Meet our team!
Isabelle Gullo, Cofounder and Executive Director
Isabelle cofounded C.A.R.E.4Paws in 2009. She was a longtime shelter volunteer who recognized the desperate need for programs that reduce pet overpopulation and intervene before animals suffer and/or end up homeless. Isabelle, a Swedish native and journalist by trade, is proud of the rapid progress C.A.R.E.4Paws has made and feels grateful to work in a field she’s so passionate about. She also loves running, beachtime, lake life and salsa dancing, and treasures time with her many rescue pets and son, Julian, who’s a dedicated animal advocate and C.A.R.E.4Paws volunteer.
Carlos Abitia, Cofounder and Community Medicine & Spay/Neuter Outreach Manager
Since 2009, Carlos has helped build C.A.R.E.4Paws’ Community Outreach and Spay/Neuter Programs from the ground up. A bilingual, trained veterinarian from Mexico, Carlos has many years of experience working with families in underserved communities with the goal to create awareness around compassionate pet care and connect pet owners to the resources they need. He heads our mobile clinic operations and Pet Wellness Clinics.
Wendy Domanski, Community Programs Coordinator
Wendy moved from Chicago to Santa Barbara in 2017 with her husband Kyle, and their two dogs Bear and Wink. A lifelong animal lover, Wendy knew she wanted to follow her passion for photography and animals so in 2015 she quit her career in sales to become a professional pet photographer and started WinkFace Photography. In her spare time, Wendy volunteers at Santa Barbara Animal Services and helps take photos of the dogs at the shelter. When she doesn’t have a camera in her hand, you will mostly find her and her husband exploring Santa Barbara’s amazing beaches, wineries and restaurants.
Esme Medina, Clinic Services Coordinator
Esme has worked in the animal wellness industry since 2007 and with Santa Barbara County Animal Services since 2010. With her bilingual and organizational skills and compassionate personality, she has helped make a big impact within Santa Barbara County’s Hispanic community, especially, by providing critical information and sharing resources that help clients provide the best possible care for their pets. Esme will continue to build great relationships in our community in her part-time position for C.A.R.E.4Paws. She looks forward to helping and growing with our organization.
Tom Thompson, DVM, Mobile Clinic Veterinarian
Dr. Tom Thompson, or “Dr. T.” is a graduate of UC Davis Veterinary College. Two years after he graduated, Dr. Thompson took over Alamar Animal Hospital in Santa Barbara and later opened Adobe Animal Hospital, which he owned until 2005. Since then, Dr. Thompson has worked at several different vet clinics, including Your Pals, while also performing high-volume spays/neuters for shelters and the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society. He became C.A.R.E.4Paws’ Mobile Clinic veterinarian in 2016 and has assisted thousands of clients since with spays/neuters and medical treatment.
Board Of Directors
Christopher Harris, President
Chris Harris is an audit partner with Damitz, Brooks, Nightingale, Turner & Morrisset with more than 20 years of experience in public accounting, with emphasis on nonprofits. A graduate of Claremont McKenna College, Chris moved to Santa Barbara in 2012 after more than 12 years with Pricewaterhouse Coopers. He joined C.A.R.E.4Paws as board treasurer in 2014. He contributes to American Pets Alive! Human Animal Support Services national coalition and volunteers for Santa Barbara County Animal Services. He also serves as president for Alpha Resource Center, treasurer for the Santa Barbara Symphony, vice president for the Santa Barbara Running Association, and on the Claremont McKenna College’s Athletic Advisory Board.
Kathryn Courain, Treasurer
A partner at Avalan Wealth Management, Kathryn has more than two decades of experience assisting high-net-worth clients with their total wealth management needs, including perpetual trust planning, private foundation and charitable planning, commercial financing and tax planning. Kathryn grew up in Santa Barbara County and was an avid equestrian for more than 30 years. She has a passion for supporting animal welfare charities, especially C.A.R.E.4Paws with its focus on providing proactive, progressive and educational solutions to the problems facing pets and their owners.
