Peace of Mind Dog Rescue (POMDR) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in October 2009. Our tax ID number (TIN) is 27-1154816.
We have a lifetime commitment to all the dogs who come into our care. They will either be adopted into a wonderful, permanent home, or will live out their lives in one of our foster homes. (Sometimes when we bring a senior dog into our care, it becomes evident that he or she should not have to endure one more move or life change.)
We help senior citizens pay for veterinary care for their dogs if they are unable to afford medical expenses. We also provide temporary foster care for people who are hospitalized and dog walking for people who are no longer able to walk their dogs.
POMDR is led by a dedicated board and an incredible staff. POMDR is also supported by a network of over 600 volunteers who help with foster care, adoption events, transportation, office work, fundraising, and other tasks as they come up. We pride ourselves on adhering to the POMDR culture.
Our vision is to model lifetime care for dogs and all companion animals to help bring about a positive change in the way society thinks about and treats senior dogs, and to create better lives for them through rescue, foster, adoption, hospice and education.
Our offices and headquarters are located at the POMDR Patricia J Bauer Center at 615 Forest Avenue in Pacific Grove.
Board of Directors
(Top L-R): Cathy Heape, Elle Brookman, Tracey Pepper
(Bottom L-R): Monica Rua, Kathy Henney
Dogs (Top L-R): Buddy, Mikey, Taiko
Dogs (Bottom L-R): Zorro, Zeta, Cooper, Hershey, Bernie
President and Co-founder - Monica Rua currently shares her home with four rescue dogs from POMDR and AFRP (Animal Friends Rescue Project), and is usually fostering one or two POMDR foster dogs also.
Monica has devoted over 20 years of her life to animal rescue. She first worked with dog and cat rescue groups in the Bay Area. In 1998 she co-founded AFRP in Pacific Grove, where she served on the board for 11 years, with 8 of those years as Board President. Monica oversaw and actively participated in all aspects of the organization’s operations, including educating the public, fundraising, volunteer database management, animal tracking, and fostering many dogs and cats. She was also instrumental in helping foster families with dog behavior issues. Monica has been on the POMDR board since 2009 when she co-founded this organization with Carie Broecker.
Before launching into animal rescue, Monica was the Education Director of Happy Hollow Zoo in San Jose. Prior to that, she worked as a software engineer for NASA Johnson Space Center, Lockheed, and Sun Microsystems.
Monica holds a Master of Science in Computer Science: Artificial Intelligence (MSAI) from Stanford University and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a minor in Philosophy.
Vice President - Elle Brookman currently shares her life with four wonderful canines. Elle adopted her first two rescue dogs as youngsters during her 5-year tenure as a volunteer with AFRP in Pacific Grove. She transitioned easily to POMDR as a board member when the organization was formed in November of 2009, and it wasn’t long before rescue dogs Mayla and Mikey joined her little pack!
Prior to joining the animal rescue effort, Elle’s volunteer service included assisting in an elderly care facility for 6 years, and assisting foster youth as a CASA (court-appointed special advocate) for 7 years.
Before moving to the Monterey Peninsula and starting a staging/redesign business to assist local realtors, Elle spent her career in executive search for high tech companies, and in sales/business development for a major contract furniture company, both in the Silicon Valley. She was also a Western States Sales Manager for Steelcase, a leading furniture manufacturer.
Elle received her undergraduate degree at Katharine Gibbs College in New Jersey, and she completed her education at Syracuse University, where she majored in Sociology and Interior Design.
Treasurer - Kathy Henney shares her home with six Dachshunds, three of whom are rescues. In fact, she is what we lovingly refer to as a “foster failure,” because out of the seven POMDR dogs that Kathy has fostered, she has adopted three!
Kathy has a special interest in helping seniors and senior pets. Following her move to the Monterey Peninsula in 1996, she began her work for animals as a regular volunteer assistant to the off-site adoption coordinator at the SPCA for Monterey County. She was also a member of the St. Bernards, a group in Carmel that looks out for seniors in need of assistance. Kathy combined her desire to be of service to these two groups when she joined Peace of Mind Dog Rescue as a volunteer in April of 2010. Kathy joined the POMDR board in 2011 and became the Treasurer in 2012.
