Our mission is simple and clear – to support the human and dog bond. Every member of our team is dedicated to fulfilling this mission and has the training, the experience, and the passion to deliver on this promise.
Living in Pennsylvania, Jean always wanted to adopt a retired racing greyhound. After moving to Tucson she got her chance to do that — and more. She began volunteering ten years ago for Arizona Greyhound Rescue, working in different positions until ultimately becoming the President of AGR, a position she currently holds. Along the way, she fostered and adopted several greyhounds. When hearing about greyhounds living in retirement facilities, Jean hit upon the idea of training greyhounds to do service work. The AGR Board agreed it was a great idea and the Heartfelt Hounds Program was born.
Jean’s extensive background in medical research (more than 15 years of comprehensive hands-on experience in microbiology research, phlebotomy, hematology, chemistry, drug development, and other critical scientific research fields of discipline) made for aneasy transition to facilitating greyhound care and interacting with the veterinary community. She loves matching dogs with their forever homes and watching a dog become a thinking, protective companion when trained as a full service dog.
Currently, Jean leads the AGR Board of Directors in managing the $90,000+ business enterprises that provide adoption opportunities for more than 50 sight hounds per year. She provides successful management of many different adoption programs that include selection, training, and placement of dogs as Services Dogs for Veterans and people with disabilities through AGR’s Heartfelt Hounds Program.
Valerie’s passion for dogs comes from her mother, Arlene, who embraced and lived with compassion and love for dogs – and people – every day. Growing up, Valerie and her family helped many dogs of all breeds through fostering, adopting, and volunteering. Following her mother’s example, she passed this love and commitment on to her own children over the years, continuing to work with different rescue and adoption groups around the country.
In 1990 Valerie met her first greyhound in St. Louis and fell in love. In 2005, when Valerie moved to Tucson, she took the leap and adopted her first greyhound, Mr. Brown, from Arizona Greyhound Rescue. Valerie joined the organization as a volunteer, first writing grants, then serving on the Board. Along with her own dogs, Valerie is Arizona Greyhound Rescue’s Forever Foster Parent, keeping dogs that cannot be adopted due to special needs or behavioral problems.
Throughout her extensive management career Valerie has focused on bringing purpose and vision to organizations that help people and communities including her work as a City Manager, as a chapter Executive Director of the American Red Cross, as Development Director for the Audubon Society in Tucson, and as Senior Project Manager for Beacon Group, Tucson’s premier non-profit that creates opportunities for people with disabilities.
Valerie is used to building partnerships, organizations, and facilities. She managed the start-up of the state-of-the-art Target.com fulfillment center in Tucson and ran a multimillion dollar non-profit property management and economic redevelopment company that constructed affordable single-family homes and community redevelopment in Kentucky.
Valerie’s talents as a civic leader and catalyst for change have helped to grow and strengthen AGR and are instrumental in the planning and development of Sol Dog Lodge.
Rachel started her life-long dog addiction as a shelter volunteer. The passion just grew over time, and she has worked as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Bisbee Animal Shelter, Animal Care Officer for Cochise County Sheriff’s Department and Sierra Vista Police Department, Interim Shelter Supervisor for the Nancy J. Brua Animal Care Center in Sierra Vista, and Rescue Program Coordinator for Pima Animal Care Center.
Throughout her years working in shelters, Rachel was often the go-to person for difficult and behaviorally challenged dogs. In 2013 she opened sol.DOG Tucson to provide effective dog services in the greater Tucson area with a focus on training, boarding and supporting rescue and adoption. Her commitment and passion for helping all dogs – and the people who love them – has allowed her to transform hundreds of dogs into cherished members of the family.
Rachel enjoys giving back to the community and supports the efforts of rescue groups throughout southern Arizona. She continually seeks out continuing education opportunities to expand her skill set and understanding of canine behavior.
Rachel’s amazing and unique blend of owning her own dog board and train facility and extraordinary canine behavioral training experience makes her the perfect fit to manage Sol Dog Lodge and Training Center.
Mary’s childhood in Washington State was filled with animals including a black Cocker Spaniel named Daisy, a red Quarter Horse named Satan, and countless cats. Her love of animals eventually brought her to Greyhounds – six in all (so far). Her home is currently blessed with Luca, a bossy brindle Greyhound who is 12 years old, and Emily, a goofy 2-and-a-half year old tuxedo Greyhound.
Mary’s adventurous spirit led her to live and work all around the U.S. and even took her on a business stint to the Middle East. She has worked in executive management in fields as varied as the nuclear industry to city management to banking and real estate. At the University of Arizona she served as Scientific Editor for the Journal of the American Chemical Society and was a Web Developer for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
Still adventurous in retirement, Mary rides an 89 Harley Sportster with Old Pueblo Riders Group. She has helped raised thousands of dollars over the last 15 years as coordinator of their yearly fundraiser for the children at the Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind.
Mary has 3 fantastic adult sons, 3 awesome daughters-in-law, 4 grandsons, and 4 granddaughters. Her partner is a retired UofA computer science professor.
Mary has been an integral part of AGR since 2011 helping in rescues, retraining, and rehoming dogs; managing events, communications, and web development; and, as Development Director, guiding the critical areas of fundraising, partnerships, and grants. Mary also serves on the Sol Dog Lodge Board as Vice President.
Shelley grew up with great danes, a poodle (Babette, of course) and feral cats. Her adult, nomadic lifestyle did not allow for pets for many years, so she loved on her dad’s guide dogs, Gonzo and Whitman, who came through Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, CA. Her experiences with Guide Dogs’ training and development process inspired her.
Fast forward to her marketing work with an assisted living company that always included pets in the community: A 3-legged cat in Washington, DC, a black lab (George) in Bethesda, MD, and ultimately Mr. Fry in Tucson, AZ. Mr. Fry was brought to her assisted living community via Arizona Greyhound Rescue and a partnership was born. She watched the love, training, integrity and compassion AGR exercised for rescue dogs and knew she wanted to be a part of it.
For the past 3 years, Shelley has played an integral part on AGR’s Board of Directors as the Director of Community Outreach & Marketing. She is responsible for reaching the greatest audience of possible fosters and adopters and to share the benefits of adopting a greyhound.
Shelley has over 30 years of proven experience in sales and marketing in hospitality, event planning, and senior care. Along with volunteering with AGR, Shelley is Past President for Health & Wellness of Southern Arizona, a group that works to meet the educational needs of members in the health care industry.
In addition to having loved Mr. Fry (a saluki mix) and Lily (a greyhound mix), she now has Max (borzoi mix) who is her constant companion. Shelley’s drive is to provide pet services to seniors in their home or in a retirement community.
Paige has loved dogs, especially large dogs, from her earliest years. At the age of two, she wandered off while on vacation and was found a couple of houses away with her arms wrapped around the neck of a german shepherd. Most recently, she has owned great danes, and she is quickly falling in love with greyhounds, who embody her two favorite things: going really fast and sleeping.
Throughout her career Paige has shown a penchant for roles where she can be an instructor and coach, two talents which, along with stellar communications skills, she has drawn on for her work in human resources, information technology, and journalism. Before her recent move from Tennessee to Tucson, she was a small business owner for 12 years.
As Director of Volunteer Services, Paige will not only contribute her own time and abilities toward helping dogs and their human families but also organize and encourage our wonderful, passionate volunteers as they help us grow our programs and services for the entire community.