Who We Are

Our Founder

Founded by Peggy Story in 2009, CareTX.org is a Dedicated Team of Pet Loving Rescuers.

No creature showers us with such unconditional love, full of trust and forgiveness as a rescue dog. I witness that love every day. I see it in the eyes of those who adopt rescues when they come face to face with their dog.

I see it reflected in the face of the dog who somehow knows that their human has arrived—at last! And it is inspiring. My own dogs inspire me every day to be my very best, and to always treat animals with the respect, dignity and love that they deserve.

Indeed, the love I felt for my dog, Cressie, inspired me to begin CareTX.org (Cressie Animal Refuge and Enrichment) a rescue and adoption agency.

"Ten years ago the euthanizing of smart, able dogs was not a part of my day-to-day awareness. Today it is!"

It is startling to realize that over one million dogs a year are euthanized in shelters across the U.S. That knowledge and experience has driven me to be part of a movement to enlighten everyone on the blessings of adopting a rescue dog. Dogs bring joy and happiness to our lives, but rescuing a shelter dog is not always a cakewalk! It takes a very special person to take on the task of undoing the harm that has often been done to these innocent creatures.

But each and every rescuer tells me over and over again that the reward for their effort is priceless. I am grateful that I and CareTX.org have had the opportunity to be a part of bringing the perfect companion to so many families through my years in rescue.

Join As A Volunteer Today!

We always need pet lovers and volunteers!

Our Team Members

Jessy Gillette

Social Media Coordinator

Jessy joined CareTX.org after discovering them online in 2016 online while living in California. She flew down to San Antonio for an interview and moved down a few weeks later to join the team. She is the Social Media Coordinator and handles the marketing and social media for CareTX.org. She has two rescue dogs, one who she found through fostering for CareTX.org. She loves photographing the dogs in the program, be sure to follow our Facebook and Instagram for some of the great photos!

Emily Cleveland

Adoption Coordinator

Emily has lived in Texas all her life but is a recent transplant to San Antonio and was thrilled to find her dream job with the CareTX.org team! She comes from a background of working closely with dogs and other animals. She is the Adoption Coordinator and handles matching the dogs with their perfect forever homes! She and her husband, Scott, have two rescue dogs at home and are both passionate about rescue work.

Teresa Strizich

Lead Foster Warrior

Teresa has been involved with saving the lives of dogs for over six years.  She specializes in some of the harder cases that need extra medical attention or more socialization.  Teresa will foster multiple dogs at a time and provides transportation to and from the airport for those finding their forever home.  She is a valuable team member who works with CareTX.org every day fulfilling the mission.  During her involvement with CareTX.org, Teresa has fostered over 600 dogs.

Kelli Kidder

Rescue Coordinator

Kelli comes to us from the restaurant industry but has been a foster for CareTX.org for a number of years.  It was her deep love and passion for dogs that prompted her to change her career and get involved to make a difference.  Kelli fills the role of foster coordinator and works with different foster families to find an ideal match.  Fostering saves lives.

Char Cushman

Lead Volunteer Transport Coordinator

Char has been working as a volunteer transporting dogs for CareTX.org for the last eight years.  Many within the CareTX.org circle have relied upon her to get their foster dog to the vet’s office, or deliver their foster dog from the shelter.  Char has driven thousands of miles to safely deliver dogs to their destinations.  Without her dedication we would be unable to save as many lives as we do.

Advisory Board Members

Rita Hudson

Dog Gone Business Executive

Rita Hudson has been in the banking and finance industry for over 35 years, and 25 years with USAA.  Not only does she sit as the chair of the CareTX.org advisory board, she’s been on the advisory  board for over 5 years. She also is a member of the CareTX.org board of directors. She and her husband have a daughter and 4 grandchildren that share in their love of fostering dogs and satisfaction of helping save the lives of dogs in desperate need and inevitable euthanization.

