As the daughter of a vet, dogs have been a big part of Lesley's life since she was a child. While volunteering at local rescues after moving to LA, Lesley quickly became aware of the devastating number of healthy, family-friendly dogs that were being euthanized in the shelters due to lack of space. In 2009, Lesley mustered up the courage to leave her comfortable pharmaceutical sales job and vowed to make as big of a dent as she could in this misconception and resulting shelter overcrowding crisis. Armed with dog-loving, intelligent, loyal volunteers who share Lesley’s can-do attitude, Wags and Walks has quickly become the fastest growing dog rescue organization in Los Angeles.
From the time she can remember, Erica has been an animal lover. As a young child, she had a family cat as well as many fish and birds. At 10 years old, she finally convinced her parents to add a dog to the family, which led to 3 amazing family dogs over the years. In the fall of 2011, after offering to foster an American Bulldog named Cupcake, Erica met Lesley Brog and it became clear she had to be a part of the Wags & Walks team. Since joining Wags & Walks, Erica has adopted 3 Wags dogs - Charlie an 80 pound pit bull, Brynn a 45 pound timid pit bull and Heartly a boxer/pointer/lab with all the confidence in the world! Erica's parents and brother have all adopted Wags & Walks dogs as well! Erica coordinates many of our adoption events for Wags & Walks, fosters dogs for the organization and keeps our website up to date!
Annika’s love for animals started early growing up in a household filled with pets ranging from rats, snakes, hamsters, guinea pigs, birds, cats and most importantly dogs. From a young age, she was passionate about helping animals in need and giving back to the community. After graduating from college with a degree in Communication from SDSU and spending 11 great years in San Diego, Annika moved to LA in 2012 where she became increasingly aware of the number of dogs needing homes. That inspired her to rescue two pit bulls, Harley and Cash. And it was because of them that she got involved with LARPBO (Los Angeles Responsible Pit Bull Owners). It was through LARPBO that she not only met her husband (fellow dog lover, founder and head trainer Troy Smith) but was also connected to Wags and Walks! Shortly thereafter Annika and Troy welcomed their first foster for Wags, a mama Pit Bull named Perdita, and her 8 four-week old puppies. From then on Annika knew her heart was in rescue, so she continued to volunteer and officially joined the team full time in January of 2017. Annika’s goals are to help increase awareness about rescues by creating a positive image of all dogs (especially Pit Bulls), and to encourage people to dream more, act more and love more!
Megan, a dog lover like the rest of the team, was horrified by reports that thousands of homeless dogs in Sochi were being euthanized due to the 2014 Olympics. When she attended the Winter Olympics in 2014 and witnessed the awful conditions the dogs were in, she and a few other friends decided to take action and rescue some of the Sochi dogs. After the dogs made it back to the USA they were adopted by wonderful forever families! Witnessing the world wide homeless dog epidemic, Megan wanted to be more involved in dog rescue in her local are of Los Angeles. After volunteering at NKLA she found Wags and Walks, started fostering dogs and fell in love with the process. After a year of fostering, Megan and her husband Jeff decided to adopt one of their foster dogs named "Bug"- now "Bo." Megan wanted to help Wags and Walks save even more dogs and saw how quickly the rescue was growing so she asked if she could take on more responsibilities. Megan helps identify dogs for Wags & Walks to rescue and pinch hits however she can and whenever she can to help keep the organization move forward.
Kelly has always had a soft spot for animals of all shapes and sizes - she grew up with two dogs as well as many hamsters, birds, hermit crabs and even a caterpillar! Yet for some crazy reason that even she doesn't remember, she was very afraid of dogs in her early 20s - but thanks to an awesome coworker and his adorable dog, she quickly conquered her fear and is more in love with our furry friends than ever! After Kelly and her husband Charlie adopted Clyne (pictured) from Wags and Walks in July 2014, she knew she wanted to become a volunteer and now coordinates our Facebook account and all of our litter reunions!
Rachel has loved animals ever since she was a little girl. Her first pet was a white rat, and soon after that her family got their first dog, a Wheaten Terrier named Maggie. Ever since Maggie came into Rachel's life when she was 7 years old, she has loved dogs more than anything. Rachel discovered Wags and Walks through Instagram, which is where she eventually found the Wags dog that she adopted. After adopting her dog Winnie and finding the incredible team at Wags and Walks, Rachel began volunteering and is now part of the social media team, helping other dog lovers find their perfect match. Nothing makes Rachel happier than playing a small part in saving a dog's life and bringing happiness home to their new forever family.
