As the daughter of a vet, dogs have been a big part of Lesley's life since she was a child. While volunteering at local rescues after moving to LA, Lesley quickly became aware of the devastating number of healthy, family-friendly dogs that were being euthanized in the shelters due to lack of space. In 2009, Lesley mustered up the courage to leave her comfortable pharmaceutical sales job and vowed to make as big of a dent as she could in this misconception and resulting shelter overcrowding crisis. Armed with dog-loving, intelligent, loyal volunteers who share Lesley’s can-do attitude, Wags and Walks has quickly become the fastest growing dog rescue organization in Los Angeles.
From the time she can remember, Erica has been an animal lover. As a young child, she had a family cat as well as many fish and birds. At 10 years old, she finally convinced her parents to add a dog to the family, which led to 3 amazing family dogs over the years. In the fall of 2011, after offering to foster an American Bulldog named Cupcake, Erica met Lesley Brog and it became clear she had to be a part of the Wags & Walks team. Since joining Wags & Walks, Erica has adopted 3 Wags dogs - Charlie an 80 pound pit bull, Brynn a 35 pound timid pit bull and Heartly a boxer/pointer/lab with all the confidence in the world! Erica's parents and brother have all adopted Wags & Walks dogs as well! As Wags & Walks Adoption Event Coordinator, Erica coordinates all of the regularly scheduled adoption events for Wags & Walks, fosters many dogs for the organization and keeps our website up to date!
Kimmy's first introduction to Wags and Walks was spent snuggling with a litter of pitbull puppies during a "meeting" with Lesley Brog and she hasn't looked back since! Despite years of begging her parents for a dog (at age 8 she even refused to open her holiday gifts since none of the boxes were barking), her only pets growing up were hamsters, goldfish and even a newt! These days she has her very own lovable mutt named Sawyer and unlimited access to LA’s finest through Wags and Walks. You may be hearing from Kimmy if you or your business is interested in partnering with Wags and Walks or at some of Wags and Walks events throughout the year.
Annika’s love for animals started early growing up in a household filled with pets ranging from rats, snakes, hamsters, guinea pigs, birds, cats and most importantly dogs. From a young age, she was passionate about helping animals in need and giving back to the community. After graduating from college with a degree in Communication from SDSU and spending 11 great years in San Diego, Annika moved to LA in 2012 where she became increasingly aware of the number of dogs needing homes. That inspired her to rescue two pit bulls, Harley and Cash. And it was because of them that she got involved with LARPBO (Los Angeles Responsible Pit Bull Owners). It was through LARPBO that she not only met her husband (fellow dog lover, founder and head trainer Troy Smith) but was also connected to Wags and Walks! Shortly thereafter Annika and Troy welcomed their first foster for Wags, a mama Pit Bull named Perdita, and her 8 four-week old puppies. From then on Annika knew her heart was in rescue, so she continued to volunteer and officially joined the team full time in January of 2017. Annika’s goals are to help increase awareness about rescues by creating a positive image of all dogs (especially Pit Bulls), and to encourage people to dream more, act more and love more!
Megan, a dog lover like the rest of the team, was horrified by reports that thousands of homeless dogs in Sochi were being euthanized due to the 2014 Olympics. When she attended the Winter Olympics in 2014 and witnessed the awful conditions the dogs were in, she and a few other friends decided to take action and rescue some of the Sochi dogs. After the dogs made it back to the USA they were adopted by wonderful forever families! Witnessing the world wide homeless dog epidemic, Megan wanted to be more involved in dog rescue in her local are of Los Angeles. After volunteering at NKLA she found Wags and Walks, started fostering dogs and fell in love with the process. After a year of fostering, Megan and her husband Jeff decided to adopt one of their foster dogs named "Bug"- now "Bo." Megan wanted to help Wags and Walks save even more dogs and saw how quickly the rescue was growing so she asked if she could take on more responsibilities. Megan helps identify dogs for Wags & Walks to rescue and pinch hits however she can and whenever she can to help keep the organization move forward.
