Meet Your Family's New Best Friends
Melissa
Founder
Melissa has been a passionate animal advocate her entire life- rescuing  stray animals and  injured wildlife, and working for better care and treatment of animals. Melissa has 15 years of experience caring for animals in a professional capacity.  She has fostered hospice dogs for Papillon 911, as well as hospice cats and rabbits for local shelters and rescue groups.  She is very experienced with animals who have  medical and behavioral needs. 

Melissa is also enthusiastic about animal welfare legislation and works to advance legal protections for all animals, both domestic and  wild. Her other professional experience is as a workplace inclusion and diversity advocate for people who have disabilities,  and she has won several awards  for her work in this area.

In her free time Melissa enjoys camping, hiking, reading, gardening, cooking, listening to podcasts, and spending time with her wife Dawn. 

Melissa shares her life with Charlotte & Alice, Chihuahuas adopted locally;  Pierre, a  foster failure from Papillon 911; Paco, a former Puerto Rican street dog (sato); Cecil, a cat who decided he is not quite feral; Gertrude (Cecil's girlfriend), a lop eared bunny found in Homewood; Ollivander, a ferret found in the Allegheny National Forest, and his BFF Lola, a ferret who was surrendered by someone who could not care for her.  

Melissa is pictured with Evie, a very happy Merry Puppins client. 
Rachel
Care Concierge
Rachel is a lifelong animal lover.  Both professionally and personally, she has  always been surrounded by animals!

As the former owner of a natural pet supply store, Rachel has encountered many opportunities to foster and adopt animals in need. At one point, Rachel shared her home with 1 husband, 2 daughters, 3 dogs, 5 rats, 1 mouse, 1 chinchilla (a foster failure), 10 chickens (technically in the yard, not the house), 1 duck, and several fish. Rachel regularly fosters kittens for local shelters, and has a knack for rescuing kittens on her own as well. She has also fostered guinea pigs and a hedgehog. 

Although over time the menagerie has dwindled, Rachel's love of animals has not. She is pictured here with Milo, who was found in Frick Park as a puppy.

Family is Rachel's other passion- she spends much time carting her 2 avid soccer players around the country for their sport. She also enjoys building things, using power tools, being crafty, and traveling. 
Jo
Animal Caregiver
Growing up, Jo spent summers and holidays  on her grandmother's farm, and weeks away at 4H camps. Plus, there were always animals at home. Jo's father ran a kennel and fully accredited kennel college, complete with boarding, training, and grooming services- and Jo learned a lot! 

In 2010, she began Maxi Nation Petography. Jo is a talented photographer who has provided services for many charitable photo events, as well as beloved images for families. 

In 2016, Jo and her husband suffered the immeasurable loss of a heart dog, Rufus, to Lyme Nephritis. She began searching for a way to heal from this loss, connect more with animals and their people, and help animals live longer, healthier lives. She found pawTree and joined them to promote holistic nutritional solutions for furry family members. Jo would be happy to leave you some samples or talk with you about products- at your request only!

When Melissa approached Jo about joining the Merry Puppins team, it seemed like the perfect fit for the direction life has been taking her. She is thrilled to be on board and loves all her  new friends!

Jo is pictured with her canine kiddos  Maxi & Buddy Love.
Adrienne
Animal Caregiver
Adrienne joined the Merry Puppins team in May 2019. She was a veterinary technician for 8 years and worked in emergency and critical care, as well as routine veterinary medicine. She has worked with animals large and small—from guinea pigs to chickens,   llamas and horses, and of course cats and dogs. Adrienne prides  herself on her bedside manner with sick and injured animals. She is also an avid equestrian. With a lifelong love of animals, Adrienne is happy to join the team!  

Adrienne lives with her dog Myron (pictured here) and cat Pouncey, in the Northside of Pittsburgh. In her free time Adrienne enjoys yoga, hiking, biking, and crafts.

Jacqueline
Animal Caregiver
​​Jacqueline grew up in Columbia, South Carolina and moved to the Steel City for school in 2012.   Jacqueline has Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh & a   graduate certificate in Wildlife Forensics and Conservation from the University of Florida.  She is planning to apply to veterinary school next! Jacqueline  is extraordinarily passionate about animal care! She  has more than 10,000 combined animal and veterinary hours in a variety of volunteer, internship/ externship, and employment positions.  She also is fluent in American Sign Language. 

Jacqueline lives with her own mini menagerie of animal friends including Ladybug the Pug, three cats: Cookie, Rugrat, and Werewolf, and rabbit Elephant …. Oh! And her boyfriend, Steve, too!  

Jacqueline proudly joined the Merry Puppins team in June 2019.  She is seen here with two blood donor residents at the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, Kentucky.
Dawn
Technical Guru
Dawn's animal care skills were learned growing up in the country on her grandparent's farm. Since then, she has shared her life with many animals of all shapes and sizes.

Dawn is a US Air Force Senior Master Sargeant managing construction projects at the 911 Air Force Base, and is also a Professional Engineer.  She enjoys working on technical stuff for Merry Puppins, making sure everything is running smoothly and meeting our high standards. She also loves visting and getting to know all her MP friends.  

Dawn is a CrossFit enthusiast, and enjoys hiking and camping. She volunteers at Animal Friends 3 times per week, helping cats and rabbits get ready to be adopted.  She fell in love with a persnickity cat she worked with during her yellow level cat training, and now Bridget is part of the family. She is pictured here with her feline overlord, Dusty.