Volunteer Spotlight: Erica Kiesler

Meet Erica Kiesler!

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

“I’m a crazy dog lady who enjoys knitting, hockey and gardening. I have four dogs of my own and when I’m not cuddling with them on the couch, I’m at a hockey game (go Tbirds) or doing yard work and gardening”.

What do you wish the public knew about rescue dogs? 

“Most rescues don’t actually have ‘problems’. I think a big misconception is that a dog is a rescue because of something the dog did wrong. When I decided to start fostering, I was very nervous that it would be more effort than I was able to give – it’s not been like that AT ALL. Every dog so far has been great and the biggest hurdle has been just giving them time to decompress so they come out of their shell and relax enough to show their personalities and making sure they know where to go potty! Honestly, if you already have a dog (or dogs) it’s even easier because fosters generally just do what all the other dogs are doing – so if you already have a routine, most just follow along with everyone else”.

What is one of the funniest things your dog or foster has done?

“I fostered Pippy, the cutest little puppy you’ve ever seen and she was a BUSY BODY. Luckily it was summer and we could all spend hours outside in the yard and she could explore to her heart’s content. She found my garden soil bin and I got the most hilarious video of her just digging away with all of my garden soil flinging all over!”

What’s one of your favorite memories with SGA?

“My first Bark Benefit (2019) I got to meet Jodi Brothers in-person after being Facebook friends with her for years. She’s actually the reason I even knew about SGA – she posted about SGA dogs all the time and I started following on social media. The rest is history.”

What do you enjoy most about volunteering/fostering with SGA?

“Meeting all of the people who are just as passionate about it as me.”

What some ways that volunteering/fostering has impacted your life/family? 

“Fostering and volunteering makes me feel like I’m actually DOING something. It’s so deflating to see how many animals are in need and, although my small part is a drop in the bucket compared to the need, it makes me feel like I’m at least doing something to help. And it certainly helps the dogs that I foster. Seeing a foster flourish is the most rewarding feeling.”

What made you decide to join SGA?

“I wholeheartedly believe in how SGA works to ensure the right dog is matched to the right person or family. I think the trial adoption period is KEY to a successful match. Taking the pressure off and providing a prescribed time to see how things goes makes it much easier for potential adopters to take a chance and removes the stigma of “returning” a rescue. If it’s not a fit, it’s not a fit and that’s ok! Better to know before a dog has bonded with the people.”

How long have you been volunteering or fostering with SGA? If you’re a foster, how many dogs have you fostered?

Volunteering for about 4 years, fostering for a little over a year – I’ve fostered 10 dogs so far.

What would you say to someone who’s thinking of volunteering/fostering?

“Do it! Start slowly, if you are nervous – volunteer for the concessions shifts at Lumen Field, volunteer for shifts at Doug’s Place when they come up, volunteer to work at Bark Benefit or adoption events. Those are all great ways to contribute without fostering, if you’re not ready to take the plunge into full-on crazy dog lady. 🙂 You can do as much or as little as you want.”

Thank you Erica!

SGA loves you




`Volunteer Spotlight: Diana Halar & Craig Skinner

Meet Diana & Craig!

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

“We are Craig Skinner and Diana Halar. Craig and I met while playing soccer, he was our teams goalie, and I played forward. We always talked about dogs and soccer. Eventually that shared passion lead us to start dating, and ultimately into a long term engagement (9 years so far and counting), someday, we will marry, with all of our foster dogs as brides-pups and grooms-pups. Together we have 5 foster failures, which we call our “glorified stuffed animals with a heart.” Because pretty much, that is what our five furry babies are! They don’t do much other than sleep, eat, poop and sleep some more, what we get out of that is unconditional LOVE!”

How long have you been volunteering and fostering with SGA? And how many dogs have you fostered?

“We have been volunteering with SGA since 2016. We have had 23 SGA fosters and 37 with another rescue prior to SGA. In total we have had 60 foster dogs, and of those kept 5”.

What would you say to someone who’s thinking of volunteering/fostering?

