New England Lab Rescue
A 501 c3 Non-Profit Organization Serving all New England States

Meet the Team

NELR Board of Directors


Heather Smith Labbe’ – President/Founder NELR, Inc.
Heather Smith Labbe’ of Chatham, Cape Cod and Maine, founded New England Lab Rescue, Inc. in May 2010. With a lot of hard work, learning the ropes and dedication from Heather and the volunteer team she recruited, NELR has become a very successful and respected 501c3 Non Profit Organization dedicated to the Labrador Retriever Breed. NELR has to date, place over 3000 labs in loving forever homes all over New England. All were scheduled for euthanasia in overcrowded shelters throughout the South. Heather is an artist whose works are featured on Cape Cod, she’s the creator of the Nationally Acclaimed Clipper Merchant Tea House & the 1790’s Federal Custom House Antiques Gallery. She has been featured in such publications as Down East Magazine, Yankee Magazine, Cape Cod Life Magazine, Tea Time Magazine, and Victorian Homes Magazine. She lives with her husband Gary, a psychotherapist and their daughter they adopted from China, Lisette. They also have two labs, Schooner age 14, and the acclaimed NELR ambassador lab, “Governor”.


Cheryl Greenfield – Lead Adoption Coordinator & Board Member
Cheryl has been involved with Dog Rescue for 25+ years! Since retiring in 2010, as a Fitness Trainer, Massage Therapist and Dance Exercise Instructor , she took on more active roles with several Dog Rescues and now volunteers as an Adoption Coordinator, Transport Volunteer, Donor, Home checker, and Fosterer. NELR holds a very special place in her heart; Labs and Golden Retrievers are her Breed of choice!!! She recently rescued a Gorgeous 6 year old Male Chocolate Lab, Bentley, last February, (2017) three weeks after she lost her Precious Golden Boy, Usher on his 12 1/2 birthday. Bentley has truly mended her heart and Bentley is truly the essence of what dog rescue is all about. Cheryl is also the Director of Human Resources for an Award Winning Technology Company, in Portsmouth, NH, C3 Metrics. Cheryl is a New England Girl, loves to hike and snow-shoe!!! So! Don’t complain about the weather in New England, she won’t listen to you! She also enjoys Broadway, NYC, Museums, Film Festivals, Coffee/Espresso bars, taking Barre, Jazz, Hip Hop, Zumba and Strength Training Classes!!


Jeff Hack – Medical Documentation, Board Member
Jeff Hack serves as our Medical Documentation Director and is a member of our Board of Directors. Jeff keeps track of NELR’s medical files. Jeff works as a full time Medical Laboratory Scientist in a New Hampshire Hospital and has enjoyed broadening his medical knowledge to encompass NELR’s 4 legged family members.
Jeff enjoys spending time at his lake house in Maine. An avid skier, Jeff loves winter and can be found on the slopes of Maine’s Sunday River and the many other great resorts in the Northeast.


Debi Newton-Valentino – Board Member
Debi has been a member of the Board of Directors since the beginning of NELR in 2010. She is a valuable and supportive team member and financial sponsor for many of our NELR labs. She has also pulled from shelters for us. She has an extensive networking ability and system that allows NELR to find transporters, fosters, homes, adopted and health care for our labs. She is a very gifted lady, and we are so proud to have as part of the NELR team.

“Pullers of Labs” from High Kill Shelters for NELR


April Dove – Southern Liason Puller & Foster Coordinator
April is our Southern Liaison Puller and Southern Foster Coordinator. She lives in South Carolina with her husband Dave and three labs Buck, BoBo and Bleu. She is also the Lead Volunteer at a local animal shelter posting to network the animals in need of rescue which entails coordinating with pulling rescues, fosters, vets, boarding facilities and transporters to relocate the animals out of the shelter. She also runs the Rescue Partnership Program with a local rescue facility working with rescues abroad to pull animals from southern shelters. She is originally from Annapolis, Maryland where she worked at The United States Naval Academy and The Naval Station for 15 years before moving to South Carolina where she worked at Wyndham Resorts in sales for 16 yrs before retiring.


