Our Team

Meet the Sarge's Team

Nancy Bulluck


With great sadness, we announce the passing of our Founder, Nancy Bulluck. Sarge’s wouldn’t exist without Nancy’s vision and drive, and we are blessed to have her guidance over the last 16 years. Nancy was preparing her Christmas Cards and was going to include these words with them. We’re thankful to be able to share her message with you. Thank you, Nancy, for all you’ve done. Nancy Bulluck 5/8/49 – 12/15/21 —– Dear Friends and Family, I wish I had profound words of wisdom to share with you, but the best I can do is to remind you of what you already know. Live every day as if it is your last, because it may well be. Take care of yourself, but enjoy life as well – eat good food, drink good beer, laugh a lot. Hang out with younger people – the energy they share with you will slow your own aging process, and they benefit from your wisdom and experience – a win-win! Find a purpose – something you are passionate about, and throw your whole heart, mind and soul into it. All the good you put out into the world will return to you multiplied many times over. Live life without regrets – if you make a mistake, learn from it and move on. If someone makes a mistake and hurts you, learn from it and move on. If you have a success, learn from it and move on. Keep your life light – no need to collect baggage that you have to carry through life, because you’ll need that energy for more useful endeavors. Remember we are just walking each other home. When it is time to part ways, say farewell with grace and gratitude, and let go. The universe will support you. There’s no need to struggle and resist. Just relax and let it carry you to where you need to go. -Nancy.

Erica Phillips

Adoption Center Manager

Erica has been with Sarge’s since 2013. She has always enjoyed being a part of the rescue effort in Haywood County. She saw the need, first hand, over the 9 years she was a veterinary technician for more community involvement and is thrilled to be part of Sarge’s mission. Erica was also the rescuer of Wuzbug, a two legged Chihuahua, who inspired the Sarge’s Special Needs Fund in her name. Erica’s fur babies include 4 cats, Scoots, Lloyd, Widget, and Rosie, also 3 dogs: Oscar, Zoe & Dumplin’.

Nikola Rubley

Kennel Manager, Social Media Specialist

Nikola has been with Sarge’s for over two years and enjoys keeping the adoption center looking it’s best as well as spending time with the resident rescues. Nikola adopted her first dog from Sarge’s in 2010; a dog named Roadie who ended up changing her life. Since adopting Roadie Nikola has changed her career to become a Veterinary Technician and has become involved in several dog sports with her second dog, peanuT. She also loves to travel, learn new things, and always keeps an eye out for wayward animals who need a little extra help.

Phyllis Lunsik

Office Assistant

Phyllis retired to Waynesville with her husband and two dogs in 2007. She says she can’t remember a time in her life that she didn’t have a pet of some kind (fish, gerbils, rabbits, cats, dogs, parakeets and even a green anole). When her last fur baby crossed the Rainbow Bridge, she began to volunteer at Sarge’s. She couldn’t imagine not having a pet to love. She has been here since helping in the office and fostering cats and dogs. She is now one of Sarge’s happy employees. Phyllis loves what she does, entering our incoming dogs and cats into the data base, answering phones, maintaining volunteer hours, and helping with adoptions. Two years ago she and her husband adopted Izzy the YorkshireTerrier. She calls Sarge’s her “Happy Place”.


Official Mascot

Sunshine came to Sarge’s in November of 2016, by way of the Haywood County Animal Services’ rescue of 140 dogs from a hoarding case. She was hugely pregnant, and gave birth to her litter within a day or two of arrival at their temporary shelter. She raised her litter, they were all happy healthy puppies who were adopted as soon as they were old enough. We then discovered that Sunshine is diabetic and has a condition called exocrine pancreatic insufficiency or EPI, so she requires daily insulin injections and a strict diet with a supplement to replace her pancreatic enzymes. In short, she was a difficult fit for most adopters to take on. We also discovered that she is a terrific nanny, so when we have singleton puppies we put them with her for cuddling and warmth, and she takes great care of them. She is a playful participant in our playgroups with other dogs, and is quite comfortable with her routine at Sarge’s Adoption Center. So we decided to make it official and give her an honored position on our team. Welcome aboard, Sunshine! Get your Sunshine shirt here!

Jeff McDonald

Adoption Manager

Jeff is originally from New Haven, CT but has called Western North Carolina home since the summer of 2014. We lives Waynesville with his 4 year old son, raising him as a single father since just after his first birthday.  He came to Sarge’s in July of 2019 with a love for animals and has always been an advocate for the underdog. He worked many years in the corporate management world but decided there wasn’t a much better time to pursue something that he would actually enjoy. Jeff is grateful to have had the opportunity to meet the wonderful humans and animals of the community!

Emily Johnson

Kennel Staff

Emily moved to North Carolina from Southern California in 2017, and started volunteering at Sarge’s while searching for an accounting or tax job. In an unexpected turn of events, she found her ideal job working with Sarge’s. Emily loves all animals, but especially loves working with cats. She and her family currently live with 6 rescued cats – Burrtec, Sammy, Luna, Dilly, Esme, and Flair – and 3 dogs – Arwen, Eva, and Dottie.