“It is painful to let a pup go after you fostered it, but remember this, your job is to be a soft landing spot until the pup finds its furever happy after. Our first 10 fosters made our eyes swell up after they were adopted. Tears would flow for days, but once we realized our job is to be a temporary, soft, loving landing spot, we got it. We understood that’s our job and it made it so much easier. To help these dogs find a great home, is worth all the heartache, because your heart heals knowing they are in a good spot”.

What is something you’ve learned through volunteering in rescue?

“How resilient dogs are. They can trust again, they can love again, and they will be loyal even after they have been hurt by humans”.

What’s one of your favorite memories with SGA?

“One of our favorite memories is Huey. One Thursday evening Diana drove from University Place (south), WA, to Poulsbo, then all the way up to Snohomish and then back to University Place in one evening just to pick up Huey and deliver him to Craigs house in Snohomish. Instantly our 5 pups and Huey hit it off, and we fell in love with him. The weeks following, Huey had a few applicants, Diana always does her due diligence and researches the applicants and then reaches out to them for a meet and greet. Huey had a few meet and greets. They didn’t work out, not due to any fault of his, it was typically due to living situation, or too small or simply not a good fit. Then came along Jaedra, we met her at a park, we had a good feeling right away. I believe we spent almost 2 hours with her and Huey at the park. We chatted, we got to know her, she got to know Huey and us. We left there knowing this was the PERFECT match. A few days later, Jaedra picked Huey up for his trial, well, he never came back as a foster, he did come back as a visitor, which we of course loved and look forward to in the future. Just recently we ran into Huey and Jaedra at their garage sale, Huey was in the window, when he saw us, he went nuts…. THATS WHAT WE LIVE FOR… Seeing a pup that came through our home, was loved by us and our dogs…. and greets us so excitedly after not having seen us in a while. We know that the tears (after we adopt out a pup) are all worth it, when they live their best life, but still remember us in a good way. A wagging tail is worth a million bucks. Also, not to forget, the friends we have made along the way… that’s pretty cool”.

What is one of the funniest things your dog or foster has done?

“One of our foster failures (who we adopted in 2016), Scrappy, hates the Amazon Delivery folks. Anytime a package is delivered, and is placed on our side of the fence, Scrappy barks, then gets to the package, pees on it, and then decides to tear up the outside package. We, to this day, do not know why he hates Amazon so much, but it doesn’t stop us from ordering”.

How have you supported SGA? And what does it mean to you?

“How have we supported SGA? Craig and I have volunteered at the Bark Benefits since 2018, fostered, worked on and volunteered at Doug’s Place, donated what we can, procured items for the Bark Benefit, loved on the dogs, promoted the amazing folks at SGA wherever and whenever we can. What does supporting SGA mean to us? We love SGA, being a part of this community, this team means the world to us. Jacintha and Perrin understand rescue so well and they just GET IT, it’s about finding these abused, abandoned, hurt, unwanted pups the PERFECT home. These two have created something really special and to be tiny part of that is simply amazing and fulfilling in so many ways”.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering/fostering with SGA?

“Helping dogs find their new beginning and the people we meet along the way”.

What made you decide to join SGA?

“We had been fostering since November 2013 with another rescue, which we enjoyed, however, when we learned of SGA’s philosophy of allowing people and dogs to go on a 2 week trial, we thought that was the right thing. How awesome, to allow the dogs to see if they want these humans to be their furever, and of course vice versa”.

What is one of the weirdest things your dog or foster has eaten?

“Amazon package with soap in it. Scrappy got a mouth washing with that delivery”.

Let us know anything else, an impactful moment, a funny story, anything:

“We just want to give our biggest thank you to the SGA Community for what they do. We love you guys”.


July Volunteer Spotlight: Julie Peddy

Meet Julie!

SGA can always count on Julie. Continue reading to learn more about Julie and her experience fostering dogs with SGA.

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I can’t remember anytime in my life where I haven’t had at least one furry or feathered companion. I do have allergies to animals but I also have allergies to every native plant in Washington State. I’ve just learned to live with them and take allergy medicine. I think we’ve had every type of companion: dogs, cats, birds, lizards, hamsters, fish, fancy rats, guinea pigs and rabbits. Oh and a hermit crab or two.

