Helping Families in Crisis Keep Their Pets

Board of Directors

After listening to many pet owners in crisis without effective resources to keep their beloved companion animals, and after realizing that pets are surrendered to animal shelters because their owners cannot afford even temporary help, Daniela decided to establish Foster My Pet.

Foster My Pet is a non-profit surrender prevention organization which offers services to pet owners so that they may keep their pets despite short-term personal setbacks. Foster My Pet places the pet in a temporary foster until its owner can be reunited with it.

Please review this website for what we can offer to you. Feel free to contact us with any questions.

Daniela vonArx
Daniela vonArx


Daniela vonArx was raised and educated in Zurich, Switzerland, where she earned a degree in Banking and Finance. In her early twenties, she left a secure and well-paying career in International Banking to focus her attention on working with people of many cultural and ethnic backgrounds as a counselor and coach. While employed at the University of Zurich, she volunteered at the local refugee shelter to help newly arriving refugees get settled and to find peace, healing, and personal freedom while adjusting to their new environment. She has spent much time traveling through Europe, further enhancing her understanding of different cultures and ways of life.

After relocating to the United States, Daniela has continued to help people find their path in life. She uses techniques she learned from her studies of life enhancement and life coaching. Pet care was always a priority, since her youth she has been volunteering at local animal shelters overseas.

Dr. Terri A Derr
Dr. Terri A Derr
Veterinary Behavior Consultant


Dr. Terri Derr became a veterinarian because of her love for animals. Her career in veterinary medicine taught her that the people who love animals matter, too. She has been an associate veterinarian and a practice owner. As behavior medicine became a part of the veterinary profession, Dr. Derr renewed her interest in that subject (her undergraduate degree in zoology concentrated on animal behavior) and began offering behavior consultations to her clients.

After 20 years in small animal practice she entered the world of shelter medicine, where she has spent the last 10 years working in every kind of animal shelter-large open admission, small “no-kill”, municipal animal control, rural open door…. Her veterinary knowledge and background in animal behavior have helped improve the health and wellbeing of animals in each facility.

In animal shelters Dr. Derr also discovered an entire world of animals and people previously unknown (to her)—those who never sought veterinary care either because of lack of experience with vets, or because of cost. Those pet owners did not value their pets any less than veterinary clients, but they often lacked the resources to provide the necessities for them. Traditional shelter models in Minnesota can do little or nothing to help this group of people.

“Joining the Board of Directors of Foster My Pet is a continuation of my passion for helping people and their pets. This organization is unique in its approach to animal welfare, and I am honored to be associated with it. I hope that my experience and knowledge helps us keep animals with the people who love them.”


Tisha Kehn
Tisha Kehn
Secretary of the Board


Tisha has worked for non-profit organizations for over 20 years. Her experience includes management roles in trade and professional associations, as well as in private schools and community service organizations. She began her career in nonprofit management with a special interest in women’s issues and community outreach and has always had a strong love for animals and desire to support animal welfare organizations and issues. Her menagerie currently includes a dog and three cats who (mostly) peacefully co-exist.


Paul Houdek
Paul Houdek


Born and raised in Minnesota, Paul spent four years in the US Air Force and then attended college in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Since then he has had the opportunity to work directly with thousands of families, first as a Property Manager of Affordable Housing properties and then in sales and management positions in the Financial Services industry. While not currently a pet owner himself, he has come to know and understand how important a pet becomes as a member of the family.

A solutions-orientated person with an entrepreneurial spirit, Paul has enjoyed serving the community in the past as a volunteer committee member for the Minnesota Fathers and Families Network, Board Treasurer of Bluffview Montessori School, and is a Past President of Winona Fraternal Order of Eagles.

Paul was drawn to this organization because of his desire to have a positive impact on the financial well-being of families, especially when there are stressful events taking place in their lives. Foster My Pet will provide pet owners peace of mind, knowing that their pets’ needs are being met. With this respite, pet owners can make good decisions in taking care of themselves during whatever crisis they must deal with before having their pet come home again.


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Dr. Susan Spence
Veterinary Consultant


Dr. Susan Spence graduated from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine in 1994. After completing an internship at Hollywood Animal Hospital in Hollywood, Florida, she headed back to Minnesota where she worked for 10 years in private practice, followed by 6 years at Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley, Minnesota.

Dr. Sue’s perspective of veterinary medicine was profoundly changed by her experience at the animal shelter. She realized that many situations involving relinquishment of pets could have been prevented by community action.

Dr. Sue is dedicated and passionate about extending a helping hand to folks in need who have pets, but who are not able to afford veterinary care, or are in need of short term foster until they get back on their feet. Foster My Pet is an organization that makes sense and Dr. Sue is thrilled to be a part of its mission.

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