Team

Meet
The Team!

At Luvin Arms Animal Sanctuary, we have assembled the best team to provide the care and compassion that our residents deserve. All of our rescued animals put their trust in our staff. Our team takes that seriously and provides unwavering love to all in their care.

Luvin Arms barn with sunrise in the background
Founders, Shaleen and Shilpi Shahs standing next to a rescued cow.

Shaleen & Shilpi Shah

Co-Founders

Rescued Goat with people

Shartrina White

Executive Director

Rescued Sheep with people

Kathleen Jefferies

Volunteer & Administrative Director

Emma and Milo

Emma Schwarz

Director Of Advancement In Ahimsa

Rescued Chicken with people

Juli Arnold

Marketing & Communications Manager

Rescued Cow with people

Frances Friedland

Development And Partnership Manager

Rescued Goat with people

Jolene Wells

Animal Care Team Manager

Rescued Chicken with people

Rob Schubert

Facilities Manager

Kelly Nix

Humane Educator & Outreach Coordinator

Rescued Turkey with people

Emily Harvey

Social Engagement Coordinator

Rescued Sheep with people

Robert Heyer

Animal Enrichment Coordinator

Liz Holland

Development Coordinator

Missy Derby Fleming

Sponsorship Coordinator

Rescued Pig with people

Madeline Schefke

Care Team Lead

Rescued horse with people

Kara Brock

Animal Caregiver

Rescued Sheep with people

Maddy Melton

Animal Caregiver

Bailey, Care Taker

Bailey Parker

Animal Caregiver

Keeley McPherson

Animal Caregiver

Jackson Encinias

Animal Caregiver

Rescued Pig with people

Monika Bunting

Tour Guide

Rescued Chicken with people

Erica Sodos

Tour Guide

“Connecting Community Through Compassion”

Help us through your generous donation. 

Shaleen & Shilpi Shah

Shaleen and his wife, Shilpi Shah are the founders of Luvin Arms Animal Sanctuary near Denver, Colorado. They are spreading the values of Ahimsa, Jiv Daya, and Karuna towards farmed animals, actively creating a more compassionate community for the animals and our planet.

These unlikely sanctuary founders and dedicated Jains grew up in India before moving to the United States. Since founding the sanctuary in 2015, Shaleen and Shilpi have grown Luvin Arms substantially, already having saved over 800 animal lives and welcoming thousands of visitors every year.

Along with Luvin Arms, Shaleen and Shilpi have created another nonprofit called OpenSanctuary.org that freely publishes hundreds of resources on how to start, manage and grow an animal sanctuary.

Shaleen and Shilpi make a living as software consultant and tax/accounting consultant respectively. They live in Boulder, Colorado with their two young boys, Aarav and Avi.

Shartrina White

Shartrina White is Executive Director of Luvin Arms Animal Sanctuary.

Shartrina has extensive background in nonprofit management and education. Shartrina was the Executive Director of YMCA READS a K-3 intervention program for disadvantaged youth for the Florida State Alliance of YMCA’s the past 12 years. Prior to that she was the Educational Director for Rush Neurobehavioral Center in Chicago where she traveled nationally and internationally lecturing on supporting and improving student executive function skills. Shartrina also was a District Reading Specialist, and a teacher for Gifted and Talented students.

She has been Vegan for the past 12 years. Shartrina first went to school to become a Veterinarian, while working at the Vet School she witnessed “research” on Siberian Huskies for medical research. She became so distraught by their suffering that she dropped out of the program and became an educator. Now she is excited to be building a more compassionate world for non-humans.

Favorite memory with the residents:
My most memorable moments were sleeping overnight with Marley when she first arrived at the sanctuary. I felt her loneliness and never wanted her to feel alone ever again. I only wanted her to feel pure delight and love for the rest of her life. Lying next to Marley and feeling her heart beat, listening to her breathe each breath, and smelling the fresh scent of hay while she chewed her cud, were moments that were so beautiful, filled with exquisite simplicity, love, warmth, and the joy of being with someone…moments of life that every being deserve to experience. There’s also the first hug from Tito, which will be forever the best hug of my life.

Kathleen Jefferies

In August 2015, Kathleen saw social media posts about an animal sanctuary starting up and was excited to find it was located practically in her own backyard!