Pamela Wilcox Smith

Interim Executive Director

Pam is one of our newest members and is excited to join the growing number of Sarge’s supporters. Growing up in Waynesville as a daughter of a Dayco Engineer, she rode motorcycles with her Golden Retriever Duke running by her side. She graduated from Tuscola and then High Point University. Her desire to be a prosecutor took her to law school in Michigan, and that dream came true when she prosecuted for the State of NC for eight years after law school. She married a Highway Patrolman she met in the courtroom and brought him back home with her. After their wedding he surprised her with a Golden Retriever puppy, Jake. She left the DA’s office after they had her first child and entered private practice. Her practice consisted mostly of family and criminal law. She left the stress of a solo practice and is now the director of the Paralegal Program at Southwestern Community College and teaches all the law courses. She lives in Waynesville with her husband who is now a retired Sergeant of the Highway Patrol, their 14-year-old son [who plays Tuscola soccer], their 12-year-old daughter [who wants to be a Veterinarian], a Boxer [Tank], a Golden Retriever puppy [Chief, another surprise from her husband] and a cat named Trooper.

Amanda Emery

Volunteer/Foster Coordinator

Amanda is originally from Western North Carolina and calls Waynesville her home. She has worked in the criminal justice, legal and social work fields for over 8 years and loves making a difference in the world. Amanda came to Sarge’s in May 2021, to focus on making a positive impact on animals’ lives that live in Haywood County. Amanda is in graduate school for her masters in social work at Western Carolina University. In her free time she enjoys aerial arts, reading, spending time with her friends and family and of course cuddling her four fur-babies. Amanda has four cats named Katie, Isabelle, Possum and Pickles. Amanda is the definition of a cool crazy cat lady. amanda.emery@sarges.org

Bri Rose Holland

Kennel Staff

Bri came to Sarge’s in May of 2022 and has worked with furry friends as a veterinary assistant prior to working at Sarges. She has a dog and 6 cats in her home. She loves to extend a helping hand in animal care in the kennels as well as the public.

Farrah Stevenson

Kennel Staff

Farrah came to Sarge’s in August of 2021. She has lived in Haywood county most of her life. She has a special place in her heart for bully breeds and is a hardworking, motivated, and important part of the team! She has 4 children, Kallon, Bentley, Ryker, and Jaelynn, and her furry children include 3 dogs, Spanky, Dax, and Addy. She helps keep afternoons running smoothly and loves taking pictures of the animals.

Meet the Sarge's Board

Caitlin Morrow

Board Member

Caitlin graduated in 2006 from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science, in 2007 graduated with honors from the Animal Behavior College and in 2012 graduated with honors with an Associates degree in Animal Medical Technology to become a Registered Veterinary Technician in North Carolina. Caitlin obtained her CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed) in the fall of 2011, and is also a Fear Free Certified trainer. As a Certified Canine Behavior Consultant, Caitlin helps Sarge’s to improve the behavioral health of animals in our care, is a creating training programs to make our animals more adoptable and working with dogs struggling with their transition into an adoptive home. Caitlin has been involved with Sarge’s since 2007, and has her own dog training business working with owned dogs, and trains service dogs as an important part of her work. She and her husband have two young daughters, Rosie and Lizzy, as well as three dogs, LS, Granger and Tina.

Dr. Chase Bixenman

Board Member

Chase was born and raised in Amarillo, Tx and moved to Haywood County in August 2021 to join a local Chiropractic Office.  Animals large and small have always been a part of his life. He currently lives in Waynesville with his Wife Sarah, Dog Sophie, and 3 cats: Retro, Nico, and Luna. Chase is new to the Sarge’s Board this year and hopes to bring his experience with other Nonprofits to the team to help Sarge’s succeed and grow.

Jessie Metcalf


Jessie Metcalf first came aboard Sarge’s in 2018 as an administrative intern. She then returned the following year as an employee coordinating the foster and volunteer program, as well as events. The little animal rescue that could, Sarge’s will forever hold a special place in her heart. Today Jessie lives in Cullowhee with her husband, four kids, ten chickens, and three dogs (Ellie Mae, a pit mix from a Charlotte shelter; Jake, a yellow lab; and Porter Wagoner, a catahoula leopard dog). She is currently completing her Master of Public Affairs degree from WCU, where she studies all things related to nonprofit leadership. Every time she finds her way back to Sarge’s, it feels like coming home. A board member since May of 2022, she recognizes that serving in this role is an honor and a privilege. She would like to extend her gratitude to the staff, volunteers, donors, adopters, and community that make the life changing work of Sarge’s possible.

Mark Avrunin

Board Member

Mark is a graduate from Eastern Michigan University, where he double majored in Psychology and Marketing. After this, he founded, and was president of, C&A Insurance Agency, Inc, and AVKO Underwriters. Mark loves to serve his community, and volunteers widely. While living in Florida, he was a Guardian ad Litem volunteer, and has continued his volunteer work here in WNC by working at hospice, and is active in his church at First Baptist in Waynesville. He is currently an artist and co-owner at Inspired Art Ministry, Inc. Mark is an avid golfer, and also enjoys hiking and camping, which he does with his 3 rescue dogs, Kate, Kami, and Bob. He is also a father of three children, and grandfather of three children.

Richard Gould


Windy McKinney


Windy was raised in Haywood County, and wandered back home after graduate school abroad, beginning her role in rescue as a volunteer at Sarge’s in 2011. She is an avid animal advocate, having always had animals in her life, and if its up to her, she always will! She has volunteered and fostered with animal rescues in both the US and UK, and happily brings this passion for animal welfare with her to work every day. Currently working in canine behavior, she has a special interest in shelter behavior, and is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer. She hikes regularly with her two dogs, Bandit and Pearl, while Arthur, the family cat, often joins them for strolls through their Waynesville neighborhood. When not hiking, working, or spending time with her family, Windy is a cultural historian who researches and writes from home, with the family cat for company.

Join Us!

Interested in joining our team or board? Contact us today!