Terisa Pepiot, President/Founding BoD member 

Terisa’s love for German Shepherd Dogs (GSDs) began decades ago when she was owned by her first GSD, Patrick J, as a young child. That first shepherd left a permanent pawprint on her heart and a love of the breed that has never wavered.

Through the years, as the breed became feared and disparaged, her desire to rescue them became stronger. Thanks to social media, the truth of the numbers and misjudgment in shelters, it all became too much to watch, sit and do nothing. In 2015, she began her quest to volunteer for a GSD rescue and learn enough to hopefully start a successful rescue.

After volunteering for the other rescue for a year, Terisa set course to establish a new local rescue. Shepherds Without Borders rescue was organized in June of 2016. In November 2016, the first GSD was rescued in Salem, Oregon and the journey began.

Terisa currently lives in the Salem Oregon area having raised two “two-legged” children, Dreau and Mikaela. She has worked as an office manager for the same company for almost 20 years. She currently lives with her husband and 3 personal GSDs; Rhiley, Adelaide and Rheine.

Kassie Bixler, Vice President/BoD Member

Kassie has always had a deep love of animals and started rescuing at a very early age, bringing a variety of stray animals home whenever she found them. Kassie grew up with a Doberman (another of the other fabulous four breeds labeled “dominant”) and a GSDx – discovering early on what dominant breeds required. Living in an area where shelters were overwhelmed and overcapacity on a weekly basis, she began networking about 5 years ago, coordinating shelters with rescues. That blossomed into partnering with a local rescue for about a year.

Zoey is Kassie’s first GSD of her own and she quickly began to understand further how the shepherd is so often misunderstood, driving her love of the breed further and solidifying her love of rescuing them. 

In January 2018, Kassie joined Shepherds Without Borders as a BoD member, bringing her valuable rescue knowledge and her experience with another rescue organization. 

Kassie currently lives along the Oregon/California border with her husband, Ben; son, Lincoln; and two dogs Zoey and Harlo.

Teal Hickey, Secretary/BoD member

Teal’s love for animals began as a little girl.  She recalls many memories shared with her mom from her childhood helping animals however they could; from rescuing baby ducks from a storm drain to catching loose dogs and reuniting them with the owners – no animal that crossed their path went without help. 

Her curiosity and focus turned to the German Shepherd breed at a very young age. While she dreamed of having a shepherd, her parents were quite content with smaller breeds (dog lovers as well), explaining that she could “bring home whatever type of dog she wanted when she got her own house”.  Throughout the years, she embarked on a trail of comprehensive research of the breed, mesmerized by the looks, intelligence and loyalty; setting her sights on that day when she had her own house and her own GSD.

After obtaining her own house, she did just what she had always dreamed, and brought home Axel.

In 2018, while researching GSD rescues, Teal stumbled upon SWB.  She followed the rescue for several months and decided to apply to volunteer.  Excited to finally be helping the breed of her heart, she hit the ground running and has never looked back!  She quickly became an integral part of the rescue and several of its teams, finally, joining the BoD of Shepherds Without Borders in 2020. 


Teal lives in the greater-Portland, Oregon area with JP and her two dogs; Axel & Lexa.

Previous Board Members:

Cara Kinzel, Previous Vice President/BoD member: Cara was called to leave Shepherds Without Borders as a BoD member as her non-profit transport business grew by LEAPS and BOUNDS!!! While not serving on the BoD, Cara still is an active volunteer of SWB. WISHING HER THE BEST with Underdog!! Check her out: https://www.underdograilroadtransport.org/

Cara Kinzel’s five-year (and counting) attachment to shelter training and rescue work began at the Front Street Animal Shelter in Sacramento, CA.

It was during her shelter and fostering work that Cara realized that the shelters did not have adequate screening processes in place meant to promote adoptions into active homes. While appreciating all that these shelters continue to provide, she is happy to call Shepherds Without Borders “home” since 2017 and fellow BoD members Terisa Pepiot and Kassie Ditlevsen her rescue sisters. “I’m proud to be a part of SWB’s commitment to the amazing Shepherds that are overcrowding shelters. Our team has worked hard to support the dogs medically from the shelter, find them wonderful homes, and support their adoptions with training and support.” Cara also performs shelter evaluations in the Sacramento area. On top of everything else, she also coordinates and provides dog transports to Idaho & Utah.

Besides her never-ending rescue work, Cara provides governmental compliance for private vocational schools. She and her partner Gary live in the Sacramento, CA area with their pack members Benny & Lucy.