Gary Iacini, Board Member
I have had dogs most of my life. My current canine companion is a Rottweiler rescue named Sheba. She was two, when we brought her home a year and a half ago, and she was very fearful of people. We searched for the best person and organization to help us bring out the calm, sweet girl that we knew was beneath her growl. Colleen came to our home, and Sheba greeted her with a deep growl and distrust in her eyes. Colleen suggested that we bring Sheba to King’s Kastle to socialize her. I also took one of Colleen’s classes and was impressed with her understanding of dogs and their language. While Sheba was a bit slow to warm up, she now jumps at the invitation to go play at the Kastle where she gets along with humans and canines alike.
Roy Brodnick, Pack Supervisor
Roy Brodnick joined the pack after working at a Dog Rehabilitation and Socialization center for several years. He enjoys the ever changing landscape of the pack and currently has no pets of his own. You can find Roy at most of our GDRP events or working with any number of the dogs that enter the doors of GDRP.
Kathy Vayder, Program Director
Kathy Vayder came on board during the first Green Dog Rescue Project volunteer orientation, in May of 2012. Her favorite volunteer activity was to walk dogs. The volunteer coordinator position opened up in Feb of 2013 and Kathy began recruiting and coordinating our volunteers and walking dogs. She was working full time as a Client Account Executive for Terremark/Verizon and her dreams of retiring were beginning to occur more and more. As Green Dog Rescue Project grew, she was brought on full time as our Program Director, responsible for Volunteers, Events, Training and adoptions. Kathy also served as Board Secretary from June 2013-June 2014. Kathy lives in Healdsburg, CA. with her partner Greg and their two adopted dogs Abby and Monique Marvez.
Clarke Katz, Board Member
I have been an animal lover for as long as I can remember, having grown up in a family with many animals, including cats, dogs, birds, guinea pigs, hamsters, snakes, lizards, fish and even a monkey. I became involved in the Green Dog Rescue Project after its founder, Colleen Combs, saved my beloved Heeler mix, Missy, from being euthanized. Missy had fear aggression issues and Colleen taught me how to be a better leader for her. When she demonstrated the effect of proper socialization and training, for both Missy and me, I knew this concept could change the world of animal welfare and it needed to be taught to as many people as possible. When I am not with my family of four people and two dogs, Missy (heeler mix) and Charlie (spaniel mix) and/or a Green Dog foster, I serve as the IT manager for a local company. I also bring my knowledge of technology to the aid of the Green Dog Rescue Project whenever possible.
If not for Kyshka, (a Husky-Wolf Hybrid), there would be no Colleen Combs or the ten-year devotion to the betterment of the lives of animals that Kyshka evoked in her, finally giving birth to the GDRP.
Colleen Combs, Co-Founder and Executive Director
As a child I was drawn to animals. A military upbringing and life style prevented me from having pets of my own; however, I was never far from some type of animal when on base. Their language and the honesty of their actions always fascinated me. Later in life I discovered their incredible sense of loyalty when an intruder to my home held me at gunpoint and my Husky/wolf hybrid broke through a window to disarm the intruder. She lost her life in the struggle to save mine. I was devastated, but enlightened as to the depth of loyalty these animals will offer. A few years later a horse named Kyra used her body to shield me from a stampede, and some years after that a dog named Duke intervened and saved me from a young mountain lion while out hiking. It was unmistakable that I was meant to be here for a higher purpose. Fast forward to 2011 and a dog named Cash who was facing certain death in a local shelter. His advocate, certified trainer and Chef Douglas Keane of Cyrus Restaurant, began a legal campaign to save his life and requested my help. Once custody of the big Mastiff/Catahoula/Dane mix was secured, this military brat and the Chef began to cook up change in the form of The Green Dog Rescue Project.
We have a simple, but robust mission: to help animals in need. We do that by focusing on community-based efforts including education, awareness, and adoptions. We want to make a difference.
Gary Archuleta, Board Advisor
Gary Archuleta’s passion for animal welfare began a long time ago. He has been lucky enough to have had several rescue dogs, including most recently Tytan a 97lb Black Labrador Retriever and Dexter a 10 lb. Terrier Mix. Gary has spent the past 14 years in the financial industry at Bank of America holding several roles, including; Technology Business Analysis, Project Management, Risk, Legal, Compliance, and even a stint in Marketing/Marketing Operations. He also served on the Board of Directors for the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. He brought this background and experience to his role as Treasurer while he served on the Green Dog Rescue Project Board of Directors until November 2015. He currently serves as an advisor to the Board. Gary currently resides in the Montecito Heights neighborhood of Santa Rosa, CA, with his husband of 23 years Brent. Brent and Gary are very proud of their nephew Emilio who has lived with them since he was 15 and now attends Chico State. Occasionally they will make the trip up to Chico to visit Emilio, but you can usually find the two of them frequenting local wineries and restaurants and attending various charitable events.
Dale Russell, Board President
I have been walking dogs for 14 years. My career in dog walking began at Kitsap Humane Society in the state of Washington. At the time, Kitsap Humane was a high kill shelter so I was appointed the volunteer rescue coordinator where much of my time was spent getting dogs out of Kitsap Humane and into a safer environment where they had a better chance of finding their forever home. I arrived in Sonoma County 4 years ago and, once again, took up dog walking, not only at Sonoma County Animal Services, but also at Sonoma Humane Society and Green Dog Rescue.
Douglas Keane, Co-Founder, Chef and Certified Dog Trainer
Born In Detroit, Planted In Sonoma
Douglas brought his Midwest work ethic and love of animals to Sonoma County in 2003. After many years spent travelling the world perfecting his craft as a chef, he quickly realized Sonoma County was the place he would finally call home. In 2009 through his volunteering at a shelter, Douglas became frustrated with the lack of progress in rehabbing animals and the alarming rate of euthanasia. He believes firmly that most dogs with aggression and socialization problems are actually caused by humans and their disregard for a dog’s life. From a young age Douglas saw his father Noel, a pioneering attorney back in Detroit, constantly stick up for people that didn’t have a voice and were taken advantage of in many ways. Seeing that the dogs don’t have a voice Douglas decided to speak up for them. Through this advocating he was introduced to Kings’ Kastle and the pack method of canine rehab. A lightbulb went off in his head and he realized that this simple and organic method of dog rescue was by far and away the best way to give these abandoned friends a chance at a forever home. He then teamed up with Colleen and helped form Green Dog Rescue Project. If he's not in his kitchen he is probably driving around in his truck with one of his four dogs. He continues to support Green Dog with fundraising and an occasional visit to the pack.
The Green Dog Rescue Project introduces a nature-based philosophy to the animal welfare industry. Our interests are to educate the community and industry in the methods and language of animals, in an effort to improve the manner in which we house homeless animals and minimize the lives lost as a result of behavior issues, poor social skills, overcrowding, and other traditional criteria.
Fong Nguyen, Board Treasurer
I have been volunteering with GDRP since March of 2015. One of my favorite volunteer activities is to help at the adoption events. I get to spend time with the dogs and be able to share all that GDRP does with the people in the community. I have a Morkie (Maltese/ Yorkie) mix name Lexy.
We had a very successful first year in 2012. We rescued 45 dogs from shelters all over the world, 30 of which were slated for euthanasia at their original shelter.