She attended a care orientation led by Shaleen and has been volunteering at Luvin Arms ever since. In 2016, when the sanctuary was entirely volunteer run, Kathleen was invited to coordinate animal care volunteers and still performs some of those functions on a volunteer basis. In addition to being a Guide for weekly resident care, Kathleen has been involved in organizing each annual Gala, helped in various ways with administrative tasks, and even ran a fundraising event in 2016. Kathleen is grateful for the opportunity to be involved with Luvin Arms as it provides the means to put her values into practice and truly be part of the change she would like to see in the world. Kathleen joined the Luvin Arms staff in 2020. She says she is ‘living her dream’ and is honored to be part of the dedicated staff at the sanctuary.

​Favorite memory with our residents:
Being involved with the lively, affectionate, clever individuals who reside at Luvin Arms for so many years provides many memories running the entire range of emotions. The most recent memory involves Teddy. Teddy and I have been meeting regularly since July 2020 as part of his Individual Enrichment Plan. After just a few sessions, we were strolling along and he affectionately licked my elbow. I took this as a sign that he had accepted me into his inner circle of love and trust and recognized me as his human. It melted my heart. Teddy is pictured in my photo for the Luvin Arms website.

Emma Schwarz

Emma Schwarz began her professional career as a cellist, cello pedagogue, and entrepreneur. She founded her own cello education company, and grew it to one of the largest studios in the country in under 2 years. Emma combined disciplines to develop unique and innovative approaches to education. As a result of her novel approach to pedagogy, she gained national recognition as an innovator in the cello education field.

Emma and MiloEmma’s passion for education lies in empowering individuals in their growth to become the most beautiful version of themselves. As an entrepreneur and educator, Emma’s knowledge of curriculum development, content creation, creative problem solving, marketing, financial management, and relationship building enables her to expand the reach of Luvin Arms’ mission of Ahimsa–nonviolence towards all living beings.

Emma became vegan in 2017 after learning about the effects of a whole food plant based diet on health and longevity. As she delved deeper into the vegan movement, she became equally motivated by advocating for farmed animal protection, solutions to climate change, and improving public health.

Emma is driven by a profound passion for advocacy, and she is immensely grateful for the opportunity to utilize her skills at Luvin Arms Animal Sanctuary to create a more compassionate world.

Favorite Memory with the Residents

On a tranquil August afternoon, I played cello for the cow boys while they were out in the big pasture. They were all on the opposite side of the field–at least 200 feet away. As soon as my bow hit the string, Tito’s gaze immediately shot up at me. He instantly recognized the deep tones of the cello as something he wanted to investigate. He ran across the pasture so fast, I had to leap out of my chair so that he wouldn’t run into me! He examined my cello, the chair, and me; with his eyes, I could tell he was asking me to play more music for him. Of course, I obliged. Tito and I had a magical connection through our mutual curiosity and love for music. Fun fact: Tito’s favorite music is Bach!!

Juli Arnold

Juli started as a volunteer with Luvin Arms in 2015, way back in the beginning.

Juli actually has been involved with animal welfare for decades, truly her whole life. Juli started her dream job at Luvin Arms in September of this year, and she loves it! Juli’s North Star is her nephew, Erik, who passed away suddenly in 2019. Beautiful Erik and Juli are dreaming together now!

​Favorite memory with our residents:
Juli and Emily were working on an event together, and the three cowboys spotted her from across the pasture. They all came racing towards them- three gigantic, awe-inspiring beings. Before Luvin Arms, Juli had always experienced cows as human averse, skittish, and fearful. These three were excited, joyful, and drawn to humans. Juli’s heart was completely full in that moment.

Frances Friedland

Frances’ love for animals and wildlife and interest in animal welfare have been constants throughout her life.

While she has always sought opportunities to support these passions through various volunteer roles outside of work, she is thrilled to finally apply her professional background to advocate for animals and support a cause she cares about deeply in her Development role at Luvin Arms. Frances has more than 15 years of marketing, events, sponsorship, and sales development experience, most recently at Vail Resorts and the BOLDERBoulder 10k. She’s lived in Boulder, CO for 18 years, enjoys spending time with her husband, twin boys, three rescued mutts, and is outdoors in the Colorado sunshine any chance she can get.

Favorite memory with our residents:
I will never forget when I first met Milo. I’ve always admired cows and thought they were such peaceful, gentle and beautiful beings. However, I’d never actually seen them run to people when called, eager for contact and affection. Milo ran to me and we connected immediately; I remember scratching his back while he shook his head and did the “dance” I was only used to seeing in dogs when you itch that “perfect spot”. I also just love that curly fur patch on his head.

Jolene Wells

Jolene grew up in a small town in North Carolina. She has always loved spending time with animals, including her goats and chickens she had growing up. She’s been working with animals for the past few years and never wants to stop working in the animal care field!

