Dog & Cat Pals

Our Team

MEET THE TEAM

 

Fernie

Nycki Wannamaker

Co-Director

 

Nycki has been saving animals as long as she can remember. Always sneaking in little pets as a child until her parents caught on and then knew the fastest route to the SPCA.

 

Originally from Toronto, she moved here to ski but stayed to raise a family. With her passion for animals running deep, she co-founded TMARS with Puneet Grewal to help the local abandoned animals of the place she loves.

Alex Simons

Foster/Adoption Co-Director

Alex grew up with pets all her life and was often told that she has the passion, grit and stomach to work with either animals or kids. She has conquered both feats, having worked a Veterinary Nurse, before shifting career from the four-legged mammals to the equally rewarding and challenging two-legged variety, as a Kindergarten teacher.

Hailing from Kettering, UK, Alex is now happily settled in Fernie, BC with her rescue "zoo" of guinea pigs, cats, rats, a dog, and her fiancé (debatably ranked in that order of preference). In her spare time, Alex is a passionate singer, outdoor sports enthusiast, gardener, and also seeks to covertly add more members to her menagerie. 

Noelle Le Maitre

Foster/Adoption Co-Director

Noelle has had an obsession with animals ever since she was little. Whether it was memorizing the dog breed encyclopedia, or ensuring never to miss a PBS Nature documentary. She has always dreamed of helping animals in any way she can.

 

Noelle moved out west from Ontario 5 years ago and never looked back. She fell in love with the community of Fernie and can’t imagine not hiking, biking, or snowboarding every day. Noelle loves fostering their rescue critters while she patiently waits for the day she finds her perfect furry match.

Kaida Wannamaker

Animal Health Director

Kaida Wannamaker is our animal Heath director. She was born in Fernie into an animal loving family. Early on she knew she was meant to be working with animals after she began helping to rehab animals from a very young age.

She recently graduated as a Vet Tech from Northern College, Ontario and she is heading back to receive her Wildlife Rehab Permit to be able to help all the animals, both domestic and wild.

Krista Gibbs

Fundraising Director

Krista and her husband live in Fernie with their two adopted dogs, Benny & Turtle. After visiting Fernie for a weekend in 2014, they knew this was where they wanted to live and have been snowboarding, biking, and hiking these beautiful mountains ever since.

 

Animal welfare has always been her biggest passion. Growing up she cared for a variety of animals and took in animals in need when her local rescue center was full. As well as volunteering for TMARS as the Fundraising Director, Krista has been a volunteer with the Calgary Humane Society for a number of years as an animal care assistant. She loves working closely with community members in order to help as many animals in the Elk Valley as possible.

Michele Dauphinee

Assistant Fundraising Director

Michele grew up with family dogs as well as somewhat larger pets, horses! When she was younger, she participated competitively in the Canadian Pony Club and progressed to 3-day riding events. In recent years, Michele and her husband, Keenan have adopted many animals from local rescues over the years, their current beasts being a Belgium Malinois, Avy and a calico kitty, Gabby.

Michele spent 25 years working in Calgary before transitioning to the non-profit sector and gaining experience in fundraising roles. After retiring, Michele and Keenan moved to Fernie to pursue their love of skiing, hiking, biking, gardening and of course, dog walking! Joining the TMARS team has been a perfect fit for Michele’s passion for animals and expertise in fundraising.

Sparwood

Tami Chechotko

Secretary / Treasurer

Tami has lived in the Elk Valley for over 30 years, after moving from Saskatchewan in 1990.  A retired secondary school teacher, Tami keeps herself busy and spends her time volunteering for various non-profit organizations, as well as cooking, sewing, and reading when she gets some time to herself.

She considers herself a “cat lady”, as she has had cats all her life, including her current two senior kitties. She has rescued both feral and surrendered cats throughout her life, so after retiring, Tami realised she wanted to continue to help animals where she could. While she couldn’t foster or adopt to help animals in need, she found that helping TMARS balance the books allowed her to make a difference in an alternative way.

Puneet Grewal​

Co-Director

 

Puneet’s love for animals began after spending her childhood taking care of feral dogs in India. While encouraging others in Asia to also help and care for dogs and cats, her drive to do her utmost to help animals in need only intensified. Originally from Vancouver, she has volunteered as a whelping foster home for puppies through different rescue organizations over the years, and after moving to the Elk Valley, she and soon realized that a rescue society was much needed in the area.

As the main founder of Twin Meadows, Puneet often rescued and rehabilitated local animals out of her own pocket. She never dreamed TMARS would become as successful as she once dreamt it would. 

Elkford

Sharon Soames

Co-Director

Sharon developed her love for animals at age 37 when her husband Bruce brought home a dog, Sam, her first pet. Before moving to the Elk Valley in 2014, Sharon was involved as a founding member of Pemberton Animal Wellbeing Society. Just like TMARS, PAWS was developed in 2007 by a group of animal lovers seeing a need for an animal rescue in the area. In 2022 PAWS continues to successfully support the Pemberton community.

Over the years, her love for animals grew and so she helped them wherever she could either by fostering or adopting them. She currently lives in Elkford with Bruce and her most recent adoptees, Rex and Coco.