Thomas Lapham 

Tom in his day to day life is an Executive Vice President for a western Washington foundation drilling company. Tom holds a degree in construction management. He also studied Early Childhood Education in college and has a Certificate of Completion for the ECE program.  Tom worked part time for several years with children (Including special needs children) during and after leaving college. He personally organized, worked with and ran numerous recreational programs for the city of Boulder Creek, Santa Cruz County California. This program included children from grades 1 to 6. In addition, over the years Tom has volunteered his time often at Pre-school and daycare programs.  Tom is a natural leader and believes in education through kindness and positive self-esteem technique. 

Director of Operations


 Kelly Lapham

Kelly Lapham previously worked in the veterinary industry.  Kelly is now retired and runs the day to day operations at BDFS. Kelly also grew up on a farm and spent many years in 4H and FFA. She has been instrumental in the rescue of neglected horses and has assisted with the facilitation of finding homes for numerous abandoned and abused animals. 

Kelly keeps current with events affecting the animals in the western Washington area. In addition, she remains updated on the veterinary field and the dos and don’ts in regards to how to care for farm animals. Kelly is an accomplished horse women and well versed in riding and training techniques. She has a natural ability to encourage and teach children her knowledge and numerous skills regarding the care of animals .Kelly is a trained artist who studied at Seattle Centrals acclaimed graphic design program and hopes to eventually incorporate art classes into Black Dawgs criteria. She has a degree in Visual Communications with a background in marketing, sales and employee leadership.  Kelly is a member of CHA (Certified Horsemanship Association) and P.A.T.H. International and is currently studying for her ESHML (Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning) through PATH International.

Founding Board Member


 Amy Cottrille DVM

Dr. Cottrille is a Washington state native, spending half her childhood in Eastern Washington in a small farming and ranching community, and the other half in the Seattle suburbs. She grew up in a family that loved animals, and has wanted to be a veterinarian since the age of six. She was greatly encouraged and supported to follow that path by her immediate and extended family.   

After graduating from Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1998, she practiced at Rose Hill Animal Hospital in Kirkland, WA, then as a relief (substitute) veterinarian in the greater eastside area. She has always been intrigued with the idea of house calls after spending a day with a house call veterinarian in Sequim as a senior veterinary student. The ability to spend more time with the patient in a relaxed setting made a lot of sense, both for the comfort of the patient and their owner, and for the ability to have a more comprehensive exam in the patient’s natural setting. 

Founding Board Member


 Toby Ewing, DVM

 An upbringing immersed in 4H equestrian activities inspired Dr. Toby Ewing’s interest in horse health. Dr. Ewing received his veterinary degree in 1998 from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University.  After spending his early career beside his mentor, Dr. John Q. Mitten, DVM, Dr. Ewing established Los Caballos Equine Veterinary service.  Over a decade of successful practice has made Dr. Ewing a realistic and pragmatic practitioner with a conservative approach to his patient’s treatment. Dr. Ewing and his wife Dani are an amazing team, providing the utmost care to their large animal patients. 

Founding Board Member


 Dawn Givens

At the young age of 20, Dawn started working in the Mortgage and Escrow industry helping people achieve their dreams of owning their own home. At the age of 38, she decided that it was time to start a family and is now a stay at home mother of 2 very busy little boys and 3 big rescue dogs. She has always had a huge heart for animals in need. Living up in North Bend on 10 acres, she hopes to add more animals to her household over the next few years.

Founding Board Member


 Juliet (Hall) Shier   B.S.Ed., M.S.Ed.

Juliet grew up playing in the forests and fields of the Snoqualmie Valley.  Her love of animals, adventure, and all things outdoors inspired her to travel and teach around the world.  However, she has always considered Washington her home.  

Juliet is an experienced and energetic teacher who is very interested not only the academic, but social emotional development of her students.  She has earned a Master’s Degree in Science in Education, a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, and has twenty-four years of experience in elementary and middle school classrooms.

