About Us

The SAVE shelter facility has the capacity to house upwards of 100 animals at a time (approximately 75 cats and 25 dogs).  Our number of adoptions is growing every year.  We are committed to strengthening the human animal bond and to finding good homes for many deserving pets.  As the region's model animal welfare organization and a premier adoption and volunteer center, funding is critical to the scope and quality of our services.  SAVE is not supported by your tax dollars and does not receive funding at the local, state or federal levels.

Our Mission

Founded in 1941, SAVE is an independent 501(c)(3) 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.


Cornelia Jaynes, DVM

Cornelia Jaynes became the third female graduate from Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine in 1927. After spending a year as a research technician at the Rockefeller Institute, she opened her own practice on a farm in Princeton, New Jersey.

In 1941, Dr. Jaynes established the Small Animal Veterinary Endowment (SAVE), which rescued strays and provided neutering services regardless of the clients’ ability to pay. During her lifetime, Dr. Jaynes was never able to raise enough funds to build a shelter. She died on her farm April 24, 1969, and bequeathed her farm, our previous location at 900 Herrontown Road in Princeton, to SAVE.

In 2006, SAVE merged with Friends of Homeless Animals, an organization founded in 1998 that had purchased property in Skillman, NJ for a shelter.  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.

Together, these organizations were able to build the shelter of which Dr. Jaynes had dreamed, in the community where she had spent 40 years caring for homeless animals.  SAVE, A Friend to Homeless Animals officially moved in to the new shelter in December 2015.

Key staff

Heather L. Achenbach

Executive Director

Heather L. AchenbachHeather 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, 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

Jack Griffin

Director of Operations

Jack joined SAVE in October 2022. He has been working in animal welfare for over twelve years and discovered his passion while volunteering as a dog walker.  He has held various positions in animal sheltering and most recently the director of shelter operations for a shelter located in Philadelphia area.  Jack continues to volunteer time with Big East Akita Rescue, the organization where he adopted his current dog, Hudson. Jack holds a BA in Criminal Justice from Penn State University.  Jack@savehomelessanimals.org



Donna Alfieri, DVM

Shelter Veterinarian

Dr. Alfieri’s professional experience includes owning and operating a private veterinary hospital, practicing at a low cost high volume spay/neuter clinic, and caring for shelter pets. She earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Ross University in 1991. Dr. Alfieri believes strongly in the “Five Freedoms” and strives to create a better environment for all shelter animals. (Dr. Alfieri is a bit camera shy - her dog, Ziegfried, is her stand-in!)

Monica Smith

Communications & Donor Relations Manager


Ayako Yoshikawa

Development Assistant & Bookkeeper


Lisa Luscuskie

Volunteer and Adoption Event Coordinator


Salina Salas

Foster Coordinator


Canine Compatibility Consultant

Aries, is responsible for assessing the ‘cat friendliness’ of dogs in the shelter. Working closely with shelter staff, Aries helps assess the personalities of dogs to determine whether an adoptable dog is potentially a good match for a home with a cat.  Aries has a unique skill set; he’s a talented judge of character with a keen sense of dog behavior and calm assessment of a dog’s fear or dislike of cats.  Aries is available for consultation by appointment only.

Board of Trustees

  • Jeff Behm, President
  • Victor Garber, Vice President
  • Catheryn E. Murdoch, Treasurer
  • Lisa Warren, Secretary
  • Pat Fetaya
  • Susan Feeney
  • Michele John
  • Cynthia Johnson
  • Liza Morehouse
  • Nick Pahade
  • John D. Sayer
  • William Sweeney
  • Paul Ressler

Trustees Emeriti

  • Douglas Breen
  • Pete Callaway
  • Roberta N. Ellsworth
  • Janet Haring
  • Pamela R. Murdoch