Stacy Eberhardt – Texas Liaison, Lab Rescuer & Foster
Stacy Eberhardt is from Port Neches, Texas. She’s married with 3 amazing kids that keep her insanely busy. She’s a retired pediatric registered nurse. Now her days are filled with her kids’ extracurricular activities, coordinating events and fundraisers at her kids’ schools as a board member of PTA, and fostering/volunteering for a local rescue group Pups in Peril and for New England Lab Rescue. She is loving the opportunity to be home with her kids and soaking up every moment, every memory made with them. And she couldn’t do it without the support and encouragement of her awesome husband, Jason. They have two furry kiddos, Millie (Red Dudley Lab) and Mollie (Australian Shepherd mix). Stacy is enjoying her time with NELR and is proud of the progress we’re making as a team!!!

NELR Adoption Team


Beth Henson – Adoption Coordinator
Beth is one of our Adoption Coordinators. She has a 11 yr old yellow lab “Tessie” and a 1 yr old rescue black lab “Seeger” who came up from MS. For the past 15 years, Beth and her husband have been running their own business. She recently retired and now that Seeger has taught her about rescues, she wanted to help NELR get more southern dogs rescued and into great homes. She lives in Southborough, MA and has been there for 40 years, having moved up from FL after college. She has 2 kids, 3 grandchildren, 2 dogs and 2 cats.


Susan Wheatley – Adoption Cooordinator
Sue Wheatley is one of our Adoption Coordinators. She has a one-year old chocolate lab named “Sophie” who introduced her to NELR. Apart from her commitment to dog rescue she is an avid quilter & “Mimi” to three young grandchildren. Raised in Toronto, Canada & Oxford, England she & her husband now call Amherst, NH home.



Beth Higgins – Adoption Coordinator, Foster & Social Media Communications
Beth has been with New England Lab Rescue since 2016 as a Foster. She specializes in puppy shenanigans! She saw a Facebook post asking for fosters and got hooked. She recently became an Adoption Coordinator. She also is part of the social media communication team.
Beth lives in Maine with her husband. They have 2 daughters and a grandson. Her fur family consists of Brady(yes, as in Tom!) a 10 year old Yorkie mix, Lucy, a 3 year old black lab. They also have 2 grand pups Lola a pug and Olive a black lab/beagle mix.
When she’s not working at her preschool she loves to enjoy her time with her family. They enjoy bringing the dogs to the beach and just exploring everything living in New England has to offer!


Kate McLaughlin – Assistant Adoption Coordinator

Kate is an Assistant Adoption Coordinator and checks veterinary and personal references. Kate is originally from northern Maine but now lives in the Portland area and works in insurance. Currently, she has a black lab mix named Greta who was rescued from Georgia. She is a true southern dog who is not keen on Maine winters. Kate spends a great deal of time doing yard work and gardening. She also enjoys working out, running, reading and any activity with Greta. Her first dog Bailey changed her life and she wants to help other dogs find their forever families.

Priya Palmer – Adoption Assistant

Priya Palmer checks vet and personal references for the Adoption Coordinators. She retired from the corporate world in CT in 2012, moved to NC in 2014, and is an avid volunteer. Her most beloved dog was a chocolate lab named Buster, whom she lost to cancer. Her interest in volunteering for NELR is in honor of Buster.


NELR Foster Team

Annie Canton – Foster Liaison, Dear Labby Column Contributor & Admin for NELR Foster Facebook Page
Annie is the New England foster liaison, contributor to the Dear Labby column and administrator of the NELR foster Facebook page. She lives in Maine with her husband, sister, four cats, a house bunny and an NELR rescue pup. She is the Program Leader at A Place for Girls and cherishes time with her grand babies. She dreams of world peace, where all people are kind and all pets have a place to call home.


