the light of her life for 15 years. In 2009, in Angie’s memory and honor, Samantha decided to dedicate her time to helping other deserving canine souls. Starting out, her first foster dog was a handful and had tons of issues, but at the same time was extremely loving and affectionate.

Samantha learned that not every dog can be perfect like Angie was, but every dog still deserves love and a place to call home. Samantha currently lives in LA and works as a freelance production accountant. In her free time, she enjoys painting, dancing, volunteering, and hanging out with her brother’s crazy Corgi Riley.

Catherine Winiarski

Catherine joined UHA in 2009. She worked first as a dog walker, then as an adoption coordinator and dog handler at photo shoots, and now as a foster parent as well. She adopted her Italian greyhound Marco from a rescue and wanted to do more to help the many animals in need at local shelters.

She is constantly in awe of the success of UHA’s adoption initiatives and is thrilled to be a part of them. In her home, she has fostered terriers, a mini poodle, a cockapoo, a Rottweiler, a Pomeranian, and a chihuahua, giving them a good diet, training, exercise, vet care, and plenty of TLC until they are adopted into permanent homes. Marco has been an excellent mentor to them all.

A native of southern California, Catherine is an English instructor at Long Beach City College and the University of Redlands. She researches Shakespeare and other Renaissance authors and is currently working on online editions of Shakespeare’s plays. She enjoys camping and hiking with friends and family (and her dog when possible), going to local jazz and rock clubs, and exploring LA restaurants and coffee shops.

One thought on “Adoption Coordinators

  1. Lynn Kerew

    Hello…can someone please contact me..trying to get the lowdown on Nancy the Wheaton mix..thanks, Lynn Kerew i contacted Vira on Monday about Nancy as well as Baldwin Shelter who said she was taken. Thanks, Lynn Vira did not get back to me.

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