Our Team

My Dog Is My Home acknowledges that all of our staff are located on lands that belong to indigenous people of North America.

Emma's cat -- Bagheera

Emma's cat -- Bagheera

EMMA NEWTON, MS - Executive Director

Milwaukie, Oregon - Chinook lands

Emma is a graduate of Vermont Law School's Masters of Food and Agriculture Law and Policy program and holds an MS in Anthrozoology from Canisius College. Emma focuses on the intersection between human health, animal welfare, and environmental conservation in policy and community organizing in our industrial food system. Emma first became interested in the human-animal bond as it relates to homelessness through her volunteer work for the Portland Animal Welfare Team. Through research for her thesis on housing barriers for homeless individuals and companion animals, Emma became connected with The Animal Museum and the My Dog Is My Home exhibition. Emma brings a background in international research ethics, IRB research law, community organizing, capacity building, and cross-cultural communication to her work as interim executive director with My Dog is My Home .

Elizabeth's dog -- Tootsie

Elizabeth's dog -- Tootsie

Elizabeth Anderson - Communications Coordinator

Ft. Collins, Colorado - Arapaho, Cheyenne, Ute, Očeti Šakówiŋ (Sioux) lands

Elizabeth is an alumna of AmeriCorps National Civilian Conservation Corps where she served over eight non-profits with work varying from humanitarianism to animal advocacy. She is an animal shelter volunteer enthusiast and an aspiring service animal trainer for children with Autism and people with hearing loss. She is currently pursuing studies in animal behavior. Elizabeth has been traveling the USA for 7 years in a motorhome and has been to all of the contiguous United States. Her top three favorite things are vinegar chips, the ocean, and her very sassy dog, Tootsie. 

Steffen and Jitterbug

Steffen and Jitterbug

Steffen Baldwin & Katie Flannery - Dog Training TeaM, Los angeles

Acton, CA - Fernandeño Tataviam lands

Steffen is an army veteran with a background in nonprofit administration. He spent ten years in Ohio running Humane Societies, working as an animal cruelty investigator, and forming his own nonprofit organization dedicated to helping undeserved and at risk animals in rural counties. In 2016, Steffen started Save Them Dog Training to focus on bite/behavior cases, and relocated to his home state of California in the beginning of 2018. Prior to his work with animals, Steffen was a case manager and program manager for a homeless resource center in southern California. During childhood, Steffen experienced homeless himself. After completing his original army assignment at West Point, Steffen pursued a degree of Public Administration at California State San Bernardino and Regis University. Steffen currently lives in Acton, CA, where he cares for approximately 30 dogs on a 10 acre ranch. 

Pouneh and her friend's dog Scooby

Pouneh and her friend's dog Scooby

Pouneh Behin, DVM - Public Health Veterinarian

Los Angeles, CA - Tongva lands

Pouneh Behin was raised in Switzerland by Iranian immigrant parents and migrated to the greater Los Angeles area as a teenager. For the last 15 years, she has been a transnational community organizer for racial justice, refugee support, immigration, workers' rights, human rights in Palestine, the rest of Southwest Asia/North Afrika and Latin America, QTPOC advocacy and access to education. Pouneh was part of SJA's "Food Not Bombs" project for two years, which distributed healthy and fresh foods on a weekly basis to those experiencing homelessness in West Los Angeles. Her connection to animals started as a small child rescuing injured animals from the nearby forest in her neighborhood and transformed into a lifelong commitment to veterinary medicine and public health. As a small veterinarian in West Los Angeles, she has had several clients with pets experiencing homelessness and she is dedicated to ensuring that veterinary medicine is accessible to all. Pouneh holds a B.A. from UCLA in French (Literature) and minor in Middle Eastern & North African Studies, a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from Western University of Health Sciences, and has received extensive veterinary public health/global health training from the Ohio State University. Pouneh is the proud owner of a red-eared slider and believes in the right for pets and their families to stay together regardless of housing status. 

