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.
Teal Hickey, Vice President/BoD member
As a young girl, Teal knew she loved all animals. 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.
Susan Stutz, Secretary/BoD member
Susan has had many rescued pets over the years; from dogs, cats, horses, potbellied pigs and even rescued llamas! Her love for German Shepherds began as a young adult when she got a coated (long coat) GSD that she fell in love with. When Susan met her husband, he also had a GSD, so together over the years, her home has had 2 GSDs.
Susan previously volunteered for both Heartland Humane Society (Secretary of Board, then President of Board for a number of years) and at Safe Haven Humane Society by helping in dog training classes.
Susan came across Shepherds Without Borders online when looking at local shepherd rescue groups in Oregon. She followed the rescue and was impressed with the process. When, Boris, her 13 ½ year old coated GSD passed away, she filled out a foster/adoption application to find a new furry family member. It was love at first sight and Holly became part of their home in March of 2019.
Susan and her husband Curt are both retired now and live part-time on acreage in the Willamette Valley and part-time on the Oregon coast.
Susan began volunteering with the rescue in January of 2020. Her willingness to learn and help is never-ending and is a welcome addition to the Board of Directors.
Will Pepiot, BoD member
Will has been serving as a BoD member since the inception of Shepherds Without Borders in June, 2016. While he keeps a very low-profile and is less “hands-on”, he serves as a valuable asset overseeing the organization as a whole.
Previous Board Members:
Kassie Bixler, Previous Vice President/BoD member: Kassie’s life-changing events; a new baby, a move, school and part-time job quickly took control of all of Kassie’s time <3 It was her decision to step down from the board member as the demands and priorities in her life changed and pretty quickly! We wish Kassie the best in her life and are grateful for the time that she put into this organization – we will miss her and her love of rescue!!
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.