Dr. Dawn Duncan arrived in Las Cruces in August 2019 and immediately became involved in community, acting as Aunt Abby in “Arsenic & Old Lace” at the Las Cruces Community Theatre in February 2020, prior to the pandemic shut down. But her involvement in community has continued. In August 2021, Dawn founded the non-profit Animal Companions of Las Cruces to bring 24/7 emergency care to Southern New Mexico for the sake of our anxious pet owners and over worked veterinary staff. Dawn is Professor Emeritus of English, Film & Global Studies, Concordia College-Moorhead, MN, where she taught for 25 years and has authored 3 books, many essays, and a radio-play. In 2015 she began using a story-telling methodology developed by the non-profit Narrative 4 with her students and in community, establishing the organization at her college, as well as across Minnesota & the Dakotas. She now serves as an N4 Master Practitioner, Trainer, and the global Advisor to Colleges & Universities, which operates on 4 continents, in 18 countries, and 36 states, New Mexico becoming the latest. In March she trained faculty and staff in the N4 methodology and is proud to say NMSU is the first university in New Mexico to adopt its use. Dawn enjoys life in Las Cruces, New Mexico with her husband Dennis and their beloved rescue dogs, Fergus and Barney. Her mantra is: “Words have the power to harm or to heal; they are never neutral. I am called to use healing words.”
Nancy is a retired non-profit professional with 40 years of experience in fund development, board development and volunteer leadership and training. Prior to beginning her career in non-profit work she spent 5 years living and traveling in Europe. Upon her return she accepted position with the YWCA, American Heart Association, Arthritis Foundation, Northern New Mexico College Foundation and Santa Fe Community Foundation. Her volunteer efforts include the establishment of Niches, a 501c3 ecological retreat in Southeast Ohio which later became an ecological preserve. She was part of the committee that created the Los Alamos Food Cooperative and was instrumental in the creation of the Española Community Market. She served on several volunteer boards throughout her career and currently serves with the Mesilla Valley Film Society. Nancy has lived with many cats and dogs including Echo, a cat who lived to be 23 years of age and her dear Tula who died after a midnight drive to the El Paso Emergency Clinic. She was inspired by Dawn’s letter to the editor this Spring and has the passion and drive to assure that a 24/7 animal emergency clinic is established in Las Cruces.
Miguel Márquez grew up in Las Cruces and attended NMSU until joining the US Army in 1972, where he specialized in personnel management and systems analysis. Upon his retirement in 1992 while stationed in Alexandria, VA, he began his second career as an IT professional for The Center for Naval Analysis (CNA), a non-profit research and development organization, where he worked until his second retirement in 2015. While living in Falls Church,VA, he adopted Miss Barbie, a 1 year old, 12 lb short haired chihuahua that had been transferred from an overcrowded shelter in Tulsa, OK to a shelter in Arlington, VA. Although very shy with strangers and other dogs, Miss Barbie has thrived and in 2019, he and Miss Barbie moved back to Las Cruces to be close to family. In 2021, he responded to a post on Nextdoor by Dawn Duncan, explaining her desire to start an organization that will establish a much needed emergency animal hospital in Las Cruces. Since then, he has worked closely with Dawn and the other volunteer Board Members to achieve the organization’s mission by creating and maintaining the website and serving on the Board Of Directors as Treasurer for Animal Companions of Las Cruces. Having the opportunity to give back to the community by enhancing the quality of life for fellow pet owners and their furry friends has been a great way for him to give back to the community that he loves.
Cherri Hudson-Brown grew up in a small Midwestern town. She received a degree in communications from Southern Illinois University and was a reporter for small newspapers in Illinois and Iowa. She met her husband, Jeff, a Chicago native, when she was working in university public relations at the University of Northern Iowa. They moved to Las Cruces in 1984. Her community work has been as co-chair of the Dona Ana Gifted and Talented Association and as a member of the Las Cruces Public Schools Parent Advisory Board. She is alpha pet parent for Sparky, a rescue beagle mix.
Linda Mandel is a retired interior plant designer who owned her business, Linda M. Mandel, Ltd for 35 years in the Chicago area. She and her husband, Steven raised their two sons in Highland Park, IL where they were both active in local politics and cultural programs. Linda served on the Sister Cities Committee for a time and continues as co-chair of the Board of Governors of the Highland Park Community House, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and enhancing Highland park's intellectual and cultural life. Linda and Steve had a second home near Hillsboro, NM which they frequented. After selling it in 2017, they made their move to Las Cruces in 2020 with their 9-year-old Portuguese Water dog named Gilbert. Linda now has another Portuguese water dog named Sullivan, her 4th. An impromptu run-in with Dawn Duncan and realizing that the nearest pet ER was 1 hour away in El Paso prompted Linda to join Animal Companions of Las Cruces and become a volunteer. She was recently invited to join the board.
Since moving to Las Cruces, Kelly has appreciated the serenity and hospitality of the community. A native of rural Northern California, she has a deep connection to all animals, nature, and the environment. Her passion lies in art and marketing. She developed her experience in design and branding by directing local businesses and non-profit organizations in their marketing campaigns. She worked extensively with Steinborn-Better Homes Real Estate and currently with the Doña Ana Arts Council as a board member and PR contributor. Kelly was introduced to Dr. Dawn Duncan, Founder and Chair of Animal Companions of Las Cruces, after reading testimonials from local residents who expressed the dire need for 24 hour emergency veterinarian services. She loves cooking, learning wine-making, and traveling. She and her husband, Michael adore their rescue fur-kids: Riley, a 10 year old boxer mix, and two cats, Tippy & Suki.