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· Meet Our Team ·

Melody Hilburn


Melody joined the PAWS Board of Directors in 2002 after adopting her first PAWS dog Buddy. (AKA black lab #19) She loved the compassion the staff showed the animals in their care and wanted to find out how she could help.  After 20 years in the telecommunication business with Verizon and GTE she took early retirement and joined the PAWS Shelter BOD.  Her skill set was a perfect match for the organization and she began setting up operational systems and procedures and building a team to push the organization to the next level. In Oct 2018 she opened the new Dripping Springs location and the rest is history.  This year she was able to see the completion of the Kyle remodel and re-launching the Canines Who Care Program.  
If I won the lottery I would build tiny houses all over the Dripping Springs property to work with challenging dogs and to give them a break from the shelter environment! Dogs, but I do love cats so BOTH.

Leslie Hutson



I have a degree in Broadcast journalism and worked as a TV news anchor/reporter for an ABC affiliate in East Texas for 12 years.

I'm married and I'm a mom to two Chihuahuas and one Yorkie. When not working she spends all her time outdoors. I'm an avid kayaker, photographer and jeeper!

If I won the lottery tomorrow? I’d open a restaurant/convenience store/gas station next door to the PAWS Shelter in Dripping Springs! And, you know, keep working here!

Dogs or cats? Dogs! 24/7

Andrew Smith



As the Head of Medical, I ensure that the medical and surgery programs operate efficiently and the shelter animals are cared for. I've been with PAWS since 2011 and have enjoyed learning so much. I'm an only child and spent my childhood in Texas and Missouri.

When not working, I spend time with my three dogs and enjoy bowhunting.  

If I won the lottery tomorrow, I’d start a chick-fil-a franchise. And, you know, keep working here! 

Dogs or cats? Dogs

Heather Dalby



I grew up in the Philippines and spent time in South Dakota, Michigan, Maine, and Nantucket before landing here in Central Texas.

I’ve been with a great fella for 16 years, married for 10. We have two of the sweetest senior shelter pups, Toby and Stevie. My hobbies are gardening, concocting various hot sauces and pickles, crafty things, and traveling.

If I won the lottery tomorrow, I’d start a non-profit that cleans homes pro bono for  single parents and the elderly. And, you know, keep working here!

Dogs or cats?  Both!


Michelle Bender


I'm a Texas girl, born and raised, and I've been in the Austin area for 20 years. I started at PAWS in 2008 and it has become my entire life.  I met my partner, Andrew Smith, here at PAWS and we've been together since 2012. I love everything about this organization and have gained so much wisdom from my experience here. 

I have three dogs, a fish, a flock of chickens, and a host of feral cats that I care for… plus the random foster pet here and there. I also have an orchid collection that I am in the process of rebuilding after the freeze of 2021.¬†

If I won the lottery, I would most likely become the Howard Hughes of animal rescue. The helpful hermit with an island full of rescue animals.

Dogs or cats? I love both so much but dogs are my heart and soul. 

Jenny Jenkins



My passion and main role is to help place and rescue kittens, puppies, mamas with babies into foster homes.  I help get other medical cases like heartworm treatments dogs and others placed into foster homes so they can heal.  I work with other rescue partners to place at risk animals into our foster programs. 

I have been married to my highschool sweetheart for 23 years and have 2 daughters.  I love to travel, working out/running and spending time with our 6 furry family members and my kiddos. I have also helped raise and care for Big Cats, such as lions and tigers, in a rescue setting.  

If I won the lottery tomorrow, I’d start a organization/company for Mental Health support for both families and individuals. Making it easier to access and having an animal option for mental health support as well. And, you know, keep working here!

Dogs or cats? This is a hard one as I love both so much. I think over the years I lean more toward cats as I just understand them so much better. I love that we just live in their world and must meet their demands.  

Shannon Smith



My husband and I live in San Marcos with our 4 dogs, Moonshine, Penny, Milo and Kevin, and our 3 cats Blitzkrieg, Archie and Purrple.  We spend most of our time making, grilling and eating delicious vegetarian food, getting our hands dirty in our garden, hanging with the dogs by the river, riding bikes and dancing around our house to rock'n'roll.
When I lived in the Houston area I took care of Texas legend Dusty Hill's two dogs (fluffy little Bichon Frises) and even threw them a ZZ-Top themed birthday party one year.  His mom gave me all of their old kitchenware and even a mini fridge when I moved out on my own.  Super sweet family! 
At PAWS, I make sure our offsite cat locations stay stocked with kitties, and I bring our adoptable shelter animals out into the community weekly for extra opportunities to find their new families.
If I won the lottery tomorrow, I'd start an animal camp with all of the usual summer camp activities like swimming, crafts, obstacle courses, training and enrichment, etc. And, you know, keep working here!
Dogs or cats? I adore all animals, but DOGS will always be the best, most pure-hearted creatures on earth. Dogs 100%. 