Richard's dog -- Ralph

Richard's dog -- Ralph

Richard Encarnacion, MPA - Human Resources & Volunteer Manager

Long Island City, NY - Lenape and Canarsie lands

Richard currently uses his data analysis skills to improve HR practices at the New York City Department of Education to benefit the 1.1 million New York City public school students. He graduated with his Masters of Public Affairs in December 2017 from Baruch College in New York City. Richard met his dog Ralph while working for an animal welfare organization providing assistance to low-income families. He was named after the main character in the film Wreck It Ralph due to his love for destruction.

Eric’s animals -- Peach and Herbs (brother and sister pair) and Champion, very upset that they took his chair.

Eric’s animals -- Peach and Herbs (brother and sister pair) and Champion, very upset that they took his chair.

Eric lindgren -director of research

Pomona, CA - Tongva lands

Eric Lindgren and his wife  currently care for our many rescue cats and dogs in Pomona, Ca. Eric is a professor of politics and government analytics, teaching statistics, survey methodology, urban analytics, and courses in American government in online and in-person formats. He earned his BA from San Francisco State University, and his PhD from the University of Oregon. Eric is dedicated to social justice, reducing urban poverty, promoting animal welfare and veganism, and improving political representation.

Alynn's dog -- Skiff

Alynn's dog -- Skiff

Alynn Evans - Co-sheltering Collaborative assistant 

Denver, CO - Arapaho, Cheyenne, Ute, Očeti Šakówiŋ (Sioux) lands

Alynn currently lives in Denver, CO. She works at a natural pet company and trains dogs in her spare time. Always looking for ways to incorporate her passion for animal behavior and art, Alynn strives to facilitate compassion for human-animal interaction. Her love for animals has lead her to several animal welfare organizations and opportunities - interning at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, volunteering in the behavior department at the Denver Dumb Friends League, and studying free-roaming dogs in Arusha, Tanzania. Alynn graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with degrees in Neuroscience and Art History and received her dog training certification (CCPDT-KA) in spring of 2018. She shares her home and life with her boyfriend and their pint-sized adventure buddy, Skiff. 

Lauren and Zoey

Lauren and Zoey

Lauren Mccolloch - Development director 

New York City, NY - Lenape and Canarsie lands

Lauren brings experience in grant writing, donor relations, and fundraising strategy to the MDIMH team. Based in New York City, she teaches yoga, volunteers with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, and works at the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (OCRA) in donor relations. Lauren has a deep interest in the development of programs and policies that support the health and well-being of individuals and their families. Lauren received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Hunter College and her Master of Public Administration in Health Policy from the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College.

She lives in Astoria with her boyfriend and cannot wait to share their home with a new pet. Until then, she finds joy in the occasional company of her favorite dog in the entire world, her mom’s dog, Zoey.

Roswell’s cat -- Celeste

Roswell’s cat -- Celeste

ROSWELL asonibe - research assistant

Austin, TX - Tonkawa and Nʉmʉnʉʉ (Comanche) lands

Roswell has a worked previously for a non-profit organization (doing youth education), then, as a barista, and currently works in the residential housing industry. Growing up in suburbia and away from big cities, Roswell took a senior class trip to Los Angeles - they volunteered at the Dream Center and picked up trash on skid row, and there Roswell was first confronted with the reality of homelessness in the US. This experience put many things into perspective for them, and underpins a conviction to help make a difference in society. Roswell holds a Bachelor's degree in Architectural Studies and is currently pursuing a certificate in Data-Driven Decision Making (Data Science). Roswell has somehow won the (sporadic) affections of a pretty kitty named Celeste, who often likes to show that affection by licking Roswell on the hands.

Connor’s dog -- Richard

Connor’s dog -- Richard

Connor Zarkowski - research assistant

Brooklyn, NY - Lenape and Canarsie lands

Connor lives in Brooklyn and is a cook at Gabriel Kreuther in Manhattan. Before entering the world of fine dining he completed an undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan. He later obtained a certification in data analysis with the hope of using data to create positive social change. He currently lives with his roommates' cats, Tillian and Ezra, and checks in often with his parents' cat, Winnie, and dog, Richard.