Martha Jaquith – Adoption Correspondence, Transporter & Foster
Martha Jaquith helps our Adoption Coordinators with correspondence and application coordination, relinquishment, as well as fostering and transport from both Kittery, Maine and Brattleboro, VT and anywhere a lab needs to go! She lives in Kingston, NH with her husband Dana and Chocolate Lab Pilot (age 6). She loves kayaking and hiking and cross country skiing with Pilot! She works as a sales engineering manager at a high-tech company in MA.

Jennifer Kane – Assistant Foster Coordinator

Jennifer is an active choral conductor, who is thrilled to be in her fourth season with the Handel and Haydn Society’s Vocal Arts Program. In addition to her work with young voices, Jennifer is the music director of Cantilena Women’s Chorale in Arlington, MA, a frequent adjudicator and clinician, and recently completed the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Boston University. Jennifer is excited to be involved with NELR as an assistant in the coordination of foster care . She resides in Southborough, MA with her husband, two children, and beloved yellow lab, Indiana Bones. Conductor, Cantilena: A Women’s Chorale. Conductor, The Handel and Haydn Society’s Vocal Arts Program: Concert Choir, Youth Chorus, and H+H Singers

NELR Data Entry & Documentation to NELR Rescue Software


Jayne Roynayne

Jane Roynayne helps the team with adding the new dogs to the database as well as updating with new information, vaccinations and tests. In addition she does the Quarterly Report for the state.  She is married and lives in Limerick ME. She loves animals and has given a home to several rescue animals and has fostered for New England Lab Rescue. She has been employed in the bookkeeping field for many years and is happy to help with the documentation and reporting that is needed.

Courtney Cole

Courtney is the volunteer who helps with our State Quarterly Reports of all the dogs NELR has imported into Maine and adopted to loving homes all over New England.  She is a  tremendous help to NELR in many other way as well.  She and her husband have also done a trip to the South in our NELR van to pick up dogs and puppies and deliver them safely back to New England.

NELR Medical Documentation


Natalie Kowalczyk

Natalie helps coordinate our medical records and dog’s medications before they transport. She came to NELR after rescuing one of our yellow labs in 2017. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and 2 labs, April and Braden. She works as a pharmacist and in her free times enjoys spending time with friends, family, and her dogs.


NELR Transport


Brenda Smith

Brenda Smith lives in Dover, NH. She and her family have 3 rescued dogs and they love labs! She is helping with posts to the NELR facebook page and also organizes the transports, meets all the new adopters and passes out all the vetting to fosters and adopters at transports.  Brenda is so dedicated to our labs, that she travels far and wide to bring medical prescriptions, dog food, treats and toys to our dogs in foster care or boarding.  She is at all our transports to meet our adopters and fosters.  She is an advocate of fostering and finds great foster homes and behaviorists to help our labs in need of training and special attention.

KC Mills

KC Mills helps coordinate transfers to adopters and fosters for our southern pups who arrive in the Connecticut area.  KC, her husband Bob, and their Chocolate Lab – Rudder (who rules the house) live in Sandy Hook.  KC is an avid skier and (terrible) golfer and loves everything about Labs.  She works as the Operations Manager for Timothy Dwight Residential College at Yale University.

Sandy Meyerowitz

Sandy Meyerowitz is our weekend transport co-ordinator and she will be the NELR rep to contact you when the transport of your new lab is about to happen. Transports usually arrive in Kittery Maine and Sandy will be the one to keep you updated on the arrival times.  Sandy has 4 boys, ages 12- 25 and she works in a pre school full time. Her weekends are filled with sports with her sons, so many times a foster picking up from transport will get a call from Sandy from a Soccer Field!

NELR Social Media, Web Communications, Public Relations & Event Planning


Stephanie Costa

Steph volunteers on our NELR communications and public relations team. She lives in North Dighton MA with her 14 year old son Matthew and is an avid fan of rescue. She has 2 rescue dogs, a lab Max and a hound mix Milo and 4 rescue cats Sassy, Stimpy, Socko and Stewy. She works full time as an Office Manager for a plastic and reconstructive surgeon. When she is not at a sporting event with her son she loves spending time with friends, family and of course all of her animals.