Kaity Royall


My husband and I have 3 giant dogs and 1 cat that we love and spend all our time with. We enjoy video games, going out to the lake and doting on our sweet furry family. I like to collect a lot of things, mostly nerdy/pop culture stuff; classic Pokemon cards, anime figures, etc. 

If I won the lottery tomorrow, I’d start a Reptile Rescue, where I could rescue wildlife and reptiles people couldn’t care for anymore. Hopefully help educate people on how awesome reptiles are! And, you know, keep working here!

Dogs or cats? MOOSE!

Minnie Buckhaults


I come from an extremely large family and am the middle sibling out of nine. My hobbies include gardening and hiking. I also have a huge love for Master Chef and other cooking reality tv. I collect plants and own about 60 different varieties. I live in my own little jungle!

If I won the lottery tomorrow, I’d start a plant and gardening company. And, you know, keep working here!

Dogs or cats? I love dogs but have a huge spot in my heart for bottle baby kittens!

Bridget Hummerstone


There isn't much to know about me that doesn't involve dogs or PAWS these days. I have three dogs of my own and they are all from rescues other than PAWS (LAWS, HSNBA and Acres of Love), so there's the fact about me that doesn't relate to my current job. I
always have a PAWS foster dog though.

My hobbies have taken a bit of a back seat over the past couple of years, but I used to love hiking in the many state parks and I was a major kickboxing enthusiast. Now I mostly think about dogs. Ask my husband.

If I won the lottery tomorrow, I‚Äôd start a “Get these dog the Heck out of Texas” dog¬†rescue transport company. And, you know, keep working here!

Dogs or cats? Dogs, but I like cats who behave like dogs too.

Charlie Cain


My husband, four year old daughter, and I currently live in Wimberley with our four dogs, cat, and potbelly pig. We recently relocated from the Dallas area after being there for seven years. 

I have always been passionate about animals and much of my life has been dedicated to them, including professionally since graduating from college. I was a zookeeper for four years before organically finding my way into the animal welfare field, where I have been for the last seven years. I was even featured on Animal Planet once!
I quickly found my calling specifically within the behavior niche of animal sheltering, as I feel all my years working in zoos with animals I couldn't touch, handle, or be “hands on” with, set me up to successfully work with domesticated animals who experience behavioral challenges that render them unable to be handled as well. I earned my professional dog training certification (CPDT-KA) in April of 2021, and look forward to continuing to devote my knowledge and skills to helping shelter dogs in need!
Away from work, I enjoy music and concerts, as well as traveling throughout Texas to explore all the beauty the state has to offer, especially rock-bottomed rivers and their clear waters! 

If I won the lottery tomorrow, I’d start a boarding facility specially tailored to accept, accommodate, and facilitate the care of behaviorally challenged dogs, that way their owners could enjoy vacation or time away as needed, knowing their special needs pup(s) is in good hands. And, you know, keep working here!

Dogs or cats? Dogs over cats, kittens over puppies!

Helen Doyle


Hailey B. Jones




When I’m not working, I enjoy watching TV with my dog, Daisy. Our favorite show is New Girl! We also love going to the river to swim, tube and paddleboard! Especially in this Texas heat. I also build and collect Legos. My favorite sets are from the Star Wars line.

If I won the lottery tomorrow, I’d start a plant nursery. And, you know, keep working here! 

Dogs or cats? Dogs!

Lauren Surman



My husband, Jeff, and I have lived in the area for six years. We have three dogs and one cat, they are our world! PAWS is such an amazing organization and I am great full to be a part of a team who cares so deeply about animals. Being able to help these pets sometimes feels like a dream and I am lucky to be living in it!  I'm an avid foster pet parent. So much so that I have had 11 foster pets at my house at once! 
If I won the lottery tomorrow, I'd start a company to raise bees and monarchs. 
Dogs or cats? Dogs all the way! 

Angela Horton



My family is made up of my two adorable dogs. They fight like brothers until they fall asleep half on top of each other. My hobbies include playing music on any one of my instruments, gardening, or knitting/crocheting my next great handmade gift. I also have a black belt in Taekwondo

If I won the lottery tomorrow, I’d start a house flipping company. And, you know, keep working here!

Dogs or cats? Obviously dogs. I have to work too hard with cats.

Briana Gonzales



I grew up in a college town by the river, so I love anything to do with nature and the water! I am always up for a new adventure! When I am home, I like to take care of my plants, play video games, and listen to music! I collect vinyl records, and enjoy listening to most genres of music!

If I won the lottery tomorrow, I’d start an interior design company that helps furnish/decorate the homes of low income families in need! And, you know, keep working here!

Cats or dogs? I love dogs more than anything else on this earth!

Victoria Allen


I am from the DFW area and moved to San Marcos for school. Back home, I have one sister and one brother and three family dogs that I miss dearly. After moving to San Marcos, I discovered so much about myself and recently have been a big fan of hiking!

As a kid a peacock showed up to my home and never left. His name was Pretty Boy, and he was my pet for years! We collected his feathers each year during molting, and I still have them displayed in my home!

