Team Members

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Heidi Irwin

Animal Care Manager
Veterinary Technician Heidi Irwin joined HART as Medical Care Manager in 2023.  She is in charge of overseeing all aspects of care in the shelter, including feeding, behavior, housing, sanitation, and medical concerns.  Heidi had been a technician in the well-known veterinary clinic in Cambria operated by Dr. Ennis Ogorsolka for many years.  We are very fortunate to have someone with Heidi's expertise and dedication to animal care on our team. 
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Dr. Penny Fiser, DVM

HART Medical Team
Dr. Fiser was born and raised in Southern California.  She received her bachelors degree from UCLA, and her DVM from UC Davis.  She worked early in her veterinary career at the San Francisco SPCA Veterinary clinic and at South County Veterinary Hospital in Arroyo Grande.

Dr. Fiser married a large animal veterinarian and therefore moved to Visalia, where she owned a busy small animal clinic for 34 years until retirement in August of 2022.

Combining her love of cats and the Central Coast, Dr. Fiser came to HART to lend her medical expertise to improve the health and well being of the cats that come to HART.

Amy Yetter

HART Medical Team
Amy started in the Animal Healthcare field in 2000, working at a three DVM practice in Glendale, California. In 2001, Amy moved to Cambria and began her career at Cambria Animal Medical Center where she was not only a Veterinary Assistant certified for cold laser therapy, but was also Clinic Manager for 13 years. All in all, Amy has been in animal medicine for 23 years.  She has experience with all companion animals, not only dog and cats but pocket pets, rabbits, livestock, avian and reptiles.

Amy is now self-employed as a Companion Animal Caregiver, offering many services, including palliative care under the direction of a client’s DVM. That is where she serves with her heart as she helps pet parents navigate end stage disease of their beloved friend and prepare them for their fur baby to cross over the Rainbow Bridge. Amy brings her lifetime of experience with animals to HART's Board of Directors and Medical Team. 

Brittany Donecho

Foster Coordinator & Registered Veterinary Technician
Brittany graduated from Foothill College's Veterinary Technology program in 2012. Since obtaining her CA state and National licenses, she has worked in many areas of veterinary medicine including, general practice, emergency, shelter, physical rehabilitation and dentistry.

Brittany began working at HART in December 2018 and quickly got started on creating a Fear Free Initiative in order to reduce the fear, anxiety and stress of HART's shelter residents. Shortly after she took on the role of Foster Coordinator and created HART's highly successful Foster Club. During its first year, the Foster Club had 23 fosters from all over the central coast fostering a total of 85 adult cats and kittens. In 2020, she led HART staff and volunteers in completing Jackson Galaxy's Cat Pawsitive Program. This program helps shelter residents find and maintain their mojo using a trained set of behaviors and skills, which in turn, helps them to become highly adoptable.

Brittany and her husband moved to the central coast from the Bay Area in 2017 before the arrival of their baby girl. They have two dogs, Vincent and Scramble, and Pixel, their orange tabby.
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Cathy Wedel

Shelter Manager
Cathy was born and raised in New York and has traveled the United States living for a period in North Carolina, but ultimately finding her way to sunny California. Cathy has lived in Sacramento and Bakersfield, but now resides in the beautiful seaside town of Cayucos.

Cathy has always loved cats and has had a few of her own, often taking care of the stray and feral felines that would come to her farm house.  While she doesn’t have any cats at this time, she has an adorable Pomeranian - Chihuahua mix named Luna.

Cathy joined the HART team in 2018 and has been a dedicated member of our team. She has a Secretarial background, has worked as a Nursing Assistant, and has a Cosmetology license, “I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I have now found my calling here at HART. It’s the best job I have ever had!” Cathy also paints and makes jewelry, you can find some of her cat-themed artwork and jewelry in HART’s Gift Shop. 
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Wendy Wright

Donations & Events Coordinator
Wendy Wright is a life-long cat lover and cat owner. Wendy was born and raised in Central New York near her grandmother’s farm, which had lots of barn cats. Wendy received a BFA in Communication Design from SUNY Buffalo, then promptly left the snowy, cold and gray climate for the sunshine and warmth of Florida, then Texas and now California. She has worked for several advertising agencies, and has been a freelance graphic designer for twenty years. Wendy has extensive experience with non-profits and fundraising. She looks forward to using her capabilities to help HART as best she can. Wendy is seen here with her foster failure, Desi. 
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Dawn Ellner

Social Media
Dawn has never lived in a home without cats.  Her love for felines started when she was a toddler, and Rosie the Kitten was born in the rose bush in her backyard.  Since then, at least a dozen cats have been a part of her life.

Dawn grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and graduated from Santa Clara University with a BA in English Writing and Literature. After graduating, Dawn went on to teach elementary school for 20+ years before deciding to relocate to Cambria with her husband, 2 cats, 1 cockatiel, and 8 freshwater fish.

Dawn took the opportunity of a fresh start to pursue something new, and soon found herself at HART - taking portraits of the cats, creating social media, updating the website, volunteering for shelter shifts, giving shelter tours, training volunteers, and socializing cats with Jackson Galaxy's "Cat Pawsitive" program.  Dawn has been enjoying all HART has to offer, but especially loves creating content to help get the cats noticed and adopted.  Dawn is seen here with her cat, Kemba.  
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Shannon Melendy

Volunteer Coordinator
Shannon came to HART as Volunteer Coordinator in 2023.  We are thrilled to have someone with Shannon's enthusiasm and experience join our team!


Food Service Supervisor 
Phoebe is HART's new Food Service Supervisor.  She can be found in the kitchen or bathroom at HART.  She is in charge of overseeing food-related activities, and making sure they are done to purr-fection.  She's got her paws in every dish, making sure the quality is CAT-isfactory.   She is great at getting the staff to do what she wants, and is not afraid to tell them exactly how she wants things. In fact, she's got the staff so well trained that she often naps while they are working.
While Phoebe's skills are very appreciated at HART, she is currently looking for a HOME kitchen to supervise.  Phoebe looks forward to meeting you at HART!