Growing up in Michigan, Kadie always had a love for dogs and a desire to help others. Through her love of pit bulls, Kadie found Wags and Walks and began volunteering in the fall of 2013. Shortly after that, Kadie began fostering pit bulls for the organization and foster failed with two beautiful girls, Pearl and Millie. Kadie continues to foster for the organization, but has also merged her professional life as a therapist and her volunteer life with Wags and Walks by bringing some of our pit bulls to out reach programs in the community. Kadie helps Wags and Walks show the community of Los Angeles what amazing dogs pit bulls and all rescue dogs can be.
Since a kid, Jessica has been fascinated with all animals and has a passion for helping those in need. In high school her love for animals flourished when she took a Veterinary science course and was hooked! Since then, she has worked in all sorts of fields; at a dairy farm, as a veterinary technician and even a nursing assistant in an ICU. She currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, 4 children and rescue pup Lucy. Her sister Megan (also with Wags and Walks) introduced her to the organization and since then has worked from across the country handling a lot of Wags behind the scenes. She also fosters for local organizations in Pennsylvania and loves to visit LA in the summer.
A passionate lover of anything furry and four-legged, Lena has been involved in the animal rescue community for the past six years. Previously the Director of Development at San Antonio Pets Alive!, she oversaw all aspects of fundraising, marketing and program development contributing to the improvement of the city's live release rate from 30% to 85% that resulted in saving more than 20,000 dogs and cats in just three years. After relocating to Pasadena, Lena has continued to foster and volunteer with various groups and is now a member of the development team at Wags and Walks. With a Master's degree in Strategic Public Relations from USC, Lena works in the marketing and nonprofit development space with a variety of clients, including her favorite pet brands! Her heart belongs to her boxer, Lola, and her cat, Clover.
Roland’s career in animal care started 4 years ago when he began working for a Los Angeles based dog daycare. There he learned the basics of training and dog socialization. Since joining the Wags and Walks family as our animal care specialist, he has been able to utilize his skill set to help our dogs have the best chance at finding their forever home.
Growing up in Michigan, dogs have been a huge part of Erica's life from a very young age. Her love for them began with her family's first rescue, an 80 pound mutt named Lily. It continued to grow when she started volunteering with her mom at local shelters around Detroit, where she learned more about the rescue world. After graduating from the University of Michigan in 2016 with a bachelors in Communication Studies, Erica moved to Los Angeles to pursue TV production. After working as a production assistant for 6 months, she decided to follow her heart and leave the industry to work with dogs. Shortly after, she stumbled across Wags and Walks and started volunteering, it quickly turned into becoming part of the Wags and Walks family as the animal care assistant.
Kathryn, our Adoptions Specialist, is a Detroit native who grew up around rescue animals through her parent's involvement in the rescue world. Through high school and college, she spent her summers interning for local rescues and shelters, where she eventually landed her first job out of college. She moved to Los Angeles in 2015 with her first adult rescue, her adopted pit bull, Jax. She immediately reached out to Wags and Walks to be a volunteer. She has since become a part of the Wags and Walks family, where she currently assists with our adoptions and events.
Since childhood, Courtney has always loved dogs. After graduating from college and moving to Los Angeles, she knew fostering would be the perfect way to give back and help dogs find their forever families. Eventually, she foster failed and adopted her pup, Pippen. She became passionate about rescue and made it a mission to become more involved with the organization. Courtney continues to foster and helps out with various aspects of the foster program at Wags and Walks.
Stefanie grew up a middle-child in the chaos of a tight-knit family of six kids and amongst a menagerie of animals. A Northwest Ohio native, she was raised in a home that encouraged curiosity and love of all creatures, and took full advantage of that sentiment, parading through the door with a new critter seemingly every day. From all types of wildlife, to domesticated pets like Guinea Pigs, rabbits, chinchillas, kittens, and finally an entire litter of Beagle puppies, she didn’t discriminate and could nearly always be found returning someone’s runaway dog or out on an emergency rescue mission. It’s no surprise then that her life has revolved around animal care, which has taken shape in a variety of different roles over the years. From being a volunteer dog walker throughout high school, to majoring in Animal Science at the University of Kentucky and working as an Emergency Vet Tech at a small animal hospital, to spending 18 months training a service dog as a lead handler and subsequently continuing with her own dog training operation, she has always been involved with animals in some capacity. Stefanie’s lifelong passion for rescue and rehabilitation led her and her four-legged best friend, an Australian Labradoodle named Romeo, to California and consequently to Wags and Walks, where she exercises her talents as our Adoptions and Alumni Relations Director. A compassionate animal rights advocate and a sucker for second chances, Stefanie has dedicated her whole heart to rescue, and has found home and a deep sense of purpose with our furry friends and our devoted family.