​Favorite memory with our residents:
My favorite memory is digging up clumps of grass and putting them in with the chickens. The flock of Cornish hens in particular LOVE to eat all of the grass and the worms in the clumps of dirt. Seeing Helga and Valentine argue over a bug and chase each other around is like watching happy kids playing soccer. It makes me so happy to see them get so excited! It makes me realize that there are so many small and simple things you do can bring a lot of joy and fun to life.

Rob Schubert

Rob Schubert came to Luvin Arms after a 40-year career in facilities management at CU-Boulder. He thought he retired but LA had other plans. A long-time volunteer knew LA needed facilities help and talked Rob into taking a look around. That’s all it took. Rob’s childhood on the family farm in Ohio ingrained in him a love of animals and the outdoors, both fulfilled at the Sanctuary.

Favorite memory with our residents:
My most memorable animal experience is my ongoing battle of wills with Xander the goat. Here’s how it works; Xander breaks a fence, I repair the fence, Xander breaks a fence, I repair the fence…repeat. I honestly don’t mind because it allows me to spend time with the goats. They’re really very sweet (including Xander).

Kelly Nix

Kelly’s love for animals brought her to Luvin Arms in November 2020. After attending a Compassion Tour, Kelly decided then and there that she wanted to pursue a career that involved two of her passions – her love for animals and education.

After 10 years in Education (both as a Special Education teacher and Licensed Administrator) and 3 years in Homeless Services, Kelly decided it was time to venture into the world of Humane Education and Community Outreach. Recognizing that Luvin Arms provided opportunities for communities to engage in such meaningful and knowledgeable experiences that married her two passions together, she knew it was time to take that leap. Being a part of a community that promotes and celebrates Connections and Compassion, allows her the opportunity to share the vision and mission of Luvin Arms with others.

When Kelly isn’t spending her time at Luvin Arms Animal Sanctuary she loves spending time with her family, trying new Vegan recipes, exploring the outdoors, attending local community events, and caring for her animals (3 dogs and 2 rats)!

Favorite memory with our residents:

It is extremely difficult to think of any one specific favorite memory with the residents as each day is another beautiful and memorable moment. However, the memory of my first visit to Luvin Arms in November 2020 is one that will forever be the experience that changed my life – both personally and professionally. During the Compassion Tour, I met Luvin Arms newest resident, Marley Rose. Marley Rose was just a baby that had experienced such trauma, but still extended love and warmth to those coming into her home. As I knelt to her, she looked up and stared at me with her big brown, soulful eyes. At that moment, I felt connected with her – not as the cute baby cow, but as an individual.”

Emily Harvey

Emily first came to Luvin Arms as a care volunteer. She quickly fell in love with the resident’s and the care team.

She started a care internship which lead to a position on the care team staff! Emily’s vegan journey lead her to luvin arms. Her family watched the game changers and decided to try a 30 day plant-based challenge. Emily wanted to connect more with farmed animals during this challenge and found Luvin Arms! Fast forward a year later, her family is now fully vegan and have no plans to ever go back! While Emily isn’t at the sanctuary she enjoys hiking, backpacking, spending time with family, making up recipes and caring for her fur babies! (2 cats, 2 ferrets and 4 bunnies)

​Favorite memory with our residents:
It was Thanksgiving 2020, Justin and I volunteered in the morning to help clean. After we were done we spent about an hour with the tea girls and Chamomile decided to jump on my lap and cuddle with me. Matcha also loves to sit near and get all the neck rubs. Any time I spend with the turkey girls, I fall more and more in love with them!

Robert Heyer

Robert was first introduced to Luvin Arms from all the way across the world. For the past several years he has been interested in promoting the well-being of animals. While teaching overseas Robert realized this interest was something he wanted to shift his life towards. Before moving back to the states he was able to take a virtual tour and meet all the residents, Robert knew this was the place for him to pursue a new purpose in life and enrich the lives of all the residents at Luvin Arms.

Favorite memory with our residents:
My favorite interaction so far at Luvin Arms has been with our bird friends. I haven’t spent much time around birds, learning what they like, how each of them is so different. I am impressed every day by how intelligent and sociable they are. I look forward to getting to know them more!

Liz Holland

Development Coordinator Liz Holland received an A.A.S. in Veterinary Technology from Bel-Rea Institute of Veterinary Technology in 2013 and is currently pursuing a B.S. in Business Administration for nonprofit management from Southern New Hampshire University.

