VIPP BOARD OF DIRECTORS

 

GEOFF FLETCHER, President

In addition to leading a gaggle of cat and dog herders at VIPP, Geoff helps his wife Terri with various cat duties for VIPP, including trapping cats for the feral program and fielding phone calls and emails relating to lost and found cats. He also is the goof-ball with the cat hat on stage at the Fur Ball.

He is a former teacher at the high school and college level, a recovering bureaucrat, and former editor. While in Austin, TX, Geoff volunteered for Animal Trustees of Austin. He also has served as a board member for Vashon Allied Arts, and he is the host of the Boogie Back to Texas radio show on the Voice of Vashon.


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WENDY DAHL, Vice President

I am privileged to work with companion animals and their people both in my animal behavior practice and as a licensed small animal massage practitioner. The lessons I learn from each animal improve my communication and bodywork skills and, in turn, support future client companion animals' mental and physical health. My expertise is with rescued dogs and cats, helping their families learn about the particular behaviors these creatures have collected from previous environments. My mission is to increase understanding and knowledge about companion animals, to deepen the bond between human and animal and to reduce the recycling of adopted animals.

I am a member of the Animal Behavior Society, the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) and the National Board of Certification for Animal Acupressure & Massage. I have volunteered with the Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue organization for over 20 years, including time on their Board of Directors. My association with VIPP began when I moved to Vashon in 2003, and I have enjoyed working with other volunteers on Fur Ball activities, assessing, training and fostering VIPP canines and developing valued relationships with this dedicated band of rescuers. I am honored to be a member of the Board of Directors.


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Kelli Durkin, Treasurer


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Leslie Frye,Secretary


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LOLA MICHELIN, LMP, LAMP, SAMP

Founder and Director of Education of Northwest School of Animal Massage (NWSAM), Vashon Island. (Founded in 2001, moved to Vashon 2012.) www.nwsam.com

Over 20 years’ experience in the veterinarian and zoological fields. Lola speaks and writes regularly on the topic of animal massage and is active in promoting standards of practice for the industry at large. She was instrumental in lobbying for and promoting legislation to create an animal massage license through the WA State Department of Health. NWSAM offers large animal, small animal and exotic species training programs.


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KAREN BARGELT 

I am a life-long animal lover, regular attracter of strays, and have my eye on becoming an eccentric old broad with cats.  The cats part is taken care of (Lucy and Leo are permanent residents), the old part is not so far down the road, and I’m working diligently on the eccentric part.  I got involved with VIPP several years ago when asked to help with a Fur Ball project.  Having always been an enthusiastic admirer of the organization, I was happy to do it and look at me now: on the board and helping to govern it!  It is my privilege to be able to support VIPP and its devoted complement of volunteers in serving the cats and dogs of Vashon as well as their people.  It is so rewarding to know how many canine, feline, and human lives have been enriched by the adoption of a furry family member, assistance with microchipping and spay/neuter, or the reunion of a pet with their lost person (I have personal experience with this; see above reference to attracting strays).  I am impressed beyond belief with how few unwanted kittens we have on the island as a result of VIPP’s spay and neuter program.  In addition to my desire to help every companion animal find a loving forever home, I bring to VIPP a background in the legal field, a penchant for looking at the big picture, a tendency to say the hard stuff out loud, and my favorite mantra for service organizations: Leadership development is the sign of a healthy organization.


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CATHERINE SWEARINGEN

Catherine is an ex-pat from the South, moved to Vashon in 2014. After sixteen years in career development at several universities, she retired from her role as Executive Director of Career Connections at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma in 2015. Prior to her change of direction into higher education, Catherine was a practicing attorney in South Carolina. Since moving to Vashon she has become a VIPP dog walker and a member of the Circle of Directors of Hestia Retreat. Catherine is currently a partner and mediator in Vashon Mediation.

Catherine is blessed to share her life with her husband, two sons, her collie Edward, her kitty, George (whom she stole fair and square from her eldest son), and her youngest son’s red heeler, Moose.


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ELAINE SUMMERS

Animal Lover, Songwriter and Mosaic artist, Cat Person. I have been in charge of the VIPP's website since its re-incarnation about 14 years ago, keeping the site up to date and recently adding Facebook to the to-do list. I am on a few committees including the Fur Ball Auction. I help with Lost and Found and organize a group of excellent scrubbers and cleaners, cleverly known as the Furbusters. We clean the shelter from top to bottom each month. I have been involved with VIPP since 2003 when I adopted two kittens from them.