Kathy’s volunteer experience also includes serving four years with the City of Carmel on the Historic Resources Board and fourteen years with Pacific Repertory Theater. In her professional life, Kathy worked as a Registered Nurse, and she retired after a 40-year career in the operating room.
Kathy earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master’s degree in Health Care Administration from California State University, Long Beach.
Secretary - Tracey Pepper has always adopted pets from shelters and rescue organizations. She currently shares her home with three POMDR canine companions: Taiko, Sprocket and Luna.
Tracey became involved in POMDR in December of 2013 after she adopted her first POMDR dog, Nugget. Her volunteer contributions include staffing and leading adoption events, transporting dogs, conducting home checks, training foster families, and facilitating dog adoptions. Tracey graciously took on the role of Interim Dog Program Manager in 2015, and naturally transitioned to Board Member in April of 2016.
Now retired, Tracey enjoyed a 35-year career in Leadership Development, Talent Acquisition, and Organizational Effectiveness for several Fortune 500 companies including MBNA America, Bank of America, and US Airways. Tracey began her career at the US Geological Survey, working in the groundwater division.
Tracey holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration/Management from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor’s degree in Geography/Geology from Towson University in Maryland.
Board Member - Cathy Heape shares her home with rescued dogs Buddy, a Chiweenie adopted from San Jose Animal Care Center, and Bella, a Golden Retriever adopted through Rescued Love From Taiwan. Thankfully Buddy and Bella are both gracious hosts to the many foster dogs that are also regularly in residence.
Before joining the POMDR Board in 2019, Cathy volunteered first with children and seniors, and then full time in animal rescue, particularly in the area of marketing and communications. In November 2014, she cofounded Silicon Valley Pet Project. A couple years later she began volunteering with and fostering pups for Jake’s Wish Dog Rescue, and then in 2017 also joined the volunteer team at POMDR, helping with office duties, transport, special events, home checks and walking brigades.
Cathy had a 20-year career working in in-house advertising and then as a freelance production artist for several companies including JCPenney. She then left the corporate world and started her own business as a Personal Concierge and Organizer. She retired in 2011 and moved to England for two years with her husband for his work. They bought their home in Carmel in 2016 and continue to split their time between San Jose and Carmel, where she also volunteers delivering Meals on Wheels.
Cathy received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Advertising Art from North Texas State University.
(Top L-R): Carie Broecker, Bryan Van Loh
(Bottom L-R): Angela Zepp, Jessica Esparza, Allison McKee
Dogs (Top L-R): Hero, Kenji
Dogs (Bottom L-R): Zissou, Cousteau, Moon, Maya, Jackson
Executive Director and Co-founder - Carie Broecker shares her life with five lucky senior dogs, and is usually fostering multiple POMDR dogs, too.
Carie co-founded POMDR with Monica Rua in 2009. Upon its inception, she worked full time running POMDR as Board President, and in 2010 Carie won the American Red Cross Animal Rescue Hero Award for her role in starting POMDR. In 2012 she was hired as Executive Director, POMDR’s first paid staff person.
Prior to co-founding POMDR, Carie was one of the first volunteers for AFRP in Pacific Grove. She joined the AFRP board in 1999, and served for 12 years as Treasurer and unsalaried Executive Director.
Carie and her husband Scott are the publishers of Coastal Canine magazine. Carie’s other career achievements include working as a bookkeeper and accountant for several businesses. She also worked as the Client Services Director for the Monterey County AIDS Project, where her work earned her the 1994 Monterey County Outstanding Woman of the Year award.
Carie graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, minoring in Business Economics with a concentration in Accounting.
Operations Manager - Allison McKee currently shares her life with an amazing, loving, big-hearted, hilarious Border Collie mix named Jackson, whom she rescued from Manteca Animal Control in 2010 after knowing him for a mere 60 seconds! She then added POMDR dog Maya to her family, after helping capture the frightened escape artist and then falling in love with her. The two lucky pups now enjoy adventures like hiking in Yosemite with Allison and her family.
