Board of Directors

Janice Triptow, Executive Member

Janice has worked with Chicago Canine Rescue in almost every capacity since 2001 and through to the present day: volunteer, foster, adopter, behavior and training consultant, board member, Vice President, President, and Strategic Advisor.

While training her own dog and amidst her legal career, Janice began to find ways to spend more time working her passion: dogs. That passion led her to teach dog training classes and get involved in the shelter and rescue world where she made her way to CCR as it began to take shape making its impact on the local animal welfare community.

Janice ultimately left the practice of law and focused full-time on her preferred profession. She began working as a dog behavior and training consultant through her start-up Dog Behavior Solutions, Inc. Janice solves the behavior and training issues that present themselves to pet parents of all stripes – adopters, fosters, rescues and shelters. 

In addition to her work with CCR and her own business, Janice has been the director of behavior and training for Safe Humane Chicago, an organization committed to solving issues of community violence by cultivating relationships between dogs and humans.

After many years as a Chicagoan, Janice moved a few suburbs to the North with her husband and dogs, where in her “spare time” she trains and competes with her own dogs in a variety of sports.

Rick Varga, Board Treasurer

A volunteer since 2020, Rick has served on the Board of Directors since 2020 and has been our Treasurer since 2022.

Born and raised in the Chicago area, he has a very lovable, albeit intimidating looking, Doberman named Apollo. He and his wife currently reside in Park Ridge; Apollo graciously accepted her “into the pack” in 2020 when they were married. Together they enjoy travel, National Park exploring, hiking, and walks with Apollo.

Rick began his career as a Certified Public Accountant in the Big 4 in Audit and has worked progressively in Accounting and Finance roles at various organizations and consulting firms while also obtaining his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.  

Brenda Strong, Board Secretary

A life-long animal lover, Brenda can’t remember a time when she didn’t have at least one furry friend in her home. She adopted a wonderful dog from CCR in 2017 and has been a fan of the organization ever since. An active volunteer since 2022, she’s excited to support CCR as a Board Member and Secretary as of January 2023.

Brenda considers herself a Chicago “native,” having lived here more than half her life. She currently resides in Lincoln Square where she shares a home with her partner Brian and their rescue dog Milo, a Miniature Schnauzer.

After over two decades working in digital advertising project management and operations, she now serves as COO for consulting company Stop Meeting Like This. Brenda is also on the board of 2nd Story, a performance group in Chicago, and volunteers with the Friendship Center food pantry, and Sister District Chicagoland.

She enjoys baking, reading and being a general homebody.

Melanie Brown, Board of Directors

Melanie has been a volunteer at Chicago Canine Rescue since 2017 and joined the board in 2023. She continues to be inspired by the detailed, compassionate care the staff at CCR gives to each and every dog at the shelter and in foster care.

In addition to her volunteer work at CCR, she’s a long-time advocate for animals, supporting and promoting legislation to protect animals. While protesting the dog meat trade in 2017, she met three women who share her passion for ending the dog meat trade, and the four of them co-founded and run People Advocating Animal Welfare Worldwide.

She is fortunate to share her home with her husband, Andrew, and two adorable dogs. Roman is a giant Anatolian Shepherd mix, who is the happiest boy on earth and inspires Melanie to live life with the same passion and joy he has. Roman is best friends with her shepherd mix, Leroy Brown, who was rescued from the dog meat trade in China. Leroy was pulled off a dog meat truck that was headed to a dog meat market for slaughter. He survived distemper and escaped torture because of the incredible activists who risked their safety to save him. Melanie is eternally grateful and seeks to empower these activists to create the change they want to see in their country.

Melanie is a clinical psychotherapist who loves working with clients who appreciate the human and animal connection. Her favorite hobbies are hiking and playing in the lake with her dogs, traveling, yoga, and trying new restaurants.

Wendy King, Board Member

Wendy has always loved animals and grew up with multiple dogs. She used to live right by the CCR facility, and appreciated how easy it was to volunteer, often taking the opportunity to walk CCR dogs in the neighborhood. She joined the CCR Board at the end of 2019 when she was looking for a way to lend her business/marketing background to a topic she was passionate about and served as Board Secretary from 2020 – 2022.

Wendy still lives in Chicago with her husband, four children, and her rescue dog Titan, an American Bulldog. (She would love multiple dogs, however “Mr. Titan” – as he is known – prefers to be the only furbaby. He loves sleeping on his back, enjoys his snuggles and takes his role as protector of Mom very seriously.

Wendy is a Senior Manager in Data and Analytics in the insurance industry, where she has experience working in Product, Marketing and Claims.

In addition to animal welfare, Wendy is also passionate about elder care, veteran affairs, and cancer research. And somehow, she manages to fit weekly volleyball games into her schedule!

Nancy MacIntosh

Nancy began volunteering at Chicago Canine Rescue in 2016 and quickly fell in love with the rescue’s mission and community. She’s been a vital member of our organization ever since, and in 2022 she joined the board of directors.

Animal welfare has been a life-long passion for Nancy, from her childhood in Chicago, to her college years in Colorado, to her time living and working in San Francisco. She moved back to Chicago where she raised her four children and brought in many rescued pets along the way.

Nancy spent 25 years in commercial real estate, leasing shopping centers throughout California and Chicagoland before shifting focus to full-time animal rescue. In addition to supporting us at CCR, she is active in PAWS Chicago, Jameson Rescue Ranch in Napa, and Goatlandia in Sonoma.

Nancy lives with her three rescue dogs, Annie, Milton, and Finn (a CCR rescue), and fosters whenever possible. She splits her time between Chicago and California, but she is happiest being with her children and partner Bob in a full active house! Nancy also enjoys long walks, cooking, travel, and wellness.

Lori has lived on the Northwest Side of Chicago for over 25 years where she and her husband raised their 2 children. A CCR neighbor, she’s enjoyed many walks with our dogs over the years. She grew up with animals of all kinds in her home and is thrilled to be connected to the CCR community where she can get a regular fix of our furry four-legged friends.

‌Lori has been in the restaurant/service industry her entire career and is currently the Vice President of Retail at Intelligentsia Coffee. From staffing to facilities to planning out annual budgets and sales strategies, Lori will bring expertise that we believe will transfer perfectly to better support CCR now and well into the future.

Lisa Klotnia, Founder

After volunteering for a number of animal welfare organizations, Lisa Klotnia noticed that only the easily adoptable dogs and puppies were being rescued.  She decided to change that. In 2001 she founded Chicago Canine Rescue, a non-profit with a mission to seek out and find homes for “imperfect” dogs and puppies with issues that made them challenging to adopt, whether that was as simple as a broken tooth or as challenging as a chronic but treatable disease.

Lisa now lives in Hinsdale with her two elementary school age daughters, her husband, and their beloved CCR Lab/Hound mix, Gus, who is her youngest daughter’s very best friend. While she’s taken a step back from CCR to focus on raising her daughters, she still finds time to foster animals and participate in events when she can. She also manages communications and fundraising for the Afghan Girls Financial Assistance Fund, a non-profit, focused on bringing girls and women out of Afghanistan and back to school.

During summer breaks, Lisa and her family love to foster puppies, and hope to add another CCR family member soon… but only if Gus approves!