Kristen Shambo

Kristen Shambo is a member of the communications team responsible for web and email correspondence. Kristen lives in Massachusetts with her husband, Steve, and son, Cameron. She has spent most of her professional career in higher education administration, most recently as the Associate Director of Graduate Management Admissions at Boston College. She is currently providing consulting and training services to organizations and getting a crash course in motherhood from her very happy and energetic baby boy!
Karen Feldstein

Karen Feldstein is a member of the communications team responsible for web and email correspondence. Karen lives in Massachusetts with her fiancé, Rodger, and black lab rescue, Lucy. Growing up, her family adopted several labs so when it came time to adopt a dog, there was no other choice for her! She works as a consultant for a large financial company in Massachusetts.  When not working, she enjoys traveling and exploring new places, being outdoors and spending time with friends and family.

Posting of Available Labs to NELR Facebook & Petfinder


Gennie Ludovico

Gennie Ludovico is the proud owner of two NELR Rescue Cali (rescued in 2013) and Lexie (rescued in 2017). Raised in Minnesota and a Coast Guard veteran, Gennie and her husband have two adult children. Besides an avid dog lover, Gennie dabbles in photography and baking.

Jennifer Kasper

Jennifer started volunteering for NELR in 2016. Her role includes posting Gotcha Day photos and Where are they now? updates on our Facebook page. Jennifer grew up in New Jersey but fell in love with New England after attending UNH. She currently resides in Salem, MA with her boyfriend Rob and rescued black lab Jake. In her free time Jennifer also volunteers at Northeast Animal Shelter and enjoys exploring the New England coast.

NELR Canine Behaviorist


Jacqui Pierce Flynn

Jacqui joined NELR in 2017 and helps by doing behavioral evaluations on the dogs and fostering. She has always been an animal lover and began training dogs in 2001. She graduated from UNH in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in Pre-Veterinary Medicine and a minor in animal behavior, and has been working as a veterinary technician since 2007. She graduated the acclaimed Triple Crown Academy for Dog Trainers (now known as Starmark Academy) in 2012, with a certification in Canine Training and Behavior Modification. She currently owns K9 to 5 Dog Services in Dover, NH. 

NELR Of Counsel


Attorney Donald R. Furman, Jr.

New England Lab Rescue, Inc is very grateful for the pro bono council of Attorney Donald J. Furman, Jr. He has kindly been assisting NERL since 2013 and has volunteered his council whenever needed. His time and expertise are highly valued by all of us at NELR. A practicing attorney for more than four decades, Donald R. Furman has successfully integrated both the financial and legal implications of his clients’ business and personal matters into a law practice focused on individuals as well as large U.S. and foreign corporations.

NELR Ambassador



“Govvie” was rescued by NELR in 2012 from a northern US high kill shelter. His shelter name was “Big Yellow Taxi” which we immediately changed !   He came to us as “un-adoptable” and had serious medical issues at only 2.  He has since been to the University of Missouri where the world renowned Dr Jimi Cook implanted  new hips and Gov also wears a custom made orthotic prosthetic brace to walk.  He is our ambassador of goodwill because he has had so much trauma and pain from structural medical issues, has been in a kill shelter without hope of adoption,  yet remains one of the most loving labs you can ever meet, and typifies the true lab personality.  Goofy, fun loving, loves to eat and sleeps in your bed !

He has been featured on Channel 23 News, a CBS affiliate and featured in many news and magazine articles.  He is on all our literature and goes to as many shows and events that his health allows.  We are thankful that all our labs find themselves in loving forever homes, but Governor remains the sole property of NERL and has many, many fans who love him.  He lives in permanent foster care with NELR’s founder in Limerick, Maine.  He is greatly loved, cared for and he brings joy and laughter to everyone he meets.


Join us on facebook to see the activity that takes place all day long. We now have about 26,000 fans nationally.

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