Geoff Burbridge

Banking on Man's Best Friend

Geoff Burbridge joined the advisory board in 2019 after he and his family rescued their dog Buddy through CareTX.org. Geoff is the Vice President of Bank Contact Centers at USAA, and has called San Antonio home for 4 years. Originally from Michigan, Geoff attended Michigan State University before moving out West. Geoff has travelled extensively in his career, having worked in Asia and Latin America, and has been married for 11 years. Throughout his travels, he has seen the plight that homeless animals face around the world, and the important role that animal rescues play in making their lives better. After learning first-hand what CareTX.org does by attending its annual Gala, he knew he wanted to do more.

Amanda Palluch

Recovering Dog Addict

Amanda Palluch joined the CareTX.org advisory board in January of 2018.  She is married with two children and she and her husband own the Children’s Lighthouse Learning Center at Two Creeks.  She came upon CareTX.org through a friend and fellow animal lover, and initially became involved with CareTX.org’s foster program just over a year ago.  As she learned more about the organization and the amazing things they do she quickly realized she wanted to do more to help make an impact.

Alejandro Gandara

Dog Financial Advisor

Alejandro Gandara joined the advisory CareTX.org board in 2019 after his wife Alison Gandara, who also works with CareTX.org, introduced him to the organization and its mission.

Alejandro is an advisor at the boutique management consulting Integris Applied. While at Integris Alejandro has led their Finance practice, leading the financial aspect of client engagements as direct counterpart to the client CFO and internally heading product development and standard practices. From industrial manufacturers to large government agencies, his wide variety of clients has given him a perspective that brings depth to his work with CareTX.org.

Jessica Kozak

Dog Gone Business Executive

Jessica Kozak joined the CareTX.org advisory board in 2018 after she and her family rescued a CareTX.org dog.  Jessica is the HR Director for H-E-B Digital and brings more than twenty years of professional experience to her role.  Originally from New Jersey, Jessica attended Georgian Court University where she graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. She went on to complete her Master’s Degree in Administration and Human Resources Management from Central Michigan University. Jessica has been married for 17 years, and is the mother of 3 teenagers. She is passionate about serving her community and in addition to her role on the advisory board of CareTX.org, she also leads a marriage ministry program in her parish, and directs her community’s summer swim team.

Bianca Maldonado

Dog Financial Advisor

South Texas Native, Bianca Maldonado recently joined the advisory board in 2020, but has been a CareTX.org supporter since 2015 when CareTX.org made her family’s first pet adoption possible. Bianca is a long-time employee of USAA with over 16 years of service as a 3rd Party Manager. Bianca stays very active and involved in her daughter’s high school sports activities and regularly volunteers with the Marshall Athletics Booster Club. She is passionate about continuing her education and is currently enrolled at the University of the Incarnate Word. With many years of supporting CareTX.org through fostering and volunteering, becoming a CareTX.org board member was yet another opportunity to expand her contribution to the organization.

Angela Speakman

Dog Financial Advisor

Angela Speakman has been a board member since 2015 and served as Board Chair in 2017 and 2018. She and her husband’s love of animals led them to CareTX.org much earlier as they started fostering with the organization in 2009. Many years later a big brown Lab named Mavis they were fostering stole their hearts and permanently joined the Speakman family. Angela has worked for Valero Services, Inc. since she moved to Texas in 2005. She is originally from Nanaimo, British Columbia which is located on beautiful Vancouver Island in Canada. She finds it amazing that several of her foster dogs have been adopted to forever homes in Canada and would like say a big “THANK YOU” to her fellow Canadians and to those across the US for helping our dogs in Texas.

Chrissie Welborn

Canine Nautical Instructor

Chrissie Welborn has served on the CareTX.org advisory board for 5 years.  A Navy Veteran and tenured employee of Booz Allen Hamilton, her passion lies in expanding CareTX.org’s reach to both the local communities and throughout the nation.

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