Board Members

Kelli Mazzella, President

As an avid animal lover, I first fell in love with pugs after watching one of my all-time favorite movies, The Adventures of Milo and Otis. When I was in middle school, our family adopted a fawn pug puppy named Winston, from a local pet store, and since then many other pugs have touched my life throughout the years. It wasn’t until the winter of 2016 that my husband, Michael, and I adopted our very own pug, Munchkin, from the Green Mountain Pug Rescue. As of the spring of 2016, I joined the GMPR family alongside my sister, Amy Rothenberger, where I hope to create my own niche through my experience, creativity and passion for these loving animals. I became President of the Board of Directors in 2019 and I’m excited for this new adventure.

I grew up in Essex, Vermont and after high school graduation, I moved to Albany, New York to attend pharmacy school at the Albany College of Pharmacy. After completion of my doctorate, I moved back to Vermont to do my residency in hospital pharmacy practice and I stayed on at the University of Vermont Medical Center to provide patient care while teaching for my alma mater at both their local and New York campuses. Currently, I live in Milton, VT with Michael, Munchkin and our two cats, Marie and Chloe.


Amy Rothenberger, Vice President, Website & Social Media Manager

I am a native Vermonter and has always had a pug in my family since I was a child.

My first pug was our family dog named Winston and he was the reason why my family fell in love with the pug breed. When I was in college, I adopted my first pug of my own from a fellow student who was moving back to Taiwan after graduation and couldn't take him with her. His name was Sky and even though he had some handicaps due to a car accident when he was a puppy, he was a happy pug. Sky and Winston loved going to the GMPR Pug Social's which is how I was introduced to the rescue.

I am a graduate from the University of Hartford, CT with a Bachelor of Art degree in Web Development and a graduate from Champlain College in Burlington, VT with a Master of Science degree in IT Management and a certificate in CyberSecurity. I work for the IT Department as a Service Management Office Lead for the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, VT.

I live in an old farmhouse in Jericho, VT with my husband, Albie, our fawn pug named Stewie (pictured), our GMPR Alumni, Wally and Rat Terrier, Chance. My sister, President and GMPR Board member, Kelli, is a pug owner when she adopted Munchkin from GMPR in January 2016 which lead to me joining GMPR as a board member. I redesigned the GMPR website to its current design and continue to maintain the website. You can see me at most of the events GMPR attends and I am a foster mom for GMPR. I became Vice President of the Board of Directors in 2019 and I look forward to applying my skills in this position.

Phil Douglas, Treasurer & Judy Douglas, Foster/Transport Coordinator

Phil & Judy Douglas have been involved with GMPR since the formative days of the rescue in 2002. Phil is a retired Civil Engineer and Judy is a Member Services Representative for a local credit union. They met and married in Los Angeles, CA and lived in Rancho Cucamonga for 25 years until they retired from their respective jobs to move to Vermont where Phil grew up. Phil is a VT Tech and UVM graduate. Judy attended college in California. They moved to Vermont just in time to join the fledgling GMPR.

Phil & Judy became pug lovers when they adopted “Rosie” from Little Angels Pug Rescue in Los Angeles and “Spike”, a Pug-Chihuahua from the Riverside, CA animal shelter. Then they adopted a pug named “Moose” from the Upland, CA shelter. When “Rosie” died “Lucy” joined the family as an 8-week old puppy. During the Vermont years “Moose” and “Spike” crossed the Rainbow Bridge and “Lucy” was joined by adoptions “Sonny Ray” and “Trigger”, both of which have since passed on. Currently “Lucy” is Trail Boss to “Misty” (Liver Shunt), “Peach” (blind and diabetic) and “Rocky” (ADHD).

Judy now works part-time to support her Pug habit and Phil has retired again. Judy is the Foster/Transport Coordinator for GMPR and was the Vice-President of the Board of Directors from 2002 to 2018. Phil is the Treasurer for the rescue. They spend non-rescue time riding their Harleys around New England and puttering around their Mendon, VT home when time and weather allows.

Dave LeBeau, Secretary

I am a native Vermonter who currently lives in East Barre with my husband Neil. I drive 18 wheelers for FedEx Freight for work and am the Driver Training Officer for Shelburne Rescue on weekends. I am an avid dog lover. I rescued my first pug, Bella, about 7 years ago. From that moment, I knew that Pugs were my favorite breed. After meeting Neil a little over 5 years ago, and helping him fall in love with the breed, we rescued our next one, Caesar. With Bella being black and Caesar being fawn, we just knew we needed one more at which time we drove to Kentucky and rescued our third, Big Boy (pictured). Unfortunately, Big Boy passed away in December of 2017 from a very aggressive cancer. We just knew that rescuing pugs was what we enjoyed doing because it meant getting them out of high kill shelters and into loving homes. Now we can do it with the help of the amazing people who are a part of this rescue!

We have been fosters for GMPR for about 6 months or so now. Since we started, we have taken on 2 fosters. First was Zoey who was a 10-year-old diabetic and blind pup. She was the sweetest girl ever. Thankfully, she got adopted after 3 short months. Had she been here much longer, she would have been a foster fail by us. Our second foster is Chiquita who currently resides here in the house and is available on the GMPR website under “available pugs”. She is a very sweet, very affectionate pug/chihuahua mix. Once she finds her forever home, we will be taking on yet another and couldn’t be happier to do so. The pug personality and silly demeanor are our most desirable traits.