How long have you been fostering/volunteering with SGA, and how many dogs have you fostered?

8 years and 67 animals (cats and dogs)

What are some ways that fostering has impacted your life? 

Animals are truly a gift from a higher power. They provide love and companionship. By providing a home while they find their forever family, I feel like I’m giving back some of that love and companionship to them.

What do you wish the public knew about Rescue dogs? 

Rescue dogs will give you unconditional love. Many have come from circumstances that no living things should endure and yet they are still full of love. Adopt don’t shop! And neuter and spay!

What is one of the funniest things your dog or rescue has done?

My chiweenie Sammie got stuck in the cat door and pulled it out of the wall. (see below)

What made you decide to join SGA?

I had been volunteering with Old Dog Haven so was following most of the rescue sites on Facebook. I saw a post by SGA for transporting a dog and the rest is history.

How have you supported SGA and what does it mean to you?

I’ve worked, donated to, and attended Bark Benefits. I’ve held fundraisers for SGA. SGA is family to me

What would you say to someone who is thinking of volunteering or fostering?

Do it! It will make such a difference in your life.

What is one of the weirdest things your dog or foster has eaten?

Bugs, I’m always weirded out when they eat bugs

What do you enjoy most about volunteering and fostering with SGA?

The unconditional love I received from my furry friends and my SGA friends

What is one of your favorite memories with SGA?

The time I got to spend with George (pictured below), he will forever be in my heart and I truly think Stephanie and Carl for adopting him.


June Volunteer Spotlight: Karl Bangerter

Meet Karl! 

Karl and his wife Martha joined Saving Great Animals in 2013! They have helped with so many different activities, roles and dogs throughout the years. They have seen the best and most challenging parts of rescue and continue to stay dedicated to the cause. Keep reading to learn more about Karl and all of the amazing memories he’s made with SGA over the years.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: 

“Martha and I have been married for 36 years. I am a Retired Union Carpenter, Volunteer Firefighter/EMR, ATV Enthusiast,  and love to modify vehicles”.

How long have you been with SGA and how many dogs have you fostered?

“Since 2013. Toby (current foster dog)  is our 30th foster”.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about volunteering or fostering?

“Prepare youself to meet some of the best people you could know. Don’t let the tough part of rescue scare you away. Because your heart wil swell with joy from the positive things”.

What are some ways that volunteering and fostering with SGA has impacted your life? 

pictured left to right: SGA founder Perrin, Karl, SGA Director Jacintha

“Martha and I share the passion we have helping with all the dogs. Accepting that there are hard parts to it. But the joy experienced when we see them bond with their forever person. Makes it all worth it”.




What do you enjoy most about volunteering and fostering with SGA?

“There are plenty of negative things in our world. Many people waste a lot of time and energy worrying and complaining about it. Volunteering and Fostering for SGA gives us a feeling that we are helping make things positive. When you see a dog and a person bond. You just watched the dog and the person have one of the best days they ever had”.

What is one of your favorite memories with SGA?

“When I have been sitting with a dog…who is afraid of people. And suddenly they come over and lie down on my lap”.

How have you supported SGA and what does it mean to you?

“We volunteer for everything we can, we foster, I have helped find several lost dogs, we make donations. It still always feels like we could never do enough. Because the need never ends. Because humans have caused the problem. The other volunteers are all such amazing people. It all draws you in”.

What made you decide to join SGA?

“Martha used to work at a kennell that SGA boarded dogs at. She started volunteering for SGA, we started fostering, And I saw there was plenty of ways to help. The dogs make you just want more”.

What do you wish the public knew about rescue dogs? 

“Most of them all they need is someone to give them patience, a stable environment, love, shelter, and food. And they can recover from thier past. And learn that people are ok”.

Pictured is Big Charlie who was with SGA for about 4 or 5 months. Karl visited him often at the kennel.  It was determined that Charlie had Hemangiosarcoma. A fantastic couple that still volunteer for SGA Fostered him and gave him the best 2 months of his life.

What is one of the funniest things your dog or foster has done?