Allison attributes her love for animals to the fact that she was brought up in a family with a long history of adopting rescue dogs and cats. The family “zoo” also included horses, rats, hamsters and birds. As a kid, Allison volunteered with the SPCA, and, later, with Hope, Horses and Kids, an equine learning program that focuses on helping children, particularly those with special needs, build confidence through working with horses. This experience helped Allison realize that her true passion lay in working with animals and people, rather than in corporate management. Soon after, in May 2015, she joined the staff of POMDR. Allison did indeed find her niche, as after just two years she was promoted to Operations/Volunteer Manager overseeing all aspects of POMDR programs!
Allison’s career includes a decade in retail management with Starbucks Coffee Company, and experience working as an Educational Outreach Coordinator for the Los Padres Forest Association. She is also passionate about international politics, travel and meeting new people (and their dogs).
Allison is conversationally bilingual in Spanish, and she holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from San Francisco State University.
Adoptions Coordinator - Bryan Van Loh adopted Kenji from POMDR in August 2017. He first became involved with POMDR in July of 2015 as a Helping Paw Brigade dog-walker and a fundraising volunteer. Bryan joined the staff of POMDR in May of 2017.
Bryan’s volunteer experience includes working with The Marine Mammal Center, where he is still active in all aspects of the operation from sea lion, elephant and harbor seal rescue to re-release into the wild.
Before joining the POMDR staff, Bryan worked in guest services at the Santa Lucia Preserve. In addition, he taught high school English in Okinoshima, Japan, and acted as an ambassador for American/foreign culture in a special education school.
Bryan graduated from the University of San Francisco with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, minoring in Japanese.
Helping Paw Coordinator - Jessica Esparza shares her home with a her handsome, big, German Shepherd-Labrador Retriever mix, Moon, whom she adopted from the SPCA in March 2019.
Before Jessica was a POMDR staff member, she was a volunteer with us doing adoption events, transportation and fostering. She spent her college years volunteering at various medical clinics, and volunteered with the City of Seaside senior programs after graduating from college. She also spends time knitting baby hats and booties which she donates to hospitals in her home town of Santa Monica.
Jessica previously interned and worked as a medical assistant. She was also employed with the City of Seaside where she was the coordinator for the Oldemeyer Center’s Older Adults Program. It was while working with the city and volunteering at POMDR that she realized her passion lay with community outreach, working with older adults and animals.
In May 2017 she graduated from CSU Monterey Bay with a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology. She has plans to attain more schooling in animal behavior and to further her skills in American Sign Language.
Volunteer Coordinator - Angela Zepp shares her home with her big mixed-breed dog Zissou, who has been with her since he was 8 weeks old. She also lives with her significant other’s dog, Cousteau. Zissou and Cousteau are best buds, both named independently and coincidentally after oceanographers.
Before joining the POMDR staff in November 2018, Angela volunteered with Meals on Wheels. Having a passion for dogs, she became aware that some of her clients there had dogs who they were physically unable to walk. She learned there was an organization which provided that service, which is how she found out about POMDR! She is now thrilled to be helping both senior people and senior dogs.
Angela is a marine biologist by trade. She has been lucky enough to work in that capacity in Alaska, Hawaii, Catalina Island, and most recently, the Bahamas. While there, she also worked for a local nonprofit to restore native plants, and enjoyed seeing the positive effects of her labors.
Angela received her Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology and Marine Biology with a minor in Scientific Diving from Humboldt State University. While studying there, she co-founded the Animal Behavior Club. She recently earned her Master’s degree in Marine Science from Moss Landing Marine Labs.
Debbie Blue joined the advisory council in 2019. She shares her home with Fluffy, a 12-year-old Poodle, who she adopted from Peace of Mind Dog Rescue in 2018. Fluffy is the third dog she has adopted from POMDR.
Debbie has always been a dog lover, and due to allergies has always had Poodles, usually several at a time. Debbie started volunteering with POMDR in 2010 after adopting a blind Poodle named Daphne from us. She has filled many volunteer roles over the years including adoption events coordinator, helping put together adoption contracts, and volunteering as our Construction Manager during the building of our veterinary clinic.
Debbie and her husband Ron purchased List Engineering in 1986. Debbie has been COO of List Engineering as well as a second company in San Francisco for over 30 years. She has been involved in all aspects of running the businesses including Human Resources, Insurance, Accounting, IT, and Project Management.