A Chicago native, Amanda has grown up with dogs in her family throughout her life. From her grandma’s Beagle to her uncle’s Rottweilers to her very own partners in crime, a German Shorthaired Pointer named Keelin and a Jack Russell Terrier named Bindy. Amanda graduated from Illinois State University in May of 2016 with a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration. She packed up her car to head to Los Angeles, leaving the Midwest behind. Shortly after settling in LA she started volunteering at Wags and Walks and loved everything about it! She soon began training to learn more about the adoptions process which then ultimately lead her to her employment at Wags as the part time Adoptions Coordinator! Amanda spends the other part of her time coaching gymnastics for an after-school program at UCLA. She is loving the fast-paced environment that the rescue world has to offer and is looking forward to helping more adorable pups find their forever homes!
Growing up in South Africa, Howard lived in a household with multiple cats and dogs since he was born. When he was 12, a stray male English Bulldog mix would visit his school, looking for food. Everyday at recess, Howard would share his lunch with the dog, until after a couple of weeks, the dog followed him home after school. Jock stayed in the family for the rest of his 11 years, along with the other rescued dogs and cats. This was his first rescue! Before moving to the US, Howard was involved with rescue in SA as a volunteer. He also worked at PUPP in SA - a spay/neuter program in economically depressed areas that also offers educational programs for previously incarcerated youth. Howard was excited to become involved with rescue work in the US, and has been doing so for 16 years in the LA area. He has been with Animal Avengers as the Kennel Manager and Foster Program Manager, Bill Foundation as Adoption Manager and Programs Manager, and Karma Rescue as Program Coordinator. Since he started at Wags and Walks and spent time with the people, dogs, and at the center, he is happy to be at a very special place!
LA native. Animal lover. She begged her mom for a puppy every year until she finally got her first rescue when she was a freshman in high school. When her mom told her that poor Carleigh was found on the side of the freeway, she promised this one year old Dachshund Cocker Spaniel that she would fill her little life with love for eternity. Carleigh, a senior dog of 13 years now, still lives with her parents sunbathing in the backyard to her heart’s content. When Lisa was 25, she finally adopted her own Wags and Walks dog with her now wife, Jordy. They adopted a beautiful pitbull named Turnip who they started to train regularly with the help of their newfound friends at LARPBO. Turnip gave her a new outlook on life and reminded Lisa of her true passion for animals. The Wags and Walks team graciously welcomed that passion with open arms and the rest is history.
Jacqueline was born and raised in San Diego, growing up around and with animals. She moved to the Midwest after high school where she got her B.S. in animal science at a small school in there. She got her first dog, Luna, in 2010. Walter fell into her lap about 4 years later when she was working at the Animal Humane Society in Minnesota. Jacqueline spent multiple years fostering dogs and working with rescue groups there as well as working in different parts of the animal world including boarding facilities, shelters, a pet store and a vet clinic. She moved back to San Diego with her dogs a little over a year ago and spent the last year working as an animal medical tech.
Mikayla is an elementary school teacher, writer and proud dog mom to two Wags and Walks alum, Mae and Bean! She is so proud to be part of something so great, that brings so much joy to so many people (and animals, too!)
Originally from New Jersey, Bonnie attended college and grad school in New England and moved to LA in her mid-20's. Though she didn't grow up with dogs, they eventually found her. While filming for work, she quickly found out about the horrors of puppy mills. From there she educated herself about shelter statistics and what terms like PTS meant for otherwise healthy, blameless animals. In another life, Bonnie would have become a veterinarian, but in this one she turned to rescue and adoption, working with the Bill Foundation for twelve years before finding Wags and Walks through a colleague. Bonnie is part of the Wags and Walks Adoption Team where she loves the vitality, enthusiasm, energy, savvy, compassion, support and camaraderie of her human and canine cohort and can be found most Saturdays and Sundays at the Wags and Walks Welcome Center.