Kelly has always had a soft spot for animals of all shapes and sizes - she grew up with two dogs as well as many hamsters, birds, hermit crabs and even a caterpillar! Yet for some crazy reason that even she doesn't remember, she was very afraid of dogs in her early 20s - but thanks to an awesome coworker and his adorable dog, she quickly conquered her fear and is more in love with our furry friends than ever! After Kelly and her husband Charlie adopted Clyne (pictured) from Wags and Walks in July 2014, she knew she wanted to become a volunteer and now coordinates our Facebook account and all of our litter reunions!
A huge fan and advocate of the bully breeds, it is no surprise that Kayla grew up with big dogs. Her first dogs were Rottweilers and now she’s the proud Mom of a blue nose pit bull. Ever since adopting Blue with her Fiancé in the winter of 2014 she has been on a mission to change the perception of this misunderstood breed. Kayla actually applied for another puppy through Wags and Walks and Kimmy recruited her. If you follow us on Instagram you have already seen her work. Kayla is also a serial foster mom.
Rachel has loved animals ever since she was a little girl. Her first pet was a white rat, and soon after that her family got their first dog, a Wheaten Terrier named Maggie. Ever since Maggie came into Rachel's life when she was 7 years old, she has loved dogs more than anything. Rachel discovered Wags and Walks through Instagram, which is where she eventually found the Wags dog that she adopted. After adopting her dog Winnie and finding the incredible team at Wags and Walks, Rachel began volunteering and is now part of the social media team, helping other dog lovers find their perfect match. Nothing makes Rachel happier than playing a small part in saving a dog's life and bringing happiness home to their new forever family.
Growing up in Michigan, Kadie always had a love for dogs and a desire to help others. Through her love of pit bulls, Kadie found Wags and Walks and began volunteering in the fall of 2013. Shortly after that, Kadie began fostering pit bulls for the organization and foster failed with two beautiful girls, Pearl and Millie. Kadie continues to foster for the organization, but has also merged her professional life as a therapist and her volunteer life with Wags and Walks by bringing some of our pit bulls to out reach programs in the community. Kadie helps Wags and Walks show the community of Los Angeles what amazing dogs pit bulls and all rescue dogs can be.
Since a kid, Jessica has been fascinated with all animals and has a passion for helping those in need. In high school her love for animals flourished when she took a Veterinary science course and was hooked! Since then, she has worked in all sorts of fields; at a dairy farm, as a veterinary technician and even a nursing assistant in an ICU. She currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, 4 children and rescue pup Lucy. Her sister Megan (also with Wags and Walks) introduced her to the organization and since then has worked from across the country handling a lot of Wags behind the scenes. She also fosters for local organizations in Pennsylvania and loves to visit LA in the summer.
A passionate lover of anything furry and four-legged, Lena has been involved in the animal rescue community for the past six years. Previously the Director of Development at San Antonio Pets Alive!, she oversaw all aspects of fundraising, marketing and program development contributing to the improvement of the city's live release rate from 30% to 85% that resulted in saving more than 20,000 dogs and cats in just three years. After relocating to Pasadena, Lena has continued to foster and volunteer with various groups and is now a member of the development team at Wags and Walks. With a Master's degree in Strategic Public Relations from USC, Lena works in the marketing and nonprofit development space with a variety of clients, including her favorite pet brands! Her heart belongs to her boxer, Lola, and her cat, Clover.
Roland’s career in animal care started 4 years ago when he began working for a Los Angeles based dog daycare. There he learned the basics of training and dog socialization. Since joining the Wags and Walks family as our animal care specialist, he has been able to utilize his skill set to help our dogs have the best chance at finding their forever home.
Growing up in Michigan, dogs have been a huge part of Erica's life from a very young age. Her love for them began with her family's first rescue, an 80 pound mutt named Lily. It continued to grow when she started volunteering with her mom at local shelters around Detroit, where she learned more about the rescue world. After graduating from the University of Michigan in 2016 with a bachelors in Communication Studies, Erica moved to Los Angeles to pursue TV production. After working as a production assistant for 6 months, she decided to follow her heart and leave the industry to work with dogs. Shortly after, she stumbled across Wags and Walks and started volunteering, it quickly turned into becoming part of the Wags and Walks family as the animal care assistant.
