We encourage all of our volunteers, staff and directors to develop the following skills in order to help Pets Return Home exceed its mission, vision and goals.
Competencies: Strategic thinker, Relationship builder, Collaborative decision-maker, Effective communicator, & Inspiring motivator
Personality Traits: High integrity, Adaptable/Agile, Perseverant/Patient, Interpersonal sensitivity, & Passionate about the mission
Knowledge/Expertise: Financial acumen, Deep animal-welfare-community knowledge, Understanding & valuing diversity, & Canine Behavior & Care
About Mark Happe
Mark is co-founder of Pets Return Home.
As a young boy in summer camp, Mark developed his deep compassion for dogs when he found an abandoned litter of 12 puppies. With the help of camp counselors, he nursed the pups to health so they ultimately found good homes.
In 1980, Mark began his journey as a search and rescue expert. While he was leading trail hikes, a hiker lost her dog. For two weeks, Mark camped out, searched, and finally located the extremely hungry pet. He returned the dog to the owner and vividly remembers her joyful tears.
In the mid 80’s, Mark heard through a connection about the horrible abuse that occurs in dog fighting. Reluctant fighting dogs are often killed by their owners if they are not “competitive” in the “sport.” Mark developed an alternative solution. Any dog unwilling or unable to fight would be taken under Mark’s care. For eight years, , while working full time and attending college, Mark attended to, trained and re-homed more than 20 abused, “unadoptable” pit bull dogs.
In the late 90’s, Mark traveled to India and saw the horrific slaughter of more than 100 stray dogs by “animal control professionals”. Mark reaffirmed his commitment to rescue dogs.
Director of Search and Rescue
In the last 25 years, Mark has tracked dogs in extreme temperatures and for months at a time. He has reunited more than 200 dogs with their families. He has recruited a group of animal search and rescue members, known as the Animal Search and Rescue Team (ASART). This team incorporates the same methods to find lost animals as the military, police and search and rescue teams use. Mark is creator and primary instructor of training programs that are replicated across the country to reunite lost dogs with their families.
Lead Behavioral Modification Professional
The Board and Train program is a simple, yet effective way to eliminate the unnecessary euthanasia of canines due to lack of knowledge.
In his spare time, Mark takes goats, horses and dogs on cross species hikes and camping trips in the desert and canyon areas outside his ranch.
“Enabling animals and humans to survive in harmony; not for profit, but for mutual compassion for all living things.” ~Mark Happe
About Kelly Hughes
Kelly is co-founder of Pets Return Home. Her life profoundly changed when she embarked on an epic journey to care for Shiloh, a stray canine found on the streets of Mesa, AZ. Shiloh came to live with Kelly and Mark and soon after arrival, she was diagnosed with distemper, a very serious illness in dogs. It was very difficult for Shiloh to remain mobile as the disease attacks the brain and spinal cord. Kelly incorporated physical therapy techniques to help Shiloh move more independently and maintain the best quality of life possible. Shiloh put up a good fight, but despite the intensive treatment she received, she sadly passed away.
Witnessing how her treatment had positively impacted Shiloh’s final days, Kelly became quite inspired to help more canines reach their rehabilitation potential.
Kelly continues to be impressed with how much joy that happy, physically healthy and socialized canines bring to their humans. Caring for dogs in need with the objective of getting them ready for adoption or returning them healthy to their families is a mission that Kelly truly believes in.
Kelly has an undergraduate degree in business and a Doctorate in physical therapy. She has worked in non-profit management, event planning, and currently works as a physical therapist (for humans) at a local hospital.
Director of Medical Care and Physical Therapy
Kelly applies her education, training and experience to provide rescue canines with appropriate medical and rehabilitative treatment. She is currently pursuing a certificate in canine rehabilitation through the University of Tennessee Canine Rehabilitation Certificate Program. Medical care for our convalescence patients is supervised by licensed veterinarians. Kelly’s mission is to make Pets Return Home the premier convalescence and rehabilitation facility for canines, with exclusive focus on those with the greatest need. Excellent care paired with efficiency guide our efforts, allowing for long term relationships with established rescue organizations.
Tucker – Board and Train Ambassador
Hi, I’m Tucker. I’m a Sharpei and Labrador mix (Sharbador). I’m so lucky. I was once on the list for euthanasia at the local animal control facility because I needed eye surgery for an ingrown eyelash. Fortunately, I was able to hook up with Pets Return Home. I’m sort of an expert here and I meet each new dog to see if they are overtly dog-on-dog aggressive. If the dog is, I just turn my back on him and walk away. I make sure there’s no fighting and the behavior specialists here note how the other dog reacts.
Hi, I’m Turbo. I’m a Louisiana Catahoula Leopard dog adopted from the local shelter. My job at Pets Return Home is to engage new dogs in play when they arrive. I’m pretty submissive and I can usually get even the grumpiest guests to play when I lie on my back.
Roxie here. I’m a Blue Pit Bull. I’ve had six litters in my three years at the scary puppy mill. I’m the primary alpha canine at the facility, and they tell me I offer outstanding correction skills in the Puppy IQ program. I really enjoy playing with all the dogs at Pets Return Home. I just won’t tolerate dog-on-dog aggressiveness.
Hi, I’m Bella. I’m an all white Pit Bull mix who can’t hear a thing. In spite of being deaf, my energy level and endurance is unmatched. I make sure the dogs, horses and goats get plenty of exercise so they don’t develop boredom-related stress.
Hey, we’re Arrow, Paddy and Synergy, three horses who were lucky to have been rescued from awful situations. We each assist in different ways in teaching dogs about how to respectfully behave around horses.