Bonnie left the entertainment industry after 25 years. Her proudest production is daughter Caitlin, a doctoral student in the field of substance abuse and addictive behavior. Husband Kenn shares life (and bed) with two rescue dogs and Bonnie whose day job is spent administering the only merit-based/need blind high school scholarship program for under served youth in the United States. Bonnie has the pleasure and privilege of changing the lives of kids during the week and dogs on the weekend.
Alyssa has loved dogs since the beginning. The Indiana native was mostly raised with black labs - one of which was her grandmother's who Alyssa's family took in after she passed. At the young age of sixteen, Alyssa rescued her first dog, Bo, after volunteering one afternoon at the ASPCA. Bo had severe medical issues and was emaciated when Alyssa rescued him. After nurturing him back to health, Bo lived a very full, happy (and spoiled) life. Bo sparked a passion within Alyssa who now knows that dog rescue is her true calling. After moving to LA to attend LMU, Alyssa found Wags and Walks through her investigation on LA's No Kill Initiative for a Journalism class project. Enthused by the friendly faces and welcoming environment, Wags and Walks quickly became Alyssa's home away from home. While volunteering at a Wags and Walks event, Alyssa adopted little Iggy for her parents who are obsessed, to say the least, with her claiming that "Wags and Walks dogs are truly the best" and now have neighbors calling them asking Alyssa to pick out rescue dogs for them! Alyssa currently lives in West Los Angeles with her rescue pup Maia and is an active Wags and Walks adoptions team member.
A SoCal native, from the moment Monica was born there were always rescue dogs in her household. From a young age she started bringing home creatures of all shapes and sizes. From caring for tiny injured reptiles and rodents, to finding homes for street dogs and cats, and everything in between, there was never a shortage of critters to care for. Originally focused on a career in general and emergency medicine for humans, she had the opportunity to visit many different shelters both in the U.S. and internationally to learn the inner workings of these facilities which led to a strong drive to fulfill a lifelong dream of being a voice for the ones who have none. Currently she resides with her son and their three rescues- two pups plus a cat, and can be found at Wags as a shift lead, helping the adoptions team with walk ins, or filling in as office lead.
Shannon grew up outside of Philadelphia and had dogs since the day she was born….3 dogs, in fact, for most of her life. Moving to Santa Monica 4 years ago was her first time living without a dog since her senior dog decided to stay behind to live the suburban life with her parents. After finding Wags and Walks on Instagram, she immediately started getting in some much needed pup time. Falling in love with the rescue world, she now stays busy with Wags and Walks volunteering at events, fostering and co-running the blog.
Andra has always been a dog lover. She used to ask Santa for a basket of puppies every year until she finally got her first dog in third grade. After that, there was no turning back. Now, Andra co-leads our blog team and volunteers in various capacities for Wags & Walks. Andra works in PR & Marketing at a boutique agency in West Hollywood, servicing clients including Tiffany & Co., Saks Fifth Avenue, and Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. She holds a B.S. in Public Relations with a minor in Business from the University of Texas at Austin.
Last September I officially became an "empty nester" when I packed up my two beautiful girls to move them to college. I decided I needed a passion. I wanted to dedicate myself to something that I loved and to spend time doing something that would make me happy everyday. My dear friend Nicole Foos took me to lunch with Lesley Zipkin Brog. She said there were many opportunities with Wags and Walks and that I would be welcome. I was signed up before lunch ended and I have volunteered in every capacity since from helping to save dogs at the shelter, donor development and fundraising. I am so thankful to Lesley for her passion and welcoming me to the team. I am so proud of what we are doing. We are truly bringing happiness home!
Coming from ranches in Washington state, Leann is no stranger to all kinds of animals both big and small. As a child, she was always bringing home stray animals from kittens to goats. When she met Cooper ( a Pit bull previously known as Oreo) in Wags and Walks first year, there was no going back. Leann has been a volunteer since 2012, handling anything from volunteer on boarding, home checks, adoption screenings to donation letters. Generous with her time and finances, Leann has never failed to give or help when needed. In fact, her company provides matching funds on donations and donates to Wags for each hour she volunteers her time. Leann and her husband Scott, are two time Wags and Walks alumni and a recipient of our Wag-a-tarian award in 2014. Leann’s goals are to show people what amazing family friendly dogs can be found through rescuing and to dispel the negative stereotypes Pit bulls tend to have, having three of her own. Leann, Scott and their four legged children go way beyond volunteers, they are our family.
