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Marisa Hernandez

Co- Executive Director

& Co-Founder

As soon as she could walk, Marisa was walking the dog food aisle of the grocery store kissing the bags of dog food with pictures of puppies on them.  Ever since then Marisa has been advocating for animals in whatever aspect she could.

Marisa Hernandez has spent the majority of her professional life caring for others. Early on she had random jobs like a Starbucks barista or retail sales associate or even baking bread at a local bakery. Marisa worked as an educator helping special needs students with developmental disorders.

After moving away from Minnesota to leave a troubled relationship, she and her three children moved back to Utah where she has a loving family and friends. She’s worked hard to raise her three children nearly alone. While doing so, she also cared for others by serving in an industry she has a passion for, with different positions in the airlines industry as gate agent and flight attendant. This gave her the ability to travel and show her children more of the world.

Several years ago, when a friend passed away unexpectedly, Marisa stepped in immediately to keep his small business open for his loyal clients. In 2016 Dogs R Us became Dogs All Day to carry on her friend’s legacy and continue to serve the needs of his customers and their animals providing daycare, grooming, boarding and love. This opportunity has enabled Marisa to foster out many animals to their furever homes.

Now Marisa is proud to be one of the founding members of nonprofit organization, Ruff Haven, offering animal care for those in need, dealing with crisis situations that without help might cost them the relationship with their cherished and beloved pets.

It’s just another step in her career making a difference and caring as much as she can.

Kristina Pulsipher, SSW

Kristina is a licensed social worker who has worked in the Salt Lake Valley for almost 25 years. She started her career as a case worker with the Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) and has since worked for several organizations with at-risk youth. She most recently worked in the criminal justice field with adults and she is an avid proponent of using a trauma-informed approach.

Her passion for working with animals began when she and her husband got their first Bulldog almost 10 years ago. She then began volunteering at the Humane Society of Utah, Bulldog Club of Utah Rescue, and is one of the co-founders of Street Dawg Crew of Utah. Her love for working with underserved people and pets sparked the idea to form Ruff Haven Crisis Sheltering.


She currently resides in Draper with her husband, three smooshy rescue Bulldogs, and a senior pug. Her claim to fame is being the mom to Salt Lake County Animal Services' Canine Deputy Mayor, Hoss, who sadly passed away a year into his term in October 2020 from a brain tumor.

Co- Executive Director

& Co-Founder

Kimo Pokini

Kimo is a long-time advocate of nonprofit volunteer work and has actively participated in a number of worthy causes that support humanitarian and animal rescue efforts. Kimo was Vice President of the Legacy Initiative of Utah, as well as Vice President and co-founder of Street Dawg Crew of Utah.


Kimo’s enthusiasm for Ruff Haven Crisis Sheltering comes from his love of literally helping the underdog, believing that “when you help a pet, you help a person.” He has been an animal lover all his life, and has been a dog dad to several pups, including Kubo, a fairly recent addition to the family. 


Kimo is married to RHCS board member Stan Stensrud, and enjoys the company of his mom and father-in-law, who also live in their home.

Director of Development

& Co-Founder

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