Our pets are our family. They bring us joy, hope, and show us how to love. The staff of because I said I would would like to recognize our wonderful pets and thank them for being there for us as we change the world.
Dad: Alex Sheen, Founder
Our office dog, Kimchi, is the daughter of our Founder, Alex Sheen. She loves to visit our rooms throughout the day for progress updates and official petting time. Kimchi spends her afternoons snoring on the office couch and dreaming of a world where everyone loved their fellow humans as much as they loved their pets. Kimchi is eleven years old, diabetic and a cancer survivor.
In her spare time, Kimchi enjoys snoozing, giving kisses, bringing each of us toys and cuddling with her mom.
Mom: Amanda Messer, Co-Founder
Miska (pronounced Meesh-ka) means little bear in Russian. It describes this little lovable teddy bear perfectly. Miska is a 6 year old Havanese. We often say that all he knows is love. He loves everyone and everything. His excitement for life is contagious. However, Miska loves no one and nothing more than he loves his bone. He will play fetch for hours. I’m not kidding. If you don’t throw his bone, he will put it on you and cry until you do. It is adorable.
He also loves looking out the window, protecting his family, treats, and, of course, being cute.
Jake and Lily Cartmill
Mom: Julie Cartmill, Executive Assistant for the Founder
Jake and Lily are 11 year old Puggles. They are both rescue dogs who surely rescued their mommy! They are definitely my babies and love to snuggle with me. They also love taking walks, barking at the UPS and Mail men and laying in the sun!
Whenever I come home, they are so excited and go crazy like it has been weeks since they have seen me (even if it was only 5 minutes ago)! They want to be let outside right away, only to come back to the door a few seconds later to get their treat! It doesn’t matter if they have just been outside before I got there, when I come home, they still want to go out because they know they will get more treats!
In the picture, Lily is on the top and Jake is on the bottom.
Mom: Cassie Perez, Senior Chapter Relationship Manager
My name is Moo and I am 7 years old. My mom rescued me as a young kitten after finding me outside with my brother Milo, who now lives with my grandma. I love being the only child in our house as I do not get along with many other animals.I love sunbathing in the window, and playing with my toy mice ( affectionately called mousies). Sleeping all day and watching birds in the window is another one of my favorite pastimes. I love cuddling and getting spoiled with wet food and treats. Overall I am a happy, fat cat.
Mom: Shannon Baker, Event Manager
I’m a 3 year old, rescue Golden Retriever/ Shepherd mix. I am full of energy and always smiling! I love walks, chasing bunnies and tennis balls, playing with my furry best friends, and I’m obsessed with peanut butter and Dairy Queen ice cream. I don’t like anything peppermint (in fact I stick out my tongue when I smell my mom chewing gum or putting on Burt’s Bees chap stick) and I’m really scared of garbage trucks and school buses. I actively watch TV to look for fellow canines; I bark and go nuts at every dog commercial. I’m a very sweet, playful boy who is lovable and ornery!
TR and Franklin Smithhisler
Mom: Chris Smithhisler, Director of Chapter Programs and Training
TR and Franklin, the Roosevelt Pugs, are 1 year old pug brothers. Their names come from our family love of history and were directly inspired after our visit this past summer to the Teddy Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota.
TR is quiet and strong. Franklin is loud and has a fear of missing out. They both love treats, long walks around the block, and biting their brother’s tail!
Mom: Nicole Clevenger, Program Impact Manager
Harley is a boxer mix with an insatiable appetite for playing tug. One of her most adorable qualities is that she loves to do whatever her humans are doing such as sitting with her feet stretched out on the couch or using her ‘hands’ to pick things up, give hugs or play with her toys. She can jump fences in a single bound and likes to chase our squirrel, affectionately called Larry, around the backyard. After a hard day, Harley can be found on her favorite blanket snoring loudly while maintaining her role as guardian of the land while she sleeps.
Charlie and Chevy Dziak
Mom: Jennifer Dziak, Chapter Relationship Manager
Charlie is an 8 year old furbaby Jennifer received from a friend of the family. She has a genetic skeletal condition which resulted in tiny legs, but she has a big heart! She enjoys bird and squirrel watching and loves to play almost as much as she loves to sleep.
Chevy is a 5 year old American Bulldog/Boxer mix who loves to run! His friends lovingly call him “Forrest Gump” because of this. He also enjoys many other outdoor activities, including camping, swimming, and fetch. Of all the things he likes to do, his favorite of all is cuddling!
Leo and Tug Spatafore
Mom: Kay Spatafore, VP of Character Education
Leo is a kill shelter survivor. He is an outdoors enthusiast and loves to experience running, jumping, and the pursuit of a tennis ball. Leo is the founder of our neighborhood watch program, spending a great deal of each day making sure that everyone is aware of the mailman or other visitors to the neighborhood. In his spare time, this Jack Russell loves to watch TV (Dog Hotel is a fav) and spend time with his family. He is the epitome of lap dog.
Tug is the younger of the two adopted brothers and was referenced by the rescue as a Boston Terrier Mix, which seems to be fairly distant on the family tree. Tug is playful, kind and loves any toy with a squeaker. He is passionate about annoying his big brother and treats. Both of these boys are dedicated to a healthy lifestyle and making the world a better place one tail wag at a time.
Mom: Katie Kussow, Communications Intern
Zeus is a two and a half-year-old ball of fluff (aka Bernese Mountain Dog). As the house diva, he howls for belly scratches and silently pouts when not within 5 feet of someone. Kind to everyone he meets, Zeus has been known to whip his tail and show his pearly whites in excitement whether you just met him or just got back from the bathroom.
Favorite Treat: Cheerios. Tricks: Sit. Still to Learn: Drop it
Dad: Gary Rick, Development Manager
Jennifer (named by her first owner) is more like a dog than a cat. She is 13 years old and still comes when I call her. When she first came to us she was my daughter’s cat until my daughter moved on to college. Jennifer likes to sleep on my lap or my chest whenever she can. She is able to stick out her tongue! She also is not to keen on me journal writing and usually plops down on it so I can’t write and therefore pay attention to her.
Dad: Nate McGrady, Fulfillment Manager
My name is Sam, and I was adopted by Nate McGrady the Fulfillment Manager at because I said I would. I am 5 years old and growing every single day, this is extremely important because when I first went home with Nate I was really small. But he has taken really good care of me and got me to a very healthy standard and I could not be happier! Nate found me when I was just about one years old I was abandoned by a family who no longer had the patience to deal with me. I am terrified of everything such as unique noises, my own shadow, and people not named Nate (lol). Therefore I am very fortunate to have someone as patient as Nate in my life. Going from the brink of elimination locked in a cage at the Cleveland APL, to living life like I never would have been able to do elsewhere is something I am thankful for. I am looking forward to what the future has in store for us, rumor has it we are moving to Lakewood in just under a month.