Meet Our Crew

Christine Hubbard

Christine Hubbard

Founder and President

In April 2011, I wanted to do something for the greater good in honor of my birthday, so I decided to start volunteering at one of our local shelters. Little did I know how that decision would change me forever. From that day on, I have been actively working to improve the lives of feral cats.

My first step was founding LYFF later that year to give feral cats in shelters—who are typically relegated to euthanasia lists—a second chance at life as working barn cats. I’m proud to say that in more than a dozen years of operation, our barn cat program has saved and placed more than 3,000 working felines around San Diego County.

LYFF and I still have more we want to accomplish for our feral felines. One goal was to establish a TNR program started at that local shelter, which we helped establish. Another dream is that someday shelters would end the euthanasia of feral cats. We’ve helped make this true for one shelter, and we continue our efforts to make that change more widespread.

I’m proof that one person can make a difference, and LYFF is proof that collectively we can work together to accomplish incredible, amazing things—and save thousands of lives in the process. Let’s take this journey together to change the lives of as many at-risk cats as we can.


Melissa Dunaj

Executive Director and Vice President

I started my animal welfare journey in 2011 working in veterinarians’ offices and at animal shelters. Especially in the shelters, the work was tremendously rewarding and unbelievably heartbreaking. I was determined that more could be done to save animals labeled unadoptable and destined for euthanasia. Doing so became my passion—so much that even when I stepped back from a full-time job to raise my kids, I couldn’t stay away for long.

I joined LYFF as a volunteer in 2017 when Christine asked me to establish a new Foster & Adoption Program, and I’m still here because it feels like home. What I love about our organization is that we can step in where shelters can’t. We fill the gaps and try to make a positive difference in the world. Of course, there are still heartbreaking moments, but what gets us through them is the incredible team of like-minded volunteers that are in this fight with us every day. It’s gratifying and motivating to see so many people come together to be the voices for animals that can’t speak for themselves.


Sean Berger

Social Media Director

My two cats are both rescues, and I’m grateful every day that someone was there to heal and save our precious kitties from a dangerous existence on the street. That’s why I started volunteering with LYFF in 2017, because if I can give someone else the gift of loving, healthy cats, it’ll be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I continue to foster kittens and manage social media because I’m inspired by the passion every one of our volunteers has to responsibly save as many lives as possible—each and every day, they do all they can to make a difference and leave no cat behind. I’m proud to be a small part of that. And I have to say, time flies when you’re helping save lives!

Melissa C with cat

Melissa Catellier

Intake & Data Director

A simple adoption event changed my life. Thanks to LYFF, we brought home a second cat that weekend, which led to signing up to foster with them. Then, when my first foster kitten was adoptable, I started volunteering at adoption weekends, helping transport kitties, and assisting with data entry—and I’ve basically never stopped! As part of intake and ongoing care, I’ve also grown comfortable with the medical aspect of rescue. And through doing data entry and maintaining accurate records, I’ve become the unofficial “LYFF Historian,” with information at my fingertips about any of our felines. Mostly what I’ve learned is that rescue is never easy or smooth—there are hiccups, heartbreak, and lots of hard days. But it’s worth it to see the kittens and cats you loved and raised find their forever homes. I’m proud to contribute so many hours of my life to such an amazing cause, and I can’t wait to see how many more cats we can save in the future!

Jen with kitten

Jennifer Liu

Foster Program Director

What started as a hobby to balance my hours of schoolwork has turned into my all-consuming passion for helping the most at-risk cats and kittens. I started volunteering with LYFF in 2018, and immediately felt at home—from the beginning, I knew LYFF was the organization and the people I wanted to spend my time with. Based on 15 years of pharmacy experience and a lifelong interest in medicine, I graduated quickly to fostering the most complicated medical cases and helping most of them to thrive. The more I volunteered, the more I realized how much these animals need our help and how much joy helping them brings me. As the Foster Program Director for LYFF, I’m able to mentor, support, and grow a team of volunteer foster families who all work to end the cycle and help as many cats and kittens as possible.