Uri's cats -- Lanna and Tommy

Uri's cats -- Lanna and Tommy

URI Fintzy - Graphic Designer 

New York City, NY - Lenape and Canarsie lands

Uri is a graphic designer with experience in marketing, branding and journalism. He volunteered in the past at homeless shelters in Brooklyn and in Vancouver, and is a proud supporter of a local cat rescue in his neighborhood of Hell's Kitchen in New York City, as well as a wild animal and elephant orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya. Uri Graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism and Communications. He loves traveling and is the proud father of his two cats, Lanna and Tommy.

Matthew's cat -- Diggie

Matthew's cat -- Diggie

Matthew Lerch, ESQ - Legal Counsel

Queens, NY - Lenape and Canarsie lands

Matthew is a lawyer dedicated to the universal right to quality housing. His legal housing work includes constituent service housing cases for elected officials, former service as the president of a tenant association, and volunteer representation in housing court. Matthew’s professional affiliations include memberships to the New York City Bar, Queens Bar (committees - Animal Law, Labor Relations, Landlord and Tenant Law, LGBT law), and LeGal the greater LGBT Bar Association of New York. Matthew received his BA from NYU with a concentration in the Politics of Social Justice and his JD from CUNY School of Law. He currently cares for a semi-feral indoor/outdoor cat that came with his apartment. The cat enjoys eating mushrooms picked out of takeout, dancing in the rain, and sunbathing on the fire escape.

Felicia’s dog -- Dash

Felicia’s dog -- Dash

felicia crivello - policy and campaigns coordinator

New York City, NY - Lenape and Canarsie lands

Felicia was recently the first non-law student to intern within the legal department of Mercy for Animals, an international non-profit that advocates for farmed animal protection. She currently works for a law firm that practices Real Estate law, where she became interested in NYC regulations surrounding housing and “pet” ownership. Felicia holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Psychology and wrote her thesis on cross-cultural mental health-seeking behavior. As a master’s student in the Marxe School for Public and International Affairs, she focuses on animal rights, environmental policy, and urban development. She is also a student in the Harvard Extension School, studying sustainability and food production policy. She has mainly contributed research and policy insight to cellular agriculture and questions regarding speciesism and non-human/human rights. She loves spending time with her mischievous rescue Shiba Inu, Dash. Dash loves snuggling up in plush blankets, howling at UPS trucks, and snacking on white rice.

Dana and Special One Six

Dana and Special One Six

Dana Teel, MS - Animal Care liaison

Providence, RI - Narragansett and Wampanoag lands

Dana currently lives in Providence, RI and is currently the Cat Program Coordinator at the Providence Animal Rescue League. She is also a recent graduate of the Master of Science Anthrozoology program at Canisius College. Dana's love for animals began as a young child and since then her passion for animal welfare issues and the human-animal bond has continued to develop, with particular interest in animal behavior, animal health, and pet retention programs. She is excited to use her experience and passions to promote programs and best-practices that support the well-being of animals and the humans that care for them. Dana currently shares her home with her cat Special One Six, although she shares her heart with many more cats and dogs, both past and present. She enjoys reading, yoga, and spending time outdoors.

Mayra’s cat -- Oreo

Mayra’s cat -- Oreo

Mayra Bermeo - Outreach Communications Organizer (NYC) 

New York City, NY- Lenape and Canarsie lands

Mayra was born and raised in Jackson Heights, NY. She earned her MS in Animals and Public Policy from Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. Her thesis explored how community-based veterinary and human medicine are taking One Health and One Welfare approach to address the social and medical needs of marginalized populations and their companion animals. Her focus is using research and policy to understand the human-animal-environment bond further. She aspires to be an advocate for animal welfare and environmental justice. Her connection to animals started at a young age when she and her family helped rescue and rehome kittens in their neighborhood. After completing her B.A. in Biology from Wells College, she worked as a vet assistant for a small animal clinic and volunteered for the Wild Bird Fund, NYC’s only wildlife rehabilitation center. She currently works at the WBF as an animal care manager and rehabber. She’s a proud mom of three rescued cats, Oreo, April and Matilda. You’ll often find them in the attic looking out the window bird-watching.