Helen Bryan

I am a native Vermonter and I have lived with animals my entire life: dogs, cats, horses, goats and various rodents. Our home is a Vermont farmhouse where we have lived for over 30 years, raising our family. My husband, Shawn and I are closing in on 35 years of marriage, having both worked in professional offices and both retired from the Vermont Army National Guard. Our two big dogs were foster failures from Central Vermont Humane. Add in a comical black one-eyed pug named Kiki and that's our current family.

We have loved pugs for 20 years, when we first brought home a pair of black pug puppies for our two young daughters. Several pugs and years later, I started fostering for GMPR. I had already fostered for The Central Vermont Humane Society and Potters Angels Rescue. We have fostered countless cats and kittens over the years, and many dogs of all breeds including two litters of puppies! But my biggest love is the Pugs. We have fostered over a dozen pugs in just two years. I love the seniors and misfits.

I was asked to joining the GMPR Board in the Spring of 2014 and was excited to take on the challenge. The challenges only grew when I became President of Green Mountain Pug Rescue through 2018.

Neil Kelly

A Boston native, comes to GMPR with a passion for and dedication to pugs! A current resident of Barre, Velt, he graduated from the University of Vermont in 2016 with his degree in education, is currently a fourth grade teacher at Lyndon Town School, and is pursuing his master’s degree through SNHU. Outside of being a teacher and schooling, Neil enjoys the outdoors, a good book, and quality time with his partner, Dave, and 8 year old pugs, Bella and Caesar (both of whom were rescued). Neil has grown up with dogs his entire life, adopting dogs from various shelters and more recently fostering pugs through GMPR, including Zoey and Chiquita. His love for pugs burgeoned when he met Dave, who had adopted Bella when she was a year old in Jericho, Vt. Since attending events like GMPR’s Pug Social, Wag It Forward, and being a foster to several pugs, Neil’s love for for the breed has continued to grow and he would encourage anyone to foster, adopt, and welcome a pug into their life to experience love and connection like no other.

Stefanie VanAmerongen

I have always loved animals. Growing up my family shared out home with dogs, cats, a sweet rabbit and adorable guinea pig. I spent many years of my childhood riding horses. Throughout high school I worked for a veterinarian and loved working in the veterinary setting. It was challenging, rewarding and I was helping care for a wide range of animals which was exactly what I wanted to be doing.

After graduating from SUNY Albany with a BS and Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling, my husband Tom and I, settled in Saratoga Springs NY. In Saratoga we raised our two sons and shared our home with a variety of dogs and cats. I have worked in healthcare services and insurance for over 30 years.

In 2006, after the loss of our Shepard mix Maggie, our family was looking for a dog to join our family. Through Pet finder, we found GMPR. We were a very active and busy family and thought that we might want to adopt a smaller breed with all the personality of the larger breeds that we had lived with. That is when Ellie came into our lives. We applied through GMPR and Ellie was being fostered with the GMPR volunteer who conducted our site visit. Ellie was a puppy mill survivor with a ton of ‘pugattude’. It was love at first site and we were fortunate enough to be approved and to adopt her. Soon, I was volunteering for GMPR and our family was an active GMPR foster family. We love the pug personality, sprit and attitude. They live up to their reputation, a lot of dog in a little space.

In 2019, I was happy to accept an invitation to join the GMPR Board and continue to support the mission of GMPR. Our family currently includes 5 adopted GMPR pugs, Toby, Rupert, Abbie, Bubbie and Norman.

Jessica Sardella

I’m an Upstate New Yorker born and raised. My husband and I live and work in Voorheesville (near Albany). We have 4 wonderful adult human children, our pack of 3 perfect little rescues as well as many rescued fur grandbabies. In my professional career, I deal with critical path planning, risk management, financial reporting, and resource management among many other tasks. All require an attention to detail, ability to prioritize and a great deal of patience and diplomacy.

While being partial to Pugs, I’m passionate about animal rescue for all breeds. I was owned by 2 pugs before I joined GMPR. As an uneducated consumer, I purchased them from a pet store. I quickly fell in love with the breed, did my research and discovered all the horrors of commercial and irresponsible breeding. I decided I had to give these poor souls a voice and be their advocate. The fine folks at GMPR allowed me to join them in their mission, as a result I became a volunteer in 2006. My first foster was a beautiful, broken little lady from an Ohio puppy mill transport, Pug #### who would come to be known as Hannabelle. It was love at first sight, she was my first rescue and from that point on I was hooked. I picked up the home visit coordinator role in 2007 where I’ve been fortunate enough to build relationships with many wonderful volunteers across the Northeast who share our passion and dedication for rescue. We adopted Miss Haley in 2007 (owner surrender) and most recently we’ve adopted Sonny Ray Jr. (breeder surrender) in January 2019. We also have a Miniature Poodle, Lady Josephine, (puppy mill survivor) that we adopted in 2013.

I continue to volunteer in whatever capacity required of me including fostering, transports, fundraising, expanding our volunteer base, etc. I’m dedicated to furthering our mission of advancing the public’s awareness of our existence, the Pug breed, responsible pet ownership, and helping to place our rescues with loving, capable and worthy forever homes.

HOME    |    ADOPT    |    SURRENDER    |    VOLUNTEER    |    SUPPORTERS    |    ABOUT    |    EVENTS    |    PUG TALES    |    LINKS

Copyright © 2016 Green Mountain Pug Rescue.

facebook twitter homepage