Julie Arriola

Barn Cat Coordinator

I absolutely believe that all hissy kitties deserve a good home. A few years ago, we adopted a hissy kitty of our own from a shelter. She was a senior when we got her, and she passed away only five years later, but she’s the reason I am motivated to try to save more like her. I joined LYFF in 2020 to screen barn cat adopters and help them prepare good homes for their future working cats. Part of what I love about LYFF is that we support overcrowded shelters and save feral cats from being euthanized at the same time. It honestly breaks my heart that so many wonderful felines don’t get a second chance at life as a barn cat—but we’re doing everything we can to change that. Just like it’s a privilege when a cat lets me be their friend, it’s a privilege getting to help save lives every day.


Kendra Bates

Adoption Center Coordinator

I’ve loved cats my whole life—watching them always brings a smile to my face. I started volunteering with LYFF in 2021 because I wanted to contribute to a cause I’m passionate about. It means the world to me to spend time with our kitties, give them love and attention until they find their forever homes, and be a small part of their journey through a happy life. That’s why I am happy to coordinate volunteers and scheduling for the LYFF Adoption Center, because it’s a space filled with joy and fun and little, fuzzy characters. Every day, I appreciate the dedication our amazing volunteers bring to rescuing and saving our felines. Everyone puts their pure heart and soul into saving lives, and I’m honored to be part of the team.


Sally Chenoweth

Foster Coordinator

I honestly never thought I had the time to be able to volunteer with LYFF in addition to raising 3 kids and running my own business, but once I started in 2019, I made the time. If I can help save even one life, it’s 1,000% worth my effort. It’s the best feeling in the world knowing that my family and I have given kitties a chance to feel love, to have a warm and safe place to be, and to find their loving, forever homes. I’m excited to help support our current fosters and onboard all new fosters for two reasons. One, because I get to work with an amazing team of dedicated and selfless volunteers. And two, because I get to see and hear about the fun we all have with so many deserving kitties (those purrs, slow-blinks, and snuggles!). I encourage everyone: you do have time to help out, because there’s something for everyone, and you can absolutely make a difference!


Tammy Kaehler

Development Coordinator

I’m a writer who came to the cat world late (blame allergic family members), but I’m making up for it with enthusiasm. (Note: I prefer the term “Appropriately Enthusiastic Cat Lady.”) I found LYFF because we had a former-feral housecat and I liked that they were trying to help our less-adoptable felines. After we lost her, we went straight to LYFF to adopt brother and sister kittens. I loved what the organization was doing so much that I had to volunteer, so I started in 2020 by playing to my strengths: anything with words. First I tackled bios for the adoptable cats, then website content, then bios for the humans involved, and finally grant applications. With a little kitten fostering on the side. My motto? Have keyboard, will write anything that helps save more kitty lives!


Cindy Ohl

Volunteer Coordinator

Cats have always been a huge part of my life, and my daughter has been obsessed with them since the day she was born. It wasn’t until the pandemic in 2020 that we started fostering for LYFF, and we quickly realized what a meaningful way that is to give back. Helping cats who ended up on the streets or who were on a euthanasia list get a second chance and watching tiny sick babies grow into strong healthy cats in wonderful homes is the best reward we could ask for. I love that once LYFF takes in a cat or kitten, that feline is part of the LYFF family forever, and I’m in awe of the commitment everyone in the organization gives to help each a cat’s journey. Every time a cat is adopted, it’s a celebration for everyone in the organization. I look forward to being part of many more wonderful adoption stories!

Maya with a kitten

Maya Young

Adoption Program Coordinator

I was scared of cats until the age of 10, until my mom brought home an abandoned litter of kittens that we raised until they could be adopted. Since that time, cats have held a special place in my heart. After I lost the first cat I adopted as an adult, I started fostering in his honor. When I found LYFF in 2022, I immediately felt like part of the family—like I’d come home. The dedication and care each volunteer shows for our cats and kittens is unmatched, and I’m truly grateful to be surrounded by like-minded individuals who want to make a difference for the community. Besides fostering for LYFF, I coordinate adoption applications, and I am thrilled to be part of matching wonderful kitties with loving homes. I believe life is better with a purring, fluffy friend by your side.