Board of Directors

Ann's cat -- Sula

Ann's cat -- Sula

Ann English

Los Angeles, CA - Tongva lands

Ann is a Program Manager at Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH). She is also spearheading CSH's Supporting Housing Community Advocates Program, which empowers peers to use their stories to promote supportive housing. Ann was the PATH Hollywood shelter director in 2008 and was responsible for opening the shelter's adjoining kennel space for homeless residents' companion animals.

Chris' cat -- Chloe

Chris' cat -- Chloe

Christopher White, MFA

Los Angeles, CA - Tongva lands

Chris White has worked on a wide variety of film and television productions and has overseen post production on the award-winning documentary For the Love of Liberty: The Story of America's Black Patriots and popular television series including Californication, Heroes Reborn, and The Florence Henderson Show. In 2014, Chris launched his own production company, Anabatic Entertainment, which is devoted to developing and producing enlightening, inspiring, and engaging entertainment. His work has earned him membership into the Producers Guild of America as well as the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

Carolyn's dog -- Sophia

Carolyn's dog -- Sophia

Carolyn Merino Mullin, MNM

Los Angeles, CA - Tongva lands

Carolyn is the founder and director of The Animal Museum in Los Angeles, CA. She has over 16 years of experience in the nonprofit sector and a long history of successful animal protection legislative campaigns. On the museum front, she has been involved in all aspects of museology including work with The Miami Science Museum, Casa Dolores, and the Miami Children's Museum. In 2016, she was awarded the Belton Mouras Grassroots Leadership Award from the National Council for Animal Protection. 

Steven’s Dog -- Min-li

Steven’s Dog -- Min-li

Steven hornsby

New York City, NY - Lenape and Canarsie lands

Steven lives in NYC, where one of his favorite things to do is walk with his dog, Min-li, in Riverside Park.  A lifelong animal lover, Steven is a social worker and currently the Director of the Safe and Secure Home Program at the Jewish Board.  This program provides services to supportive housing residents to help them maintain healthy living environments.  He has worked for many years in programs assisting people experiencing homelessness, including shelters, drop-in centers and mental health treatment programs.  In this work, Steven has seen the struggles of people with companion animals facing barriers to accessing shelter and housing.   Steven is a graduate of the Silberman School of Social Work of Hunter College in New York City.

Camela and Chili Dog

Camela and Chili Dog

Camela morrissey

Port Chester, NY - Lenape lands

Camela considers herself lucky to have participated in significant changes in the healthcare business that have improved how care is delivered to people who find themselves in the vulnerable role of “the patient.” As a marketing and strategic communications executive with more than 25 years of management experience, she now leads Amerge LLC, her own consultancy. Camela earned a BA in journalism, with minors in marketing and advertising from the University of Rhode Island and spent some time at Columbia University and New York University as a non-matriculated social work student. She also developed curricula and taught strategic communications in a startup master’s level program at Columbia.

“When I see someone without a home – whether due to a disaster, or their life circumstances – and they have a pet that they are trying to care for and keep safe even when it means they risk more – I admire them, and my heart breaks for them. My dog is nearly 13 and our adventures together are now limited to how far her aging body can go on any given day. Some days the arthritis et al. wins, and some days her indomitable will and spirit win. I’d do anything to keep her and my cats safe and comfortable, and I’d like to think that if my life circumstances changed and I lost our home – that I would be as half as strong, resourceful and determined to keep us all together as are the people are who are supported by the groundbreaking work of My Dog Is My Home.”

Her personal interests include tennis, conservation of wolves, literacy for children, adults and patients, Italy and great novels.


Advisory Council

Kate's family's dog -- Maple

Kate's family's dog -- Maple

Kate Cahill

Wappingers Fall, NY - Lenape and Mohican lands

Kate Cahill is an architect and researcher in the Master of Design Studies program at the Harvard Graduate School of Design where she studies Urbanism, Landscape and Ecology and serves as the lead research assistant for the Mumbai Portal of the Harvard-Mellon Urban Initiative. Recent work includes research on the paradox of affordable housing shortage and neighborhood abandonment in Cancún, Mexico; and the interrelationships of housing, livelihoods and urban form in Mumbai, India. She is currently interested in the development of inclusive forms of collaborative practice; coastal resilience and adaptation planning; and the intersection of social justice and urban design. Kate is co-founder of the GSD Design Research Forum and co-edits the student journal Process.  She is a 2015 AAUW Selected Professions Fellow, a recipient of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies Research Fellowship, and a board director of the Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art, Nature and Dance (iLAND) in New York City.

