Our Board of Directors


Jen Klika


Term: 10/01/2019 - 09/30/2021

Jen Klika Image.jpg

Jen Klika has been involved with UMGDR since 2016 when she helped a close friend adopt their first Great Dane.  Since then, she has been an active volunteer helping with both transportation, home visits, and expanding fundraising events in Wisconsin.  In 2018 Jen took on the role of one of UMGDR’s Transport Coordinators and has been helping ever since to arrange the transport of Great Danes in the rescue across the territory.  That summer she took the leap into fostering with Lurch.  She was hooked and soon after worked with the memorable Jada who was blind with a huge personality and recently the sweet and sassy Finley.  Jen enjoys the challenge of helping them gain confidence and setting them up for success in their forever homes.  Even though it is hard to let go....  In 2019, Jen wanted to find new ways to help behind the scenes and began helping the Director of Foster Homes.  Her personal motto is to be relentlessly optimistic in all she does – including rescue and looks forward to continuing to be a part of the UMGDR Family! 

Jen currently lives in Rio, WI with Barney the Great Dane, Mason the German Shredder, 7 Goats and her family (Chris and Cody) that support her through her crazy animal adventures.Amber Bement has been involved with UMGDR since 2014, when she adopted her first Dane. Since then, she has worked in nearly every area of the rescue and currently acts as the Vetting Coordinator in addition to her duties as President. She lives in Forest Lake, MN, with 3 Great Danes, 1 Golden Retriever, and 3 cats.

Devon Kytola Pic.jpg

devon kytola


term: 02/01/2019 - 01/31/2021

Devon has been volunteering with UMGDR since 2014 doing fostering, transports, home visits and events. In the last 5 years Devon and her daughter have foster 21 dogs through UMGDR and other organizations. It has been very rewarding and a true pleasure helping these dogs on their way to their forever homes. Devon works for Professional Services Bureau, contracted by Mayo Clinic, as a Patient Account Representative. Born and raised in a small farming community she presently lives in Forest Lake, MN with her daughter, Amber and their two dogs Myla and Walter.

Kelly Flaherty Pic.jpg

Kelly Flaherty

director of foster Homes

term: 02/01/2019 - 01/31/2021

Kelly (pictured on the right) started volunteering with UMGDR in December 2016 doing home visits, transports, and most recently volunteering as Foster Home Coordinator since June 2017. Kelly has 10 years of banking and credit union experience where he currently manages a branch of Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union. Born and raised in MN, Kelly currently lives in St. Paul with his husband, Joey, and their two Great Dane-Mastiff mixes, Harlo & Merle.

unnamed (1).jpg

kathy Larson

Director of Home Visits, Adoptions and transports

Term: 04/01/2017 - 03/31/2021

Kathy has been a volunteer since 2014. She began doing transports and home visits, then moved to Home Visit Coordinator and Lead Transport Coordinator before becoming Director of Home Visits and Adoptions. Kathy is a life-long animal lover. She has had Danes most of her life – all rescues except two. After living in Iowa the majority of her life, she and her wife, Wendy, moved to Woodland Park, CO in August of 2016, along with four cats, two Danes and one Pomeranian. 


Brittian Bush

Director of Fundraising

Term: 06/01/2018 - 05/31/2020

Brittian has been with UMGDR since its beginning in 2008 and has also worked extensively with other rescues such as MARS and Save A Bull. An experienced foster and transport volunteer, Brittian is excited to turn her attention to UMGDR's fundraising and event planning needs. Her pack consists of her and her wife, Stacy, three children, three Danes and a pitbull.

Joey Gilbert Pic.jpg

Joey Gilbert

Director of Intake

Term: 02/01/2019 - 01/31/2021

Joey began volunteering with UMGDR in the spring of 2017. Since then he and Kelly have been involved with many events, home visits, transportation, and home visit coordination. Joey works as a  Customer Adoption Training Specialist with Infinite Campus specializing in K-12 school district software implementations. Joey grew up on a hobby farm with almost every farm animal you can imagine. Joey lives in Saint Paul with his husband Kelly and their two Danes, Harlo and Merle.


Jessie Vargo


Term: 8/1/19 - 7/31/21

Jessie is new to the Dane rescue scene. She is a life-long dog lover and is eager to put her time where her heart is. She works in low-income housing with a background in finance and is excited to use her knowledge to help the Danes. She lives in St. Paul with her human family, her beloved mutts Henry, Lucy and Albert as well as her cats Butters and Bertie.