Laura believes in participating in and giving back to the community. She has served as a board member with Webster Comfort Care Home, a hospice in New York and Wilmot Cancer Center and locally she volunteers for the Honda Classic and is board president of the Pet Cottage.
She is married to Gary with whom she owns Mail and News in Tequesta Florida. They have three children and spend her free time with family, friends, golfing, and yoga. They are both dog lovers and share their home with Mae and Larry, AussieDoodles.
Patti has lived in the Jupiter/Tequesta community since 1969. Patti is the Vice President/Branch Manager for PNC Bank in Jupiter and has worked for the bank for 22 years. Patti is an animal lover and met Wendy at an event that was promoting the Pet Cottage. She immediately bonded with Wendy and her mission. With Patti’s experience in the finance world, she really wanted to help the “Pet Cottage” with the future expansion of the organization. Patti is the happy mom of two; Cosmo a 15-year-old Yorkie Poo, and Cody an 8-year-old Shih tzu mix.
Jean is a retired teacher. She is an active member of the Scholarship Committee for the Community Foundation of PB and Martin Counties, a donor to her late husband’s scholarship and a contributing member of a philanthropic group, Impact 100 the Palm Beaches and, most importantly, a strong advocate for animals. She is the happy companion to two Morkies. Jean is currently a foster mom.
Wendy Derhak is the Founder, Chief Caregiver and Executive Director of The Pet Cottage. This organization was born out of all the experiences I have accumulated in my lifetime.
I have a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from the University Of New Hampshire. I played every role possible at Forest Park re-named to Growing Places a non-profit childcare organization on the campus of UNH from work-study student to Executive Director including the role of parent from 1983 – 1997.
After moving to South Florida in 1997, I worked in the early childhood sector for 2 years. Discovering how lax the State of Florida’s regulations are I felt I couldn’t be effective in that arena. I then got certified as a personal trainer and started my own fitness business for Seniors. My business involved going to seniors’ homes and implementing an individualized exercise program appropriate for that demographic.
Working with people in their homes creates intimacy. Over time you become family. Most of my senior clients had pets as companions and they too become your family. When one of my dearest clients became ill with a terminal disease, I became her caretaker and we began to explore how to arrange for me to provide care for her cats when she was gone. Joan passed in March of 2012 and The Pet Cottage was born.
I knew she was not the only senior who would need care for their beloved pets if they died before their pet did. I began exploring what I could do to serve these populations. Pets who have lost their people and the people leaving them behind.
I believe pets make us better people. They serve us willingly and participate in our journey without question. They play a valuable role in Seniors lives who often live far from family. Pets give Seniors purpose, companionship, and unconditional love. My service, my purpose is to honor the pets that serve us and to give
peace of mind to the people who are leaving them behind. I also get to match these pets with seniors who want a companion but would be frightened to accept the responsibility without the support of The Pet Cottage. It is truly magical and makes an impact for the pet, their people, and the people who welcome them into their home and hearts.
I invite you to join our pack! This mission is worth your time, your contribution, and is a gift to those we serve.