The staff behind the dogs that make a difference.


Meet our Executive Director

Christina Kimerle

Christina joins with more than 10 years of experience working in the nonprofit and animal industries. As the key management leader of DFOB, Christina will be responsible for overseeing the administration, programs, and strategic plan of the organization. Other key duties include fundraising, marketing, and community outreach. She will report directly to the Board of Directors and founders.

Christina grew up in a military family. Her father served 25 years in the U.S. Navy and fought in Desert Storm. She is a 2005 graduate of Virginia Tech where she studied animal sciences and business. Christina started her career working with elephants at the Norfolk Zoo and completed two behavior research projects at the St. Louis Zoo in 2006. She served as Program Coordinator and Resident Caretaker at Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary in Ste. Genevieve