If I won the lottery tomorrow, I’d start a suicide awareness and prevention company. And, you know, keep working here!

Dogs or cats? I love both, but dogs have my heart!

Katheryn White



Ashleigh Dutton


Hello!! My name is Ashleigh Dutton and I am an Adoption Counselor at the Kyle Campus at PAWS of Central Texas. My responsibilities include but are not limited to processing adoption applications that we receive, providing a clean and safe environment for our cats here and assisting other areas when needed.

After graduating from high school in 2009 I did a brief stint in the military and after being medically discharged I pursued my Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology. After moving to Kyle in 2015, I started studying for my Masters to be a Paralegal I live with my husband David and our 5 cats and 1 dog. They definitely all keep us on our toes daily with their different personalities and quirks. We enjoy going out for walks, nerding out on Star Wars, playing video games and going to conventions when possible!

If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would want to donate my winnings to a lot of shelters across the country who need the funds so desperately. I would also like to start my own farm/sanctuary here for local animals who have nowhere else to go. And of course I would continue my work here at PAWS!

I’ve always been asked if I am a dog or cat person and the answer is both! The interaction with both cats and dogs is different and special.

Kristina Sabatini


My main responsibility is making sure potential/current adopters have a great adoption experience while getting them all the correct and up to date information on the animal.

3 days of the week I’m volunteering with ASC. Austin Sunshine Camps is a nonprofit organization that provides the magic of overnight camp without the barrier of cost for kids 8-15. It’s a super cool camp right across from Zilker Park and I intern under the Volunteer Coordinator. Great opportunity to make friends, learn new skills, and network!!

My dad is on the PAWS board and works for IBM, my mom transports for PAWS and has her own nonprofit called The Linus Connection! My brother is currently in school to become a lineman and we have four big and adorable rescues. I love watching sports with my dad and going downtown with friends.

If I won the lottery tomorrow, I’d start a sports photography company. And, you know, keep working here! 

Dogs or cats? Dogs all the way!!

Marlo Treybig


I have a daughter and four grandchildren. My hobbies are reading and collecting M&M memorabilia. I love watching and reading about true crime.

If I won the lottery tomorrow, I’d start a pet resort company. And, you know, keep working here!

Dogs or cats?! I love both dogs and cats but lean more towards cats. I have learned so much about them after
working with them.

Audrey Pierce


I am the fourth of six kids, and the oldest girl. My two younger sisters and I all share a passion for animals. So much in fact we ‚Äúaccidentally‚ÄĚ ended up with a small farm before long! When not caring for my feline friends you‚Äôre likely to find me with cows, ducks, dogs and horses!¬†An interesting thing about me? I can‚Äôt cartwheel.¬†

If I won the lottery tomorrow, I‚Äôd start an ‚ÄúAs Seen on TV‚ÄĚ store for animal related products¬†company. And, you know, keep working here!¬†

Dogs or cats? Horses! Don’t tell the Cats!

Maria Romero


As an animal care tech/Kennel tech I handle general animal care like cleaning and feeding. I also do meet and greets for potential adopters

I was born and raised in Dallas, Tx. I come from a family of 6 siblings and I am the youngest. I played soccer for most of my life. I love the outdoors and going on adventures. I absolutely love animals of all kinds! One of my dream pets is a snake and I absolutely love cars. 

If I won the lottery tomorrow, I’d travel the world. And, you know, keep working here! 

Dogs or cats? Dogs, don’t tell my cat!!!

Farrah Babinchak


Blair Englander


I’ve spent most of my life riding and showing horses and working at hunter/jumper barns. I’m from Austin Texas and my girlfriend and I live in Wimberley with our 2 dogs, 2 cats, 2 Guinea Pigs, one tortoise and several fish tanks. We don’t like animals or anything.

If I won the lottery tomorrow, I’d start an all animal species rescue and sanctuary. And, you know, keep working here!

Dogs or cats? Both!”

Charlotte Rayburn


Caroline Rayburn


Farrah Babinchak


Robert Lawrence



I come from a very large extended Texas family. Five generations until the recent loss of my mother, our matriarch. I have had many exotic pets and have raised and bred birds from small finches to ostrich. I also enjoy keeping aquariums and plants. 

If I won the lottery tomorrow, I'd start a professional shopper company…and you know, keep working here. I would like to travel as a buyer for high end articles of interest and history.¬†

Dogs or cats? This is a case of apples to oranges. I love both but I must admit, I will never pass up a chance to visit any dog anywhere.

Emilee Martinez


I'm the youngest in a family of five and have lived in the Kyle area for about 18 years. I love listening to music and learning new things about astrology and crystals. I also played the flute for seven years. 

If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would start a crystal and jewelry company. And, you know, keep working here!

Dogs or cats? Dogs!

Beau St. Pierre


Dr. Amanda Bruce, DVM


Dr. Amanda Bruce has blessed PAWS by adding her proficiency and professionalism to our surgery clinic. She has helped advance our efforts to save lives to an exponential degree and we are so very grateful.