Patrick Casey became involved with Peace of Mind Dog Rescue in February of 2012 when he and his family fostered Charlotte, a sweet little Pomeranian/Terrier mix. A week later, they adopted her! “There was no way we could give her up,” Patrick says. He joined the POMDR Advisory Council in 2017.
When he is not acting as a member of the POMDR Advisory Council, Patrick keeps busy as a practicing business attorney. He has been with the L+G law firm for over 17 years, where his CPA license and 24 years of experience allow him to effectively represent clients in complicated real estate deals, corporate negotiations, and closings.
Patrick has a variety of nonprofit volunteer experience as well. He served the YMCAs of Monterey and San Benito Counties on the Board of Directors, and in various aspects of community campaign support over two decades. He also served on the Board of Directors for the Grower Shipper Association Foundation and for the Monterey County Barristers Association.
Patrick is a graduate of the Leadership Salinas Valley program, and the AgKnowledge program. He holds a Bachelor's degree from Albion College and a JD degree from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.
Barbara DeGroodt shares her life with a 15-year-old Chihuahua mix, a little red-headed terrier, an oversized Yorkie mix and two Rottweilers.
Barbara has been involved with animal rescue and volunteering for as long as she can remember. She used to run a private Rottweiler rescue, and she has been a volunteer with POMDR since its inception, helping with dog evaluations, transportation, dog training and behavior counseling.
Barbara has a keen interest in animal behavior, and she holds certificates from multiple training seminars. Barbara has worked with trainers in India, New Zealand, Thailand, Spain and all over the United States. Barbara currently speaks at three Carrington College campuses for the vet tech behavior segment, and she has worked with the Venezuela airport drug detection dogs. Barbara was awarded Trainer of the Year at a Westminster pre-show event. With all her excellent experience, Barbara is a natural choice to join the POMDR Advisory Council!
Barbara earned a Bachelor's degree in Animal Science, and she is working on a Masters degree from University of Edinburgh.
Megan Moon has devoted her life to the humane treatment of animals. She has over 10 years of experience in nonprofit leadership and animal welfare, including program management, development, special events, strategic planning, humane education, volunteer management, marketing, public relations and grant writing.
Megan’s volunteer experience is vast and includes many humanitarian relief efforts, as well as animal welfare organizations, such as Animal Friends Rescue Project, Mercy for Animals, and Wags Inn Canine Charities. She not only serves on the POMDR Advisory Council, Megan also currently serves as Board President for regional nonprofit UnChained, and she is a member of the Association of Professional Humane Educators (APHE).
Megan’s professional credentials include working in several capacities with the San Francisco SPCA, the Humane Society of Greater Dayton, the Society for the Improvement of Conditions for Stray Animals, and the Institute for Humane Education. Now based in San Antonio, Texas, she continues her good work for animals as Founder & President of Humane Education Coalition.
Megan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Humane Leadership from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2011. She also became a Certified Humane Education Specialist (CHES) through the Humane Society Academy in Washington, D.C. in 2009, and she earned an Animal-Assisted Therapy Certification (AAT-C) at Oakland University of Rochester, Michigan in 2017.
Henry Nigos has always had dogs since he was little, and he currently shares his home with Elvis, whom he adopted from the SPCA in 2007. He has fostered at least six POMDR pups since he started fostering in 2009. Henry became a member of the POMDR Finance Advisory Committee in 2013 and then became a member of the POMDR Advisory Council in 2017. He finds it “an honor and a privilege to be able to help serve an organization that focuses on serving the needs of senior dogs and seniors in our community.”
Henry has a long history of volunteer service. His past and present commitments include Board Member for the Monterey Junior Tennis Association, Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce Board Member and Chairman of the Board, Oversight Finance Committee member for the Pacific Grove Unified School District, Forest Grove Elementary School drop-off traffic control, Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History Marketing Committee, Pacific Grove Rotary member, and Pacific Grove Downtown Business Improvement District Board member.
Henry is president and owner of his own wealth management company, Nigos Investments, Inc. He is a United States Air Force military veteran with much active duty leadership training. Henry holds a Bachelor’s Degree from San Francisco State University.