Dr. Irvine's dog -- Louie

Dr. Irvine's dog -- Louie

Leslie Irvine, PhD

Longmont, CO - Arapaho Cheyenne, Ute, Očeti Šakówiŋ (Sioux) lands

Leslie Irvine is Professor of Sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Primarily a social psychologist, her research focuses on the roles of animals in society. Her latest book, My Dog Always Eats First: Homeless People and Their Animals (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2013), examines homeless people's relationships with their companion animals. In addition, Dr. Irvine has studied animal sheltering, human-animal play, selfhood among animals, and the feminizations of veterinary medicine. Dr. Irvine's book, If You Tame Me: Understanding our Connection with Animals (Temple University Press, 2004), received the Distinguished Scholarship Award from the Animals & Society Section of the American Sociological Association. 

Chance's cat -- Thomas

Chance's cat -- Thomas

Chance Krempasky, WHNP-BC

New York City, NY - Lenape lands

Chance Krempasky is a vegan cyclist, house plant enthusiast, and mediator. He works as a family nurse practitioner specializing in queer and transgender medicine, harm reduction, and care for people living with HIV. He is a practice leader at New York Insight Meditation Center, and is a co-author of Developing Trans*Competence: A Short Guide to Improving Transgender Experiences at Meditation and Retreat Centers.

Melody's dogs -- Chicken and Waffles

Melody's dogs -- Chicken and Waffles

Melody Martinez, CVT

Portland, OR - Chinook lands

Melody is a Certified Veterinary Technician with a decade of experience in small and large animal medicine. She grew up in low-income housing where companion animals were not allowed. She knows firsthand the love and security a companion animal gives and is familiar with the fear and frustration of having to find creative ways to keep her four-legged family members "secret" from housing authorities. Melody is a community organizer, facilitator, and racial equity consultant. In Portland, OR, she has primarily worked with statewide non-profits to oversee programmatic work and organizational development focused on creating meaningful, just outcomes for historically underserved communities. In her current role as Oregon Program Manager at Social Justice Fund NW, she organizes and trains community members to understand power and privilege and fundraise for social change.

Erica's cats -- Buster and Billie Holiday

Erica's cats -- Buster and Billie Holiday

Erica Tumbaga, LCSW

Los Angeles, CA - Tongva lands

Erica is a licensed clinical social worker committed to community mental health. She specializes in providing therapeutic individual and group services that recognize and treat trauma in the homeless population. Previously, Erica worked as a clinician for Project 50--a multi-disciplinary treatment team which provides holistic services to Los Angeles' 50 most vulnerable, chronically homeless individuals. Erica is currently a clinician at the John Wesley Community Health Institute in addition to having a private practice. She received her MSW from Columbia University.

Michael J. Smith, PhD, MSW

New York City, NY - Lenape lands

Dr. Smith has provided research and statistical consultation to Human Genetics students on their thesis projects for 15 years. He also has taught a program evaluation course in the Health Advocacy Program at Sarah Lawrence College. He is Professor Emeritus at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College and in the PhD Program in Social Welfare at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Dr. Smith has authored two texts on program evaluation and numerous single and co-authored articles, the most recent published last year in the American Journal of Public Health. He received his PhD from Columbia University School of Social Work, his MSW from University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work, and his BA from Seton Hall University. 


Our Founder

Christine's cat -- Mao

Christine's cat -- Mao

Christine Kim, MSW 

Ridgewood, NY - Lenape and Canarsie lands

Christine is a macro social worker with a specialized interest in building programs and policies that recognize the power of the human-animal bond. During her time working in supportive housing, Christine became acutely aware of the barriers people experiencing homelessness with animal face when attempting to access shelter and housing services. Christine’s research and work with human-animal homeless families includes a publication in the pioneering book Animals in Social Work: Why and How They Matter (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), an exhibition for The Animal Museum called My Dog Is My Home and the founding of the non-profit organization by the same name.