Founded in 1941, SAVE is an independent non-profit animal shelter dedicated to protecting the health and welfare of homeless companion animals in the greater Princeton area. Through six core programs of Rescue, Shelter, Health and Welfare, Spay/Neuter, Adoption, and Humane Education, SAVE focuses on the rehabilitation and successful placement of treatable and adoptable animals. SAVE endeavors to build, foster, and strengthen the human-animal bond.
In 1941, the small and bucolic university town of Princeton was undergoing dramatic growth and so was its stray animal population. Two forward-thinking animal lovers, veterinarian Dr. Cornelia Jaynes and her friend, Ms. Emily Myrick committed themselves, and their resources, to do something about it. They created the Small Animal Veterinary Endowment (SAVE) to rescue stray cats and dogs, shelter them on Dr. Jaynes’ farm, and provide neutering services. Dr. Jaynes had bequeathed her farm to the cause of her beloved cats and dogs. After her death in 1969, SAVE merged with the Small Animal Rescue League. Together the two groups built a beloved and respected shelter that for over 40 years provided happy endings for local homeless companion pets.
On February 21, 2006, SAVE merged with Friends of Homeless Animals (FOHA), an organization founded in 1998 that concentrated on animal rescue and care in the Princeton area. The newly merged organization was renamed SAVE, A Friend to Homeless Animals and is now the largest shelter for companion animals in the greater Princeton region. Consolidating 75 years of community involvement and a shared philosophy and mission, the merger of SAVE and FOHA was a great example of collaboration and merging two like-minded organizations into one with depth and streamlined volunteer and financial resources. In addition to a not-insignificant economy of scale, the merger has led to a greater number of successful adoptions.
SAVE operates as a limited admission shelter with contracts to serve Princeton, Lawrence, Hopewell, Montgomery and Cranbury animal control officers. SAVE depends mostly on private contributions to support its six core programs. The shelter facility houses approximately 75 dogs and cats at a time, and helps an average of 400 animals a year.
Key staff and board of trustees
Heather L. Achenbach
Heather joined SAVE in June of 2017. With over 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry, specifically clinical trial operations management, she brings significant experience in internal and external relationship building and strong motivational skills to the shelter. With 12 years of direct people management experience, Heather is adept at bringing cross-functional teams and initiatives to success. A life-long animal lover, volunteer and foster for a local NJ rescues, Heather has adopted a cat and dog from SAVE and is dedicated to the cause of animal welfare. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Ursinus College, Collegeville, PA
Director of Operations
Since joining the SAVE team in 2006, Donielle oversees the daily operations of the SAVE shelter. Certified as a Veterinary Technician with 15 years’ experience in private practice, she manages and trains staff, collaborates with partnering veterinary hospitals, assists with adoptions and community events, and works directly with local animal control and other shelters. Her areas of expertise include customer service and animal welfare.
Animal Care Manager and Development Associate
Prior to joining the staff in May 2012, Adelle served as a SAVE volunteer for several years. She brings to SAVE a broad background of experience with customer service and animals. Adelle holds a Masters from the University of Manchester through Sotheby's Institute of Art in American Fine and Decorative Art and Bachelors from Rutgers University in Art History and History. Adelle is dedicated to community involvement and volunteers with a number of local organizations.
Alexandra Wetherill, VMD
Dr. Wetherill has been involved with SAVE for over twenty-five years as a board member, volunteer and now as the shelter's veterinarian. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Before joining SAVE as the shelter veterinarian, she was in private practice for more than 30 years.
Volunteer and Event Coordinator
Anna eagerly joined SAVE’s team in September of 2015. She trains new volunteers and organizes community outreach events for the shelter. She also transports the dogs and cats to weekly adoption events. Before working at SAVE, Anna volunteered with various animal welfare organizations in Rochester, New York. When Anna isn’t working at SAVE you can find her hiking with her rescue dog Kaia, fostering kittens, or traveling. She graduated with a B.S. from Rochester Institute of Technology.
Humane Education Director
Ann-Marie has been SAVE's Humane Education Director since 2008. She was a facilitator for NJ Child Assault Prevention from 1994-1999, working with abused and neglected children to reduce interpersonal violence. She graduated from Rider University, summa cum laude, with a B.A. in Liberal Studies.
