Meet Our Team!
We are blessed to have a wonderful team of board members and staff members who always put our animals first!
The Wayward Ranch Board of Directors:
Eleni has always been an animal lover. Growing up with three dogs and a horse ensured that animals would always be a part of her life. When home for the summer her first year in college, she began to volunteer at a local animal shelter, and her life was forever changed. When she returned to college in the fall she couldn't stop thinking about the dogs she had met and the animal rescue world her eyes had been opened to. A year later she moved back to New York and adopted two dogs who carved out her path to fight for the underdog: the dogs no one else looked at twice.
Eleni is a certified professional dog trainer specializing in aggression rehabilitation and tough behavioral cases. She loves animals of all sizes and is involved in many aspects of our rescue, including photographing the animals, promoting animals for adoption, coordinating with fosters and volunteers, and managing our staff.
Abbie Levitt hails from Westchester, NY where she lives with her (very) beloved rescue dog, Lilly. Abbie is an administrator at a Westchester-based non-profit and is extremely proud to join the Wayward Ranch board, bringing her professional experience and passion for animals to the team!
Abbie believes that the relationships we have with animals can be transformational - both for humans and animal friends. She truly has experienced that herself in her relationship with Lilly, a fearful and anxious dog who has molded Abbie's heart and life in the time they have been together. Having a dog that is afraid of everyday experiences is an eye opening experience and taking baby steps through Lilly's behavioral rehabilitation and socialization has strengthened their bond. It has also helped Abbie to gravitate to our most fearful or needy animals to give them some of the peace she has helped her own dog to find.
Miri Dainson comes to with us with a background in environmental studies and a career outdoor recreation. Miri has a passion for educating folks on environmental stewardship, responsible rock-climbing ethics and of course animal advocacy. Using her career in management Miri spearheads our community engagement and manages our visitor experiences.
Miri was drawn to Wayward through our Early Intervention Bully Program. She has a soft spot for bully breed advocacy and helped us set up meet and greets at local community events in Westchester. Over time Miri became a fixture of the ranch volunteering with our Second Life Equine program learning to work with horses with behavioral needs. Miri’s goal is to integrate Wayward into the local community, educate folks on the importance of behavioral rehabilitation programs and help wayward in its commitment to provide a quality life to the animals who need it the most.
Tess joined our Board of Directors in 2020 but has been an adopter and volunteer with Wayward Ranch since 2019. She began by adopting two piglets named Urban and Delilah from our rescue who live in her home and have beautiful lives with her and her family! A year later she welcomed a third rescue pig into her home to complete the herd!
Tess has always been an animal lover, and brings her experience in production, marketing, and fashion to our team as well, helping us to shape the Wayward Ranch brand and plan fundraising projects. She also volunteers her time and this summer, with her husband and a team of recruits, installed a garden for our animals as well as renovating the exterior of our barn and even our stall interiors!
Megan became a board member of Wayward Ranch in 2019 and has been a wonderful addition to the team! She brings a veterinary perspective to our organization (she is an incredible veterinarian after all!) and helps us to make sure we are giving our animals the best care we are able! She has become our voice of reason when making decision about bringing in new animals and making sure we are rescuing within our means responsibly.
Megan is an animal lover and owns horses and an eclectic pack of pups, including a Wayward Ranch alumni named Gimley. She volunteers as a foster when she is able as well.
The Wayward Ranch Staff:
Maggie has had her horse, Blade, almost her entire life. She remembers her age by remembering his! Her obvious affinity for horses led to her getting her degree in Equine Studies at Centenary University and then to our door here at Wayward!
Maggie started here in November 2019, originally as our Adoptions and Volunteer Manager. When we needed her, she stepped up to take on additional responsibility, becoming Farm Manager. Since then she has held all of the Wayward staff together, no matter how exasperated we make her.
Kayla is the youngest Wayward staff member, but her tough can-do attitude has made her someone that everyone at Wayward knows they can rely on, animals included. She joined Wayward in 2022 and has thrown herself into everything eagerly.
She has been working with horses for nine years and has had four horses of her own in that time, including two barrel racing horses. More than willing to share her expertise with volunteers and fellow staff, Kayla is a constant source of calm competence.
One of her previous barrel racing horses was blind, so Kayla was ecstatic to be given the opportunity to bond and work with another blind horse: Orion, an adoptable resident here at Wayward.
A life-long love of animals resulted in Haley having a rabbit, a dog, three cats and a degree in Zoology from Oswego. With that, she joined us here at Wayward in April 2021 and we are grateful every day!
Haley is ‘Mom’ to many of the animals here at Wayward, but mostly she makes sure we get through everything with a smile. A classic all-rounder who is essential to keeping Wayward running smoothly!
If you come visit Wayward, Kalea is the staff member you will see the most of!
Kalea was raised vegetarian by parents who had always loved animals, but living in New York City and her mother’s intense allergies meant any animal besides a fish had to stay away from them. But Kalea’s own love of animals has finally found a place to flourish here!
Kalea joined Wayward in 2022 and takes the brunt of interactions with the public as Wayward’s resident extrovert.
Austin’s path to Wayward was a complicated one. He was a medic in the army, went back to school for history, volunteered at a nature preserve, worked as a vet assistant then vet tech, before finally joining us here at Wayward in 2022! A constant source of giggles for the staff and fun for the animals, Austin is an important part of Wayward.
Having particularly bonded with Wayward’s mule, Tonto, he is enthusiastically learning more and more about equine care and training.