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· Meet Our Team ·

Leslie Hutson

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

 

Leslie worked in the TV news industry for 12 years before changing her career path to the non-profit world. She worked for Special Olympics Texas for 17 years in a number of different positions, but spent the majority of her time as the Director of Competition & Games. After leaving SOTX, Leslie went to work for Stay ‘N Play Pet Ranch in Dripping Springs. She has always had a love for animals, but it was at SNP that she began to understand animal behavior and the workings of the pet industry. While working for Stay ‘N Play, she began volunteering for PAWS and eventually got involved in the weekly surgery days working in the recovery room. She became a member of the PAWS Board of Directors and eventually transitioned to a full-time employee as Director of Operations in 2022. In January of 2024, she was promoted to Executive Director. 

Born and raised in Texas, she is married to her best friend and the love of her life! They currently have 2 chihuahuas, 1 yorkie and a recent adoption from PAWS that thanks to a DNA test claims her to be 52% Chihuahua, 28% Schnauzer, 14% Daschund, etc. She is an avid photographer, kayaker and loves everything Jeep!

Dogs or cats? Dogs! 24/7

Andrew Smith

HEAD OF MEDICAL OPERATIONS

LEAD VET TECH, DRIPPING SPRINGS

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

Briana Gonzales

SHELTER MANAGER, KYLE

 

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!

Michelle Bender

OFFICE MANAGER, DRIPPING SPRINGS

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. 

Maya Hacker

VETERINARY TECHNICIAN, KYLE

Lauren Adame

ADOPTION EVENT COORDINATOR

I’m Lauren, I work as the offsite Event Coordinator. I’ve lived all over Texas most my life and learned my love for animals at a young age. I have been a supporter of PAWS since my undergrad and after graduating from Texas State, I found my calling. 
Hobbies include: being a cat mom, being out in nature, playing video games, and working out 💪

Audrey Pierce

CAT ADOPTION COUNSELOR, PETSMART, SAN MARCOS

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 “accidentally” ended up with a small farm before long! When not caring for my feline friends you’re likely to find me with cows, ducks, dogs and horses! An interesting thing about me? I can’t cartwheel. 

If I won the lottery tomorrow, I’d start an “As Seen on TV” store for animal related products company. And, you know, keep working here!

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

Kaity McGovern

VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR

ADOPTION COUNSELOR, DRIPPING SPRINGS

As volunteer Coordinator, I wrangle volunteers and have fun doing it! I like to collect a lot of things, mostly nerdy/pop culture stuff; classic Pokemon cards, anime figures, etc. My husband and I have 2 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. 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!

Anastasia Salazar

ADOPTION COUNSELOR, KYLE

Hey Ya’ll! I’m an adoption counselor, kennel technician and apart of the foster team here at PAWS! I started my journey here in January of 2023, and nothing drives me more than the mission we’re working toward everyday. 

  I am Texas born and raised, with a big love for southern styles. I’m a dog mom to the light of my life, Omar, and “work mom” to all of the animals I care for each day! 

  Although the animals in my life take up 90% of my time, I enjoy live music, traveling and art! You can find me at the river, at work with my children, laying in a tattoo chair, pushing through a crowd at a concert or cuddled up with my dog.

  Endgame for me is continuously working toward saving the lives of innocent animals across central Texas and beyond.

Jacie Handberry

ANIMAL CARE TECHNICIAN, DRIPPING SPRINGS

Amber McKane

ANIMAL CARE TECHNICIAN, DRIPPING SPRINGS

I moved to Texas from New York when I was 13! I am a wildlife biology major at Texas State. If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would travel and adopt more animals! I love dogs and cats but I am a cat person at heart!

Dogs or Cats? I absolutely love both but if I really had to choose it would be dogs

Kristen Weathers

ADOPTION COUNSELOR, DRIPPING SPRINGS

I’ve lived in Dripping Springs for 23 years and have been in the dog world just as long.  Rescue and fostering have always been important to me and was incorporated into my previous business of 20 plus years. After deciding to shift gears, I realized I still needed to work with animals so having the opportunity to put my experience to work at paws coordinating adoptions is truly amazing.
 
