Heather

Heather Owen

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Heather Owen co-founded One Tail at a Time in 2008 while attending law school. She helped run the organization while practicing litigation in Cook County until 2015. That year she left her career to help One Tail open the Adoption Center and begin to reach its potential. Since then she has served as the Executive Director where she has been passionate about implementing progressive programming to address the problem of needless euthanasia. Heather is passionate about social justice, good books, and finding the best veggie tacos in the city. She is almost always accompanied by her One Tail alum and adventure buddy Trout.

Anna Johnson

SHELTER DIRECTOR

Anna Johnson has worked with dogs for over 20 years, beginning as a kennel worker and veterinary technician before spending 8 years as manager of Chicago Canine Rescue, where she fell in love with the Chicago rescue community. She loves working with vets to create meaningful partnerships to benefit animals in need, and finding creative solutions for providing rescue dogs with high quality vet care. When she’s not poking dogs with needles, Anna can be found at the barn with her horse, out for a run with her dogs, or eating all the pastries with friends.

Mindy Scott

DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR

Mindy is an animal lover who grew up in rural Michigan. She is passionate about helping others and working to make the world a more equitable place. She is excited to bring her fundraising experience, entrepreneurial spirit, and creativity to the OTAT team. Her fundraising moto is - if everyone does a little, no one has to do a lot. She is inspired by the dedication of the One Tail community and is honored to be able to use her skills as a fundraiser to help save more lives! Mindy enjoys trying new things and loves spending the day gardening or at the beach.
Darlene

Darlene Pereda

DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT & PARTNERSHIPS

Darlene’s drive to make positive change in the lives of vulnerable people (both human & animal) first led her to start volunteering with Chicago rescues in 2012. Since completing her M.S. in International Public Service at DePaul University in 2015, she has worked with nonprofit organizations focused on issues like youth homelessness, type 1 diabetes research, and community-based healthcare. After volunteering at several Community Pet Days, the Parvo Prevention Project, and CACC, Darlene recognized the huge shortage of veterinary, educational, and financial resources in Chicago’s historically underserved communities. As Community Engagement Manager, Darlene helps OTAT bring culturally competent, innovative, life-saving programming to Chicago’s homeless pets and communities in need of better access to high-quality, affordable veterinary care and compassionate pet owner support. Outside of OTAT, Darlene loves spending time with her own two dogs, Sen & Lindy, volunteering with other local organizations, and growing a nonprofit she co-founded dedicated to expanding financial literacy skills.

Jennifer Rogers

ADOPTION MANAGER

Jennifer was in the catering and events industry for over 15 years before coming to OTAT. Jennifer began looking to volunteer with a non-profit after her children went to college, and with her love of dogs quickly settled in as OTAT’s volunteer coordinator. She fell head over heels in love with rescue and recently left her job to join the staff full time as an Adoption Coordinator. When not making matches for OTAT dogs or driving them around the city, Jennifer spends her time cooking for friends and family or relaxing with her husband + two dogs, Violet and Otis.

Kerry Panzone

ISO HOUSE MANAGER

Kerry Panzone has worked in various shelters in the Chicagoland area for the past 14 years. In her most recent position as Rescue Coordinator for an Animal Control shelter, she worked with dozens of rescue groups in the area and decided One Tail at a Time was the one she wanted to become more involved with. Kerry started out as an OTAT foster home, then joined the associate board, and now runs our intake and foster programs! When she’s not at the shelter, you can find Kerry hiking across the country, going to local shows, or bartending on the weekends.
Maggie

Maggie Hudson

DEVELOPMENT MANAGER

Maggie’s animal advocacy began at age 12 when she made a PowerPoint presentation to convince her family to go vegetarian. After moving to Chicago in 2016, she started volunteering with One Tail and adopted her own OTAT dog, Piper, in 2018. Maggie has a background in nonprofit communications and fundraising and is overjoyed that she gets to use that experience to benefit the rescue pets of Chicago. When she’s not chatting with people about rescue dogs for work, she likes to chat with people about rescue dogs for fun. She also enjoys gardening, pottery, and exploring the neighborhoods of Chicago.

Kimberly Thomas

MARKETING MANAGER

Kim has nearly six years of experience working and volunteering in her passion field of animal welfare in her hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Kim's favorite part about her job is getting creative to showcase adoptable animals. When she's not working, you can find Kim playing badminton, tending to her houseplants, or gushing over her dog and cat.

Amber Severance

SOCIALIZATION & ENRICHMENT COORDINATOR

Amber is a serial OTAT foster and volunteer turned staff member. She loves advocating for special needs animals and prides herself in hands-on handling. You’ll find her around town with her pack of pups or hanging around the Isolation House with the newbies. Her favorite thing at OTAT is playgroups, but temperament testing newbies at the city shelters is a close second.
Ian

Ian Widner

CAT FOSTER PROGRAM MANAGER

Ian grew up in Bradenton, Florida and moved to Chicago in 2016. He got his start in the veterinary field while working for a service dog training facility back home in Florida. After moving to Chicago, he spent four years working as a veterinary technician in shelter medicine prior to joining the OTAT team. Outside of work you can find Ian discussing reality TV with his cat Ralphie, struggling to keep his plants alive, or vacuuming endless amounts of cat hair off of everything he owns.