Dan Keep, Secretary
Dan grew up in Fresno and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from Fresno State more years ago than he would like to admit. He and his wife, Darcy, who has worked at Cottage Hospital for nearly twenty years, moved to Santa Barbara in 1998. Dan has been a Warehouse Manager, Merchandise Manager, owned two small businesses and is currently working toward publishing Goleta Neighbors Magazine, a new magazine for Goleta area residents. Dan joined the fundraising committee at C.A.R.E.4Paws in 2016 and the Board of Directors in 2017.
Sharon Kantanen, Director
Sharon comes to us from Chicago, where she worked in the human resource industry for 22 years. She volunteers for Montecito MERRAG and Santa Barbara CERT and SCART (So. Calif Animal Rescue Team). For many years, she volunteered in animal rescue, wildlife rehabilitation and Trap, Spay/Neuter, Release programs (TNR). Her life has been shared with countless best friends, including baby deer, ducks, pigeons, squirrels, turtles, snakes, mice, and more. She now lives in Santa Barbara with her beloved blind cats.
Day Yeager, Director
Day has lived in Santa Barbara and now Solvang for a combined 44 years, is a UCSB alumnus, and since retiring in 2008 as a financial analyst for satellite programs, she began doing what really matters to her: fostering, adoption assistance, and fundraising for local homeless and medical needs animals and animal welfare groups. She became a Buddhist in 1981 and hopes to bring the Buddhist values of deep respect and active compassion to her behind-the-scenes efforts to help animals. Her husband, Andrew, and their entire four-footed family are in on the effort, too, and have welcomed many “visitors” over the years, some of whom have never left. Joining the Board of C.A.R.E.4Paws was a natural next step in the drive to keep animals in their homes and out of shelters.
Nancy Curtis, Director
Growing up in Santa Barbara, Nancy’s compassion for animals began at a young age. Always having animals as a child, Nancy shares her home with four rescue male cats, all of whom she adores. She joined the C.A.R.E.4Paws board in 2018 and is most honored to be a part of the “Team.” She looks forward to helping C.A.R.E.4Paws as we continue to create awareness about animal welfare and the programs available to pet owners in need in our community–all with the goal to improve the lives of our furry friends. In the early mornings, you will find her swimming and in her free time, you will find her in her garden.
Thomas Fisher, Director
Thomas Fisher, CFA, CFP SVP, Senior Portfolio Manager at Montecito Bank & Trust, has deep roots in the banking industry and a passion for exceptional service. Santa Barbara-raised, with multiple degrees and credentials within the finance industry, Tom is a highly distinguished portfolio manager with a focused and knowledgeable approach to providing his clients with objective investment advice and unparalleled results. Tom has 30+ years of investment management experience, including overseeing assets for individuals, families, private foundations and other charitable organizations. Tom also has a big heart for animal welfare, a passion that brought him to C.A.R.E.4Paws. Tom also volunteers with the Financial Planning Association (FPA), providing pro-bono financial planning to wounded military veterans and their families.
Cindy Whelan, Director
Cindy Whelan grew up in Fairfax Virginia, outside of Washington DC, and moved to Santa Barbara in 2003 to marry her husband, Nick. Cindy has worked in the telecommunications industry for many years in a variety of sales and marketing roles. She grew up with cats, but discovered the joy of dogs when she met Lucky, Nick’s golden retriever. Cindy joined a golden retriever rescue in 2014, where she found Rusty, who became a beloved family member. Through rescue, her eyes were opened to the plight of dogs that were surrendered or abandoned and she become committed to helping animals in need. Cindy has volunteered with Santa Barbara Animal Services since 2019, and joined the C.A.R.E.4Paws team in early 2020.
Cam Gittler, Director
Cam Gittler is a local realtor with Gittler Group, and has been a realtor and property developer for 20 years. She moved to Santa Barbara with her husband and two young daughters to attend UCSB, and later Pepperdine University, where she earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in psychology respectively. She worked for years at Transition House serving Santa Barbara’s homeless population. She is a member of the Junior League of Santa Barbara where as past president she now serves on their Past President Council. She and her husband care for their two very busy dogs.