VOCAL is not your typical animal welfare group. Our dedicated staff of volunteers (that’s right we are a volunteer run organization!) set the pace for efforts to help the local pet population. We all work together for the betterment of the animals in our community. To learn about our key volunteers, please continue reading.
Denise was born in New York and learned at a very young age to love animals. She remembers feeding the stray animals around her apartment building as a child. Her family moved to South Florida where she began her career with BellSouth that spanned almost 31 years. She spent many years fighting for animal rights and continues to stand up for animal lives. While in South Florida she was an animal rights activist with AARF and participated in many demonstrations protesting animals in entertainment, cosmetic & medical testing, the inhumane treatment of farm animals and many other issues. When Denise and her husband moved to Rainbow Springs, she followed her passion and continued to help animals through her volunteer work with a local shelter. She happily learned about VOCAL’s mission and began helping with adoption events and now functions as one of the Adoption Counselors on the Adoption Team. Denise is so grateful to have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of animals through her work with adoptions.
Cat Adoption Counselor
Debbie grew up in Upstate NY with horses, cows, dogs and cats. Fast forward to 1995, Debbie and her husband noticed a calico cat hanging out around the tennis courts where they were renting at the time. They befriended her, got her fixed and made her a Carney. She was the first of 40+ cats they’ve fixed and cared for. The Carney’s home is a sanctuary for some of those “feral” cats and 2 rescue dogs, Mulligan & Mojo. Debbie and her husband, Rob, are very thankful to be able to assist VOCAL in their mission.
Astrid “Mimi” Buendia
Mimi has been a successful law professional for many years, but her love for animals moved her to pursue a career in their behavior and well-being.
She is an Animal Behaviorist Counselor certified by ABC College, specializing in dogs and cats. She has been with animals all her life, and she has witnessed how frustrating is for humans to be unable to communicate with their pets, or to have a broken relationship with them, due to lack of understanding. She solves this issue by using the concept of positive obedience training. Through her work, Mimi’s goal is to make your dog trust, respect, and love you.
Ann Marie Roberts
Ann Marie has had a lifelong love for animals. She grew up with both cats and dogs in her home and her first rescue experience was at age 5 when her family took in a kitten who was thrown out of a car window on Interstate 95 in South Florida. That experience led to a lifetime of love for animals and rescue of those in need. Growing up in CT she moved to Maine in 2000, where she continued her rescue work on her farm. Her family made the move to Ocala in 2015, where she found a true need for helping homeless animals unlike any she’d experienced before. While living in Ocala, Ann and her family added two kitties and a fun-loving dog to their pack. Although family circumstances recently led to her family’s return to Maine she continues volunteering remotely, working on both adoptions and behind-the-scenes administration work.
Dr. Maggie Bell
Maggie is a local physician with the Ocala Hospitalist Group. Maggie also has a master’s degree in psychology and was a social worker for 15 years before she became a physician.
Maggie and her husband, Darcy, have been rescuing unwanted dogs for 20 years. They currently have five dogs in their family, including Cinco (pictured), who was rescued in Mexico. Maggie is a tireless volunteer who makes a difference in the lives of neglected animals and has a particular affinity for abused pit bulls.
Keep learning about VOCAL and how it’s different from your average pet organization by contacting us today!