Allyson Rosenthal - Coming Soon

ADOPTION CENTER MANAGER

Allyson has been involved in rescue since 2009 as a volunteer, board member, and shelter manager of Heartland Animal Shelter in the north suburbs. She loves watching an animal blossom from intake to adoption, and is particularly passionate about advocating for our local dogs. Having been raised with foster siblings, in her free time she serves as a mentor at a group home for kids in foster care, and generally strives to be a voice for the forgotten members of our society whether animals or children. She was drawn to OTAT because of its community- centric model that sees people as part of the solution and not the problem. Allyson has an MA in English Lit and after putting her baby to bed in the evening, loves to read the latest fiction and/or write fiery political op-eds in the Notes app on her phone that no one will ever read.

Elisse LaRoche

TORTIE & CO MANAGER

Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Elisse has been volunteering in the Chicago animal rescue community for over a decade. While most of that experience has been with dogs, cats are her one true love. In 2021, she opened One Tail at a Time's Cat Adoption center/Gift shop, Tortie & Co. When she's not in the shop, she is probably reading books about communism and having very loud opinions on the internet. She also loves Batman.

Daniel Manriquez - Coming Soon

FINANCE MANAGER

Coming Soon!
Perla

Perla Sánchez Aparicio

OUTREACH COORDINATOR

Perla began her journey with One Tail at a Time back in 2018 as a foster and later as part of the inaugural class of the Behavior Support Program. In March 2020 She was hired as One Tail at a Time’s Behavior Center Manager. There she helped dogs and fosters learn how to be their best selves. As the Community Outreach Program expanded she was overjoyed to join the team and start making tangible change in her community. As the Outreach Coordinator for Pet Mutual Aid, Perla is able to make connections with our community leaders, bring resources and support to community members in need and pave a new way in rescue. When Perla’s not thinking about PMA or funny memes, she’s probably laying around with her OTAT dog Guava and planning her next meal!

Bailey McConnell

BEHAVIOR DEPT. & FOSTER COORDINATOR

Bailey has been working with animals for the entirety of her career. Being a foster parent, Bailey learned so much about force-free handling, positive reinforcement training, and the complexities of canines. Over the years, Bailey has had many animals spanning from fish to rabbits to insects and enjoys learning from all. Bailey is a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner, and nothing brings her more joy than using her knowledge to help animals and their humans. Bailey is a firm believer in L.I.M.A. (Least Intrusive Minimally Aversive) and applies those concepts to animal and human learners. Bailey volunteered in rescue and worked as a humane society on-staff behavior professional. Bailey is committed to furthering her education and plans to continue to span her knowledge of animal behavior. When Bailey's not working with OTAT dogs, you can find her with her two rescue Dobermans, Piper and Baron.

Kiara Cnota

DOG FOSTER COORDINATOR

Kiara has been volunteering in animal shelters for over 18 years. After getting her degree in Animal Science, she began working as an Animal Caretaker for a local Animal Control. Here, she learned about OTAT and its mission to save the underdogs. She knew she had to be a part of their team, and after many years at animal control, she finally is! Her type is big-headed trouble makers and the shy guys and gals, as well as under-socialized kittens. In her free time, Kiara enjoys hanging out with her adopted cats, fostering animals, reading, backpacking, and traveling.

Mat Stokes

BEHAVIOR CENTER CARETAKER

Becoming responsible for a dog of his own taught Mat something important: they don't just happen. This principle has fueled a lifetime journey of discovery and facilitated a deeper appreciation for everything these fantastic animals can teach us. Mat's latest stop was becoming certified in R+ techniques through KPA. A soft spot in his heart for the dogs who need extra love brought him to the Behavior Center in 2019. The pups he met made it easy to stay. Mat and his wife are perfectly fine with the amount of time they have had to spend with their dog Midas while in quarantine.

Aly Medina

CRISP/CLIENT COORDINATOR

Aly is born and raised on the South side of Chicago. From an early age Aly loved anything and everything about animals and there hasn't been a moment in her life where she wasn't surrounded by a furry friend. Always passionate about serving her community, she has volunteered at various organizations and has spent 6+ years working in veterinary medicine. Now coordinating the Chicagoland Rescue Intervention and Support Program, she is able to keep pets in their loving homes by helping provide lifesaving medical care. When not at work, Aly can be found relaxing at home with her Fiance, 4 dogs and 6 cats or out on a road trip looking for a new place to camp.