Kathryn, our Adoptions Specialist, is a Detroit native who grew up around rescue animals through her parent's involvement in the rescue world. Through high school and college, she spent her summers interning for local rescues and shelters, where she eventually landed her first job out of college. She moved to Los Angeles in 2015 with her first adult rescue, her adopted pit bull, Jax. She immediately reached out to Wags and Walks to be a volunteer. She has since become a part of the Wags and Walks family, where she currently assists with our adoptions and events.
Since childhood, Courtney has always loved dogs. After graduating from college and moving to Los Angeles, she knew fostering would be the perfect way to give back and help dogs find their forever families. Eventually, she foster failed and adopted her pup, Pippen. She became passionate about rescue and made it a mission to become more involved with the organization. Courtney continues to foster and helps out with various aspects of the foster program at Wags and Walks.
Last September I officially became an "empty nester" when I packed up my two beautiful girls to move them to college. I decided I needed a passion. I wanted to dedicate myself to something that I loved and to spend time doing something that would make me happy everyday. My dear friend Nicole Foos took me to lunch with Lesley Zipkin Brog. She said there were many opportunities with Wags and Walks and that I would be welcome. I was signed up before lunch ended and I have volunteered in every capacity since from helping to save dogs at the shelter, donor development and fundraising. I am so thankful to Lesley for her passion and welcoming me to the team. I am so proud of what we are doing. We are truly bringing happiness home!
Originally from Paris, Constance has been in love with animals since before she could walk. She has a true passion for pets, especially dogs and horses. She grew up with her adorable Yorkie and had the chance to own her own horse. After living in London for 5 years where she studied, Constance moved to Los Angeles. That is when she decided it was time for her to get involved and make a difference. She joined Wags and Walks and is now the Lead Office Volunteer.
Wags and Walks had the great fortune of meeting Guillaume in 2015 and from the moment we worked with him, we knew he was “our” trainer. Not only is he one of the most likable and approachable people in the world, this man knows his stuff. He works as well with dogs as he does with people - a trait that is hard to come by. Working together, Guillaume has helped train over 500 Wags and Walks dogs and even has one of his very own. His company Go Off Leash was started in 2013 and he specializes in off leash obedience and behavior modifications. He is highly skilled, communicative and a joy to work with. Guillaume has worked with every breed of dog and we could not save the number of dogs we do without him. We are thankful to call him a partner and a friend.
Erin’s love of all animals has been with her for as long as she can remember. She was thrilled to bring her nearly 10 years of non profit fundraising experience to assist with Wags & Walks Alumni Relations Team – a perfect combination of skill and passion. A SoCal native, she resides in LA with her husband, NKLA rescue pup Lucas and rescue cat Marbles.
Nicole Foos is proud and excited to be one of the fundraising chairs for Wags and Walks. An event planner, facilitator of Women’s Healing Circles, lawyer, wife and mother of two she has been a dog lover and owner virtually her whole life - currently Frankie, a pit/lab mix and Wags and Walks alumni Chester (formerly Smokey) a pit bull mix.
Betsy Rosenfeld Vargas is the author of The Complete Single's Guide to Being a Dog Owner, a blogger at LoveThyDog.com and a devoted rescuer with over 14 years experiences and thousands of animals' lives saved and or improved. That said we don't let her out much. She's a bit too tender-hearted to deal with some of the grimmer realities of rescue--she leaves those to Lesley. Instead Betsy concentrates on strategy and fundraising and that's right where we like her. Betsy lives in Beverly Hills and is the mother to three sons… one of the two-legged variety and two of the furry, four-legged kind.
Wags & Walks Executive Board
Lesley Brog Founder & Chief Animal Lover
Kimmy Kovacs President
Craig Dobbin Vice President
Erica Gately Secretary
Eric Weiss Treasurer
Barry Littman Legal