“There are so many moments that have made us laugh. Currently Toby does something new every day. But most recently was the first time he jumped from the back of my recliner onto my back when I was leaning on the kitchen counter”.

pictured: Karls foster Toby, on this back checking to see what he’s doing


Karl wanted to include a few wonderful update photos of some of the dogs he’s spent time with as he was just a part of their journey to finding their forever home. See below 🙂

Kevin and Jane with Barron, who they worked so hard to train
Foster parents Damara and Dan, who gave Big Charlie the best last 2 months a dog could hope for




May Volunteer Spotlight: Rachel Miller

Meet Rachel! 

Rachel is a key component in all things Saving Great Animals, we truly could not do what we do without her! Rachel helps in almost all facets of the organization, but serves primarily as our Volunteer Accounting Manager. Rachel has also been instrumental in the creation of our rehabilitation house, Doug’s Place. Keep reading to learn more!

Rachel and Gasket from Animal Sanctuary

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I grew up in Seattle, am a Certified Public Accountant, and currently work for an alternative investment fund administration firm. I enjoy watching Seattle sports and crafting in my free time, and of course spending time with my dog, Maple.

How have you supported SGA and what does it mean to you?

I have volunteered at transports, adoption events, as a short-term foster early on, and have donated some over the years. Most importantly, I joined SGA as the volunteer accounting manager in September 2018. I setup the organization on a financial reporting system, recording all cash activity and handling all contributions, invoicing, bill pay, donor questions, as well as all tax filings and regulatory reporting. I love accounting but I rarely get to do the work in a manager role at work. Having the opportunity to set something up from scratch and see it function so well was very satisfying, and seeing the financial growth SGA has experienced over the last five years has been so rewarding. I love getting to spend time with other dogs outside my house, since Maple doesn’t like house guests. I love making a difference in both the lives of the dog and the adoptive family, as furry companions bring so much love, joy, and entertainment to our lives.

What’s one of the funniest things your dog or foster has done?

Maple absolutely loves jumping after flies in the background, which looks hilarious since she’s basically just jumping and snapping at air. We call it Maple TV.

What made you decide to join SGA?

After I adopted my first dog from PAWS, I learned about their foster program and looked for other local rescues with fostering opportunities to help socialize Maple. I found Saving Great Animals in July 2017, and although fostering did not go so well for Maple, I stayed involved with the organization. I have always loved dogs – their companionship and unconditional love is so therapeutic, and the resilience, trust, and love rescue dogs pulled from less-than-ideal situations show is truly inspiring.

How did Doug’s Place come to be?

Jacintha had dreamed of SGA owning or leasing a house that we could use as a “permanent foster home” where dogs could be rehabilitated or held temporarily in an emergency, where volunteers could engage and we could provide training. At the same time, I was feeling restless in Ballard and looking to move out of the city. I looked for a property in proximity to Jacintha and SeaTac with two houses, one where I could live and one that SGA could use. It seemed like a perfect opportunity for a “trial run” of what could be if SGA were to open its own facility or purchase a larger house or property. I would also get to spend more time with more dogs since Maple prefers to be the only dog in my house.

What’s one of your favorite memories with SGA?

Through SGA I connected with a group of ladies who introduced me to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, UT. We went as a group and volunteered at the Sanctuary for about a week, connecting with a dog who was eventually transferred to SGA. I returned by myself a couple years later and it’s still one of my favorite places to go to.

How long have you been fostering or volunteering with SGA? If you’re a foster how many dogs have you fostered?

I attempted to foster 5 dogs, only 2 of which went fairly well. I first connected with SGA in July 2017 and became the volunteer Accounting Manager in September 2018.

What’s one of the weirdest thing’s your dog has eaten?

Luckily Maple steers clear of weird things, but eats any food she can find, including toxic chocolate and grapes.

What would you say to someone who’s thinking of volunteering or fostering?

If you are passionate about dogs and want to help homeless dogs find a second change, SGA is one of many great organizations actively making a difference.

Rachel and her rescue pup Maple!


Saving Great Animals cannot thank Rachel enough for all of the important behind the scenes and hands on work she does to help save dogs.