Jamin Draves

ANIMAL CARE COORDINATOR

Jamin has a bit of everything under his belt. He was born and raised in Michigan. He joined the Peace Corps shortly after college in 2007 and lived a little over 2 years in Romania. It was there he adopted his dumpster kitten Ubi. Since then, he’s lived in Chicago for 10 years where he’s been involved in urban farming, environmental education, bike safety/maintenance and crisis services and intervention. Now he’s found his calling caring for animals and studying veterinary assistance. When he’s not working with fantastic OTAT volunteers and caring for the many derpy pups that come into their care, he’s waiting for the next long hike with his wife Becca and their OTAT alum Maple.

Kayla Martinez

ADOPTIONS COORDINATOR

Kayla was born and raised in the inner city of Chicago. She worked directly with POC at-risk youth for several years. She always loved animals and as a child, got to choose her own precious pup to help raise. After a couple years of providing dog and cat care to those in need, she decided to adopt her own dog as an adult, and follow a new career path. Kayla recognized OTAT as the best place to grow in a new role and environment, filled with community and passion. Kayla feels very lucky to help people and dogs find their perfect match! In her free time, she likes to spray paint, read all kinds of books, and take photos of her beautiful girl, Maya!

Rebecca Frale

CAT AND RABBIT COORDINATOR

Becky has been in the animal rescue and caretaking field in various settings since 2007. While simultaneously still working with animals, she also earned her Master of Social Work degree in 2016. During her career in social work, she primarily focused on animal-assisted therapy and emotional support animals. She soon realized that her main passion has always been working with pets so she went back to a career working in animal rescue. What she loves most about working with animals is witnessing the incredible bond between them and humans, how resilient they can be on their beautiful journeys of healing and thriving, and (of course) pet adoption success stories! She currently has three rescued pets of her own - two cats and a parrot - who all get along very well

Fresa Flores

DOG FOSTER COORDINATOR

Fresa was born and raised in Chicago. He was raised by their Mexican immigrant parents who taught them to have compassion for all living beings. Fresa has worked in a variety of customer service jobs throughout the past 5 years. Fresa found their passion for helping animals find their forever homes by working as an adoptions associate over the past year. They have a soft spot for all the shy animals and especially for pocket pitties! In their freetime, Fresa likes to collect all the pink furniture for their home and to explore different parks with their dog, Mirko!

Cole Mason

ANIMAL CARETAKER

COMING SOON!

Ellis Veterinary Clinic Staff

Stacy Price

MEDICAL DIRECTOR

Stacy Price comes to One Tail at a Time with over 15 years of animal welfare experience, starting her career studying techniques to prevent stress behaviors in zoo animals. Her focus was forever changed in 2009 when she adopted an overlooked senior white shepherd from a county shelter. With Vlad as her inspiration, Stacy has spent the last 10 years in leadership positions at various open intake and managed admission facilities before landing the job as One Tail’s Medical Director. When she’s not at the clinic, you can likely find Stacy at home with her six cats, two dogs, rabbit and incredibly tolerant husband.

Dr. Rachael Wooten

VETERINARIAN

Dr. Rachael Wooten is originally from the Southwest suburbs of Chicago and earned her bachelor's degree in Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Following her tenure at the UW-Madison, Dr. Wooten 'took her talents down South' to Alabama where she completed her DVM at Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2017. While in veterinary school, Dr. Wooten’s passion to help underrepresented communities grew and she decided to pursue a career in Shelter Medicine and became particularly interested in soft tissue surgery. Following graduation, she moved back to Illinois to complete a one-year specialty internship at the University of Illinois CVM in shelter medicine. Through this internship she found an additional passion in teaching and community medicine. In 2018 she finally made it back to Chicago to practice shelter medicine full time and she hopes to make a long term impact on community outreach in the Chicagoland area. On her days off, you can find Dr. Wooten spending time with her husband (Nick), dog (Link), cat (Navi), playing sports or video games, singing/listening to music, and traveling whenever and wherever possible.

Dr. Burke

VETERINARIAN

Carrie Rubinas

VETERINARY TECHNICIAN

Carrie is a former pastry chef turned vet tech who got involved with OTAT as a foster and volunteer. She's currently pursuing her CVT certification and wants to help make animal healthcare accessible to all, everywhere it's needed. When she's not at work, she can be found at home with her husband, two dogs, and two cats, or sitting at a campsite deep in the woods somewhere without cell reception.

Molly Cadillac

VETERINARY TECHNICIAN

As a former dental hygienist, Molly originally became involved in animal rescue as a volunteer and foster. After years of working in the dental field, she had the opportunity to join the medical team at a suburban animal shelter and hasn't looked back since. When she's not working at the Ellis Clinic, Molly is usually spending time with her own dogs, Biggie and RoboCop, and trying to spend as much time outdoors as possible.

Ellesse Romero

VETERINARY TECHNICIAN

Originally from California, Ellesse is a Registered Veterinary Technician with 9 years of experience in the field. She has a background in emergency and specialty medicine but has always been inspired by the human-animal bond and the approach of One Health. When not at the Ellis Clinic, she can likely be found reading a book with her chiweenie Batty or sprawled out at the beach.