Office Manager and Bookkeeper
Micheal recently joined SAVE in 2017 as their Office Manager and Bookkeeper. She brings with her over 10 years of marketing and public relations experience having worked with major entertainment clients in film, television and music. She graduated with a B.A. in Art History from the University of Washington and is certified in French languages and culture from UCLA. Micheal has lived in multiple states including Idaho, Washington, California, New Mexico and Oklahoma, but she considers PA her true home. When Micheal is not working at SAVE, she enjoys watching her kids play soccer, playing with their family dog, Pepper, and family cat, Sarah, reading nonfiction books and trying new restaurants.
Diane started at SAVE as a volunteer and joined the staff in October 2015 shortly after beginning a career as a veterinary assistant, having completed the Veterinary Assistant Program at Mercer County Community College. She brings to SAVE a twenty plus year long career of working with people in the healing arts, through her time teaching yoga as a Registered Yoga Teacher of Spanda* Yoga, and previously as a Massage Practitioner. She continues to work as a visual artist holding a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute. Diane is devoted to Cats, her four at home and to all of the Cats and Dogs at the shelter.
Animal Attendants - Adoption Counselors
- Nicole Alphonse, Veterinary Technician
- Sarah Carlen
- Susann Carroll, Kennel Manager/Dog Trainer
- Diane Chiacchio, Foster Coordinator
- Annamaria Crawford
- Aubrey Durenberger, Assistant Kennel Manager
- Anna Finch, Volunteer and Event Coordinator
- Melissa Laird
- Amber Lohne
- Kate Snyderman, Veterinary Technician
- Sherri Svacak-Ament
Board of Trustees
- Pamela Murdoch, President
- Ellen S. Morehouse, Vice President
- Mark Dennish, Treasurer
- Roberta N. Ellsworth, Secretary
- Marin S. Blitzer
- Norman T. Callaway
- Susan Feeney
- Gayle Fiabane
- Tara R. Hand
- Dennis J. Helms
- Sarajane Mackenzie
- Pamela Mills
- Catheryn E. Murdoch
- Jennifer R. Piasio
- Courtney Shannon
- Margaret Tattersall
- Douglas Breen
- Janet Haring
- Brad Mills
- John D. Sayer
SAVE’S Core Programs
SAVE receives daily inquiries regarding the placement of animals in need. Our organization works closely with local animal control officers as well as rescue groups and animal shelters from across the state to save animals from euthanasia. We are also the only shelter in the Princeton region that will accept pet surrenders when an owner can no longer care for a pet (based on space availability).
For 75 years, SAVE had been helping homeless companion animals find a second chance at a happy life. Our shelter has been a safe haven for thousands of pets since 1941. We are a full-service shelter, one that also accepts animal surrenders from individuals and rescue groups on a space-available basis.
SAVE's main goal is to find the best possible homes for the animals in our care. To achieve this, SAVE has a comprehensive adoption process that involves community outreach, adopter screening, animal behavior counseling and follow-up services. Many SAVE adopters have returned to the shelter to adopt again and again.
Health & Welfare
SAVE provides top-quality veterinary care to every animal in residence. Services include a routine medical exam, heartworm testing and prevention for dogs, leukemia and FIV testing for cats, age-appropriate distemper and rabies vaccinations, de-worming, and flea and tick preventatives. We also offer top-quality care to the abused, neglected, injured or ill dogs and cats we receive. These animals usually need specialized medical treatment, behavioral training and/or extra love and nurturing before they are ready for adoption.
To address the serious proliferation of unwanted animals that often become homeless or abused, SAVE spays or neuters every unaltered animal.
SAVE is committed to humane education because children who learn to respect animals at an early age grow into adults with compassion, respect and empathy for all their fellow creatures, human or animal. Through our Partners in Empathy (PET) Program, SAVE helps local educators incorporate learning about animal welfare into a variety of disciplines: science, language arts, environmental studies and art. Youth groups and other community organizations collaborate with SAVE on appropriate ways to teach and learn about animals.