In addition to teaching, Juliet has also worked mentoring university education department interns.  She looks forward to working with Black Dawg Farm and Sanctuary to develop and help deliver quality curriculum;  to inspire children, teens and adults  through our core values:

Creating a Safe and Nurturing Environment
Create Opportunity for growth
Shared Governance;
Social Responsibility

Founding Board Member


Tracy Tomlinson DVM

Dr. Tomlinson has been in practice for 21 years as a small animal veterinarian. Her interests involves overall preventative care for felines and canines, feline reproduction, infectious diseases of the cat, and neoplasia within Golden Retrievers. Dr. Tomlinsons entire career has been within the Puget Sound community with a focus on client education about preventive care.  Dr. Tomlinson is an Alum of Washington State University, she graduated from there in 1998.   

Her background consists of practice ownership, working for both private and corporate practices, and volunteer work with the local feral cat spay/neuter project. Dr. Tomlinsons fur-baby family consists of two awesome Golden Retrievers ( Silver and Wally) and an amazing group of sphynx kitties.  

Dr. Tomlinson is the Chief of Staff for the Banfield of Mill Creek and has been a part of the team for ten years.

Board Member


Ann McLaren

Bio Coming Soon

Board Member


Jeri Taylor-Swade

Jeri is a Washington State Native. She fell in love with Kelly and Tom and the mission of the Black Dawg Farm & Sanctuary and has tried to help in every way she can to promote, encourage and lift up that mission. Jeri has an Entrepreneur spirit and has been owner of several companies and at the time is a Cosmetic Executive of an Multi-Million Dollar International team. Jeri, her Daughter-in-Law and Grand-Daughter chose to film a commercial that was entered into a contest at the Farm in order to uphold the mission and bring awareness to the animals in need. The ad won the competition and was featured on one of the huge JumboTron screens in New York Time Square. Jeri has been on the Board of Advisors for another Non-Profit and likes to help wherever necessary to raise money or promote awareness. She was on the Board for the Local Civitan Organization for years as well. Her buddy at the farm is Clyde the Goat!

Board Member


Ryfka Schaefer

Ryfka has worked as a strategic management consultant for 22 years, engaging with the federal government, Microsoft, Target, and other Fortune 500 companies on growth strategies and program management. She has an undergraduate degree from University of Maryland, College Park and an MBA from George Washington University. She moved from the east coast to WA state a few years ago and was interested in helping animal rescue organizations, as she'd done back home. Her consulting company conducted 300 hours of pro-bono growth strategy work for Black Dawg, and Ryfka was a volunteer with the farm for two years before that. Ryfka is also a  fiction writer under the pen name Rori Shay. Her 4 published books, while in the young adult category, deal with global issues such as climate change, animal welfare, and tolerance. With her family and rescue pets, she likes to read, write, and is an avid pumpkin-picker during the Halloween season. Ask her how to pick the perfect pumpkin that'll last from Oct through Dec...she'll have the answer! 




 "Sweetie" aka Black Dawg

Sweetie is the official mascot of Black Dawg Farm and Sanctuary, a position she hold most dear to her heart. Sweetie is a transplant from the tough streets of San Bernardino , California where she was incarcerated for being a homeless vagrant. The story is a bit murky, as she isn't sure what happened- somehow she ended up being poked, proded and surgically dehansed of her lady bits. Apparently, she was under some sort of mind altering drug. Again, this is why she is unable to recall the events well. She remembers waking up in a cell where she sat for arraignment. Luckly, she escaped the death sentence for being a stray loose-lady of questionable means and residence. She was  then shuttled up to Washington State, where she waited to be placed into a rehabilitative home for way-ward lady dogs. From there, a pair of matronly crusty old  lady dogs, Lilly and Riley ( God rest their souls) and their two human counterparts assumed responsibility for her and provided her with a home and manners.

From that point on, Sweetie vowed to never look back, she continued on her path of self discovery and assumed all kinds of morally upright duties. 

Sweetie is proud of her accomplishments- she excels at face licking, snuggling, greeting and fierce protector of the house and the two humans that reside there. She is at her happiest when she meets little humans and has some favorite people that she considers better than dogs. 

 Do not be afraid to meet his genteel lady of refined manners and  tastes, she adores nearly all she meets and is the epitome of her namesake.