Kimmy's first introduction to Wags and Walks was spent snuggling with a litter of pitbull puppies during a "meeting" with Lesley Brog and she hasn't looked back since! Despite years of begging her parents for a dog (at age 8 she even refused to open her holiday gifts since none of the boxes were barking), her only pets growing up were hamsters, goldfish and even a newt! These days she has her very own lovable mutt named Sawyer and unlimited access to LA’s finest through Wags and Walks.
Originally from Paris, Constance has been in love with animals since before she could walk. She has a true passion for pets, especially dogs and horses. She grew up with her adorable Yorkie and had the chance to own her own horse. After living in London for 5 years where she studied, Constance moved to Los Angeles. That is when she decided it was time for her to get involved and make a difference. She joined Wags and Walks and is now the Lead Office Volunteer.
Wags and Walks had the great fortune of meeting Guillaume in 2015 and from the moment we worked with him, we knew he was “our” trainer. Not only is he one of the most likable and approachable people in the world, this man knows his stuff. He works as well with dogs as he does with people - a trait that is hard to come by. Working together, Guillaume has helped train over 500 Wags and Walks dogs and even has one of his very own. His company Go Off Leash was started in 2013 and he specializes in off leash obedience and behavior modifications. He is highly skilled, communicative and a joy to work with. Guillaume has worked with every breed of dog and we could not save the number of dogs we do without him. We are thankful to call him a partner and a friend.
Dr Jeff Werber
Dr Jeff Werber has been part of the Wags and Walks family since the day we started to rescue dogs. Our founder was raised by a veterinarian so she searched for someone who was not only an expert and a brilliant diagnostician, but also someone who was compassionate about the dogs and believed in rescue. We count on him for always being straightforward, available and there when we need him. With over 30 years of experience he is one of our go to guys for the dogs we save due to his kind and understanding approach to rescue.
Erin’s love of all animals has been with her for as long as she can remember. She was thrilled to bring her nearly 10 years of non profit fundraising experience to assist with Wags & Walks Alumni Relations Team – a perfect combination of skill and passion. A SoCal native, she resides in LA with her husband, NKLA rescue pup Lucas and rescue cat Marbles.
Chloe, a SoCal native, has been an animal lover for as long as she can remember. Her deep love for all animals comes from growing up around a variety of different pets. As a child her family had dogs, cats, chickens, a duck and a fish. Her love for animals and passion for helping others led her to major in sociology and public administration at California State University, Fullerton. After rescuing her dog, a hound-mix named Cooper, Chloe saw first-hand just how many amazing dogs were stuck in shelters and wanted to get involved in dog rescue. Interested in pursuing a career in the world of not-for-profits, specifically in dog rescue, Chloe came across Wags and Walks where she is currently the office manager at our adoption center and assists the team in rescuing as many dogs as possible.
Nicole Foos is proud and excited to be one of the fundraising chairs for Wags and Walks. An event planner, facilitator of Women’s Healing Circles, lawyer, wife and mother of two she has been a dog lover and owner virtually her whole life - currently Frankie, a pit/lab mix and Wags and Walks alumni Chester (formerly Smokey) a pit bull mix.
Betsy Rosenfeld Vargas is the author of The Complete Single's Guide to Being a Dog Owner, a blogger at LoveThyDog.com and a devoted rescuer with over 14 years experiences and thousands of animals' lives saved and or improved. That said we don't let her out much. She's a bit too tender-hearted to deal with some of the grimmer realities of rescue--she leaves those to Lesley. Instead Betsy concentrates on strategy and fundraising and that's right where we like her. Betsy lives in Beverly Hills and is the mother to three sons… one of the two-legged variety and two of the furry, four-legged kind.
Wendy, an LA native, has been an animal lover and dog obsessed her whole life. It started with Charlie, her childhood beagle dachshund mix, hamsters, a turtle and fish. Wendy, her amazing husband and their 2 awesome (now grown) kids have fostered to adopt dogs over the years, and adopted 4 rescues over the years including a shepard collie mix, a spaniel mix, a yellow lab, and a malti-poo. Wendy loves all dogs, big and small, pups and seniors. She decided to retire early from her long time career in education, educational administration, and admissions to spend her days volunteering. Once Wendy walked into Wags & Walks she found her next "home" and hasn't looked back. Wendy is passionate about rescuing and rehoming these amazing dogs and is a super happy volunteer!
Wags & Walks Executive Board
Lesley Brog Founder & Chief Animal Lover
Kimmy Kovacs President
Craig Dobbin Vice President
Erica Gately Secretary
Eric Weiss Treasurer
Barry Littman Legal