My husband and I are heavily rooted in the Dripping Springs community between raising our 2 kids, all their baseball & horseback riding activities and my family living here so I’ll be around for quite some time!

Dogs or Cats? I absolutely love both but if I really had to choose it would be dogs

Jessica Hanus

ADOPTION COUNSELOR, DRIPPING SPRINGS

I was born and raised in Austin during the olden days, back when the Warehouse District was actually a place you’d go to watch punk rock shows inside of dirty abandoned warehouses. As the years progressed my husband and I decided that city life was exhausting and it was time to settle down and raise our son in a slower-paced lifestyle, so we moved to the tiny town of Blanco.

One thing that has stayed consistent throughout my life is my love for animals, after decades of working in the restaurant industry, fate sent me to PAWS and I couldn’t be happier! I feel honored being able to work directly with shelter animals and having the opportunity to take part in finding them loving homes is absolutely fulfilling! 

Wyatt Curry

ADOPTION COUNSELOR, KYLE

Caroline Smith

ADOPTION COUNSELOR, DRIPPING SPRINGS

 

Kendall Holland

ADOPTION COUNSELOR, KYLE

Hi! My name is Kendall, I am an adoption counselor here at the Kyle campus. I am originally from the DFW area in North Texas, but now reside in San Marcos as I am a Texas State University student!  I have been an animal lover my whole life, and am so happy to be a part of the wonderful PAWS team. Working at PAWS is such a gratifying experience, and I always have so much to look forward to every day that I come to work.

 

I love music, nature, and am addicted to thrifting. I grew up around animals, with two birds, two snakes, a gecko, a cat, and two big ole dogs! Currently, I have my own fur baby, Stevie, who is the sweetest kitty to exist. She is my whole world and loves to smell all of the different animals on me everytime I come home from the shelter. 

 

I have never been able to choose if I am a cat person or a dog person, I love them all! However, since I have started at PAWS and help care for all the kitties, I think I am officially a cat girl! Their sweet purrs and head butts won me over. I love spending time in the catteries and giving all the kitties some scratches and kisses.

 

My first job was at a dog kennel and boarding facility, and I realized that working with animals was a passion of mine. I am very grateful to work for such an amazing organization that does so much for our community and our beloved animals. I can confidently say PAWS works in the best interest of our animals, and will continue to do so FUREVER! 

Amalia Venegas

ANIMAL CARE STAFF, KYLE

Elijah Cardenas

ANIMAL CARE STAFF, KYLE

Hannah Valle

ANIMAL CARE STAFF, KYLE

 

Hi friends, my names Hannah Valle! I have worked at PAWS for 2 years and it has been the best division i’ve ever made. I am a passionate kennel technician dedicated to the well-being of all my shelter kiddos. Skilled in providing compassionate care, ensuring cleanliness, and promoting animal welfare. Committed to creating a safe and comfortable environment for our furry residents while they await their forever homes. Outside of work, I am a TXST graduate who enjoys hanging with friends and watching horror movies. 

Laci Holloway

OFFSITE CAT ADOPTIONS

Corrine McDonough

ANIMAL CARE STAFF, DRIPPING SPRINGS

Cameron Romero

ANIMAL CARE STAFF, DRIPPING SPRINGS

Donna McManus

ANIMAL CARE STAFF, DRIPPING SPRINGS

 

Cydnie Castillo

ANIMAL CARE STAFF, DRIPPING SPRINGS

Taylor Johnson

OFFSITE CAT ADOPTIONS

Laura Jetton

CAT CARE STAFF, DRIPPING SPRINGS

Katheryn White

ADOPTION COUNSELOR, KYLE

 

Dr. Amanda Bruce

SURGICAL VETERINARIAN

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. 

 
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