Liz grew up in Northern Colorado with several companion animals, including three cats, one dog, several fish, four box turtles, and even a gecko. Liz has been a vegan and an active advocate for improving the lives of nonhuman animals since 2005 and continues to be inspired by compassionate conservation and sentient recognition. After nearly a decade working in shelter medicine, she is honored to work alongside the motivated advocates at Luvin Arms Animal Sanctuary.

Missy Derby Fleming

Missy found her passion for animal rights as an elementary student and, growing up in the dairy state of Wisconsin, she went vegan at a young age. She eventually graduated from The Ohio State University before making Colorado her home. Missy has spent most of her career in the fitness and natural foods industries. She is grateful for the opportunity to put her professional energies towards something she is even more passionate about, creating a more compassionate world for all beings.

Madeline Schefke

I moved from Illinois to Colorado to work at Luvin Arms! Since I can remember, I have always had a connection with animals. After graduating college I interned at Animal Place, a farm sanctuary in California. I was able to take care of the residents and get to know their individual personalities. This made me even more passionate about the vegan movement and animal welfare. After returning to Illinois and working at jobs I wasn’t passionate about or happy with, I took a step back and asked myself what I want to do in this life. My heart has always been pulling towards taking care of farm animals! I’m so grateful I am part of this amazing community, and making a difference in the animal’s lives!​

Favorite memory with our residents:
My favorite memory so far has been spending time with the sheep. I love cuddling and petting them. They always try to nudge me or lean on me for more attention, specifically the siblings Jared, Lexine, and Jaclyn. All of them remind me a lot of my dog or rabbit, always trying to get some more snuggles in. They show me that all animals, including humans, not only want love but need love.

Kara Brock

Kara first came to Luvin Arms as a college intern for the animal care staff. Since then she fell in love with Luvin Arm’s environment and happily accepted a position on the care staff team. She is a full-time student at the University of Colorado Boulder (Sko Buffs), pursuing a degree in Environmental Studies with a minor in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and Philosophy. She also earned a certificate in Animals and Society. Outside of work Kara enjoys playing volleyball, going to concerts, and crafting.

Favorite memory with our residents:
It is hard to think of one specific memory, but a collection of memories that had a large impact on my life are when Sammy first came to Luvin Arms. She was absolutely terrified of humans. I spent many hours each day sitting in her area and gaining her trust. It required a lot of patience and dedication but seeing her thrive now made it all worth it. She was able to attend many of my zoom lectures with me and enjoyed licking and chewing on my clothing. I will always cherish those first few months with her and I could not be more proud of the progress she has made.

Maddy Melton

After graduating from CU Boulder in December 2020 with a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Maddy started interning for the animal care team where she fell in love with Luvin Arm’s mission, the driven staff, and most importantly the loveable residents. She has used her time after college to gain valuable animal experience so that she may pursue her personal goal to become a large animal veterinarian. After work, you’ll find Maddy on the trails hiking, taking care of her plants, or just enjoying life with her cat Zhu Zhu.

Favorite memory with our residents:
From the moment I first met the sheep, especially Jaclyn, I was obsessed. Initially, they were a little skittish around me and I wanted so badly to gain their trust. One cold winter day when they were all snuggled inside, I went and sat with them. Jaclyn was the first one to come up to me and nudge her head into my shoulder. Soon after, Lexine and Maxine came up to me as well. I felt so connected to them at that moment and so proud of the fact that they were able to feel safe around me.

Bailey Parker

There is no doubt in my mind that my purpose in life is to care for and advocate for all non-human animals. My passion for caring for others started at a young age. In my memory there was not a significant moment that told me this, I have had a genuine connection to animals my entire life.

Before becoming a caregiver I interned with the Education and Outreach Program. Having met the residents, I knew this was the place for me. The following summer I interned with the care team and when a position opened up I was given a wonderful opportunity. I couldn’t be more grateful to be a part of this amazing care team!

Belle, one of our horse residents, is the sweetest old lady! I have really been drawn to spending time with her. My favorite memory was not too long ago when Belle let me braid her hair. At first, I wasn’t sure she was comfortable with me brushing her mane. I held the brush at my side and she nudged it with her nose. I really appreciated her telling me she was ok with it and wanted me to brush her. Afterward, I decided to give her a fun hair due and put a few braids in her mane. What a BEAUTIFUL soul she is! I have never felt more relaxed than when I spent that time with her.

Keeley McPherson

Keeley’s passion for animals first came when helping their grandmother rescue and care for over 30 abandoned cats and kittens in a local shelter. Frequently staying up all night to keep newborn kittens warm and full fostered a deep appreciation for all peoples who work to care for animals everyday.

