MEET OUR TEAM

Peter E. Rork, M.D., Founder and President

Peter, “The Pilot”, is an East Coast refugee, who always believed that he was switched at birth with a kid from New Jersey. After working his way through medical school as a pilot, he practiced Orthopaedic Surgery for more than thirty years. Instead of retiring to a golf course, he has returned to the skies as our Chief Pilot. Peter holds an Airline Transport Pilot rating and is qualified to fly single and multiengine aircraft as well as seaplanes. He is also a certified flight instructor. Transporting animals to furever homes in a Cessna Turbo Cessna 206 Stationair and Cessna Grand Caravan, he says that the view from his new office beats any other.

Kara Pollard, Executive Director

With her husband Mark Pollard, a Kiwi native and their daughter Olivia and son William, Kara has made Jackson home with two rescue dogs Sydney and Queenie.  Animal welfare has always been a passion of hers, from rescuing the family pets at local animal shelters and volunteering for welfare agencies while growing up in Rhode Island.  After graduating from the University of Vermont in 2006 with a degree in Animal Science, she moved to Jackson, WY with her first rescue dog, Sydney a pit bull mix.  Kara quickly became an active member in the Valley, working as a technician at a veterinary clinic and also volunteering for animal welfare agencies including Teton County Animal Shelter, Paws of Jackson Hole, and the Animal Adoption Center.  In 2012, Kara became the Executive Director of the Animal Adoption Center- a nonprofit animal welfare organization.  In her time at the AAC amongst running the daily operations and carrying out her executive responsibilities, Kara completed a 1.5 million dollar capital campaign to fund the land purchase and construction costs for the new AAC building.  Kara is committed to pursuing her passion in animal welfare, and feels privileged to advocate on DIMC’s behalf as the Executive Director.

Karen Valenstein Ford, Board Member

Karen Valenstein Ford retired from Wall Street investment banking and moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming in 1989 to indulge her love of skiing. After skiing at least 75 days a year for 23 years, she and her husband Glenn retired (again) to Scottsdale, Arizona.

Having grown up in a dog-less family in NYC, she purchased her first dog, a Jack Russell Terrier. There followed another Jack Russell and finally Turbo who came from Jack Russell Rescue. Rescue was an unknown concept to this dog-neophyte. What followed was a procession of rescue dogs, dogs of friends, family and neighbors hanging out at her Fish Creek Road home in Wilson, WY. Neighbors’ dogs would avail themselves of two always open dog doors for a snack or just to hang out with the 3 residents.

In Scottsdale, her home is still a haven for visiting dogs of friends and family to keep Jasper, a Jack Russell mix, company. She lives in a golf community which has a large dog park, populated by mostly rescued dogs. Her friends and family feel equally as strongly in the concept of rescue.

In her previous New York life she was involved in non profit fundraising for such diverse charities as Big Brothers and Big Sisters, The Big Apple Circus and The U.S. Ski Team, to name a few. She hopes to use her talent for separating people from their money to benefit DIMC’s rescue operations.

Susan Bersticker Thorp, ND, RN, Board Member

Susan has a doctorate in nursing from Case Western Reserve, and is a nurse in the state of WY.  She has worked in the orthopedic community for the past 14 yrs taking care of people, and a few dogs with broken bones along the way. Susan works for the Ossur America brace company, and is an international consultant to Cast Nylons Ltd., a manufacturer of cast nylon bearing materials, where Susan uses her fluency in Spanish to assist Cast Nylons in their expansion of sales to Mexico, Central and South America.  Susan is the copilot in her husband’s Piper Meridian, that they fly around the US, Bahamas and Mexico with their two passengers, Tank, a yellow Labrador and Chamois, a Golden Retriever.

Brent A. Blue, M.D., Board Member

Brent is a family practice and emergency medicine physician in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and is a recognized expert in aviation medicine. He founded Aeromedix, a medical aviation company, and has served on the Board of Lighthawk. Brent owns three aircraft and four dogs—two Bergamascos, a Golden Retriever, and a Lagotto Ramagnolo.

Ted Kerasote, Board Member

Ted Kerasote is the author of many books, including the national bestseller Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog, Out There: In The Wild in a Wired Age, which won the National Outdoor Book Award, and Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs, which has helped to change how people think about canine health. His essays and photographs have appeared in Audubon, Geo, Outside, Science, The New York Times, and more than sixty other periodicals. Ted lives in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Past Board Members

Buller Rork: August 2012-2016

Judy Zimet, Esq., Co-Founder: August 2016-August 2018

Mary Ann Parlin, Ph.D.: April 2017-2018

Martin Thall: August 2014-2016