As a teenager they spent several years volunteering and working for a local wildlife rehabilitation center in Florida, healing and releasing orphaned and injured wildlife such as song birds, raptors, deer, small wild cats, possums. This experience opened their eyes to the importance of wildlife’s role in our ecosystem and how important each species is to maintaining a happy world.

A love for nature and wildlife led Keeley to the Zoo Animal Technology Program at Santa Fe College, an hour north of their hometown. There they were able to explore the ways of professional animal care at the only AZA accredited zoo located on a college campus in the nation. Not only did they learn the proper husbandry techniques to provide the best possible care for the animals that they were responsible for, but were able to explore the positives of cooperative care and enrichment to make the animals lives as full as possible.

Compassionate rescue work has been ingrained in their very person and the opportunity to provide the best possible life for the residents at Luvin Arms is their number one priority.

Jackson Encinias

While studying full time at CU Boulder towards an Environmental Engineering degree, Jackson came to Luvin Arms to help the facilities team make the sanctuary a better place for its residents. After a year of hard work, he made the decision to join the care team as a full time employee to gain a greater understanding of the animals he was helping. He has since fallen in love with each resident and takes great joy in helping the organization flourish in any way possible.

Favorite memory with our residents:
While every resident hold a special place in my heart for their own unique reasons, our avian friends make everyday I come to the sanctuary a blast. While working on the facilities team, I loved every moment I got to spend in their homes, whether that be for repairs, or improving their living spaces. Spending time with the birds showed me how much personality they have, and the abundance of positive energy to inject into my life.

MoniKa Bunting

Monika has been an educator at the middle and high school levels in the front range of Colorado for over 18 years. As a teacher, she believes in the importance of modeling mindfulness and vulnerability, because without vulnerability, there is no authentic risk-taking and creativity. She strives to keep an open heart with her students and to cultivate a balance between the academic, social, and emotional.

Monika takes great pride in leading tours at Luvin Arms and educating others on the human/animal connection and the horrors of factory farming and animal exploitation. Her goal for all visitors is to leave her tours with an increased circle of compassion to include not just humans and companion animals, but to include farmed animals as well. She encourages visitors to take small or big steps to create a more compassionate world for all beings. In addition to being a tour guide for 5 years, she has been instrumental in planning and implementing the book talk series, volunteering in animal care, and being a part of the strategic planning team at the sanctuary. She loves the community at Luvin Arms and is grateful for all the people and residents who have changed her life in powerful and positive ways.

Monika is a mountain bike racer on the Petunia Mafia team and a multimedia artist, participating in Boulder Open Studios for the last ten years. She has been included in juried shows at the Core Gallery in Denver and the Space Gallery in Boulder, and has had a variety of other shows around the front range. She currently shows her work at Rembrandt Yard in Boulder, Colorado.

Favorite memory with our residents:
All my life, I have loved horses. As a child, I was obsessed with them. I often wished I would not get any taller so I could be a jockey. That is until I learned about the cruel practices of the horse racing industry. Now, I am proud to call myself an advocate for horses and I fight for their right to be free from harm. One of my very favorite moments with a resident came on a simple, sunny day. I arrived at the sanctuary for a round of visits and saw my friend Niblet laying in the sun. I laid down right beside him, rested my head on his neck, and read a book to him for over an hour. He even fell asleep. I consider it an honor to call Niblet my friend, and always look forward to connecting with him. 

Erica Sodas

For over 30 years Erica Sodos has been entertaining, performing, and helping audiences and organizations tap into their magic within. Erica is a professional magician, psychic entertainer, speaker, emcee, actress, theater educator, and one of only a handful of female mentalists in the world.

Having engaged in many forms of animal rights activism, from protests to outreach to cubes to vigils, Erica’s mission is to be part of the solution in creating a just compassionate world for all beings and ending speciesism. Erica’s unique contribution to the animal rights movement is through educating about animal exploitation through magic shows, and helping activists stay strong with animal rights magic. As a Luvin Arms tour guide, Erica loves educating about the amazing animals that share the planet with us, the horrors they are forced to endure in animal exploiting industries, and how to make more empowering compassionate choices

Favorite memory with our residents:
​Oh gosh, not easy to pick my favorite memory! Feeding baby Tito from a bottle when he first came to Luvin Arms was certainly an unforgettable and touching experience. However, I think I have to say bonding with the birds at Luvin Arms has been transformational for me. And introducing people on the tours to the T-Girls (turkeys) has got to be one of my greatest joys in life! The T-Girls are so friendly, adorable, sweet, personable, magical, quirky and each has such a distinct personality from one another. I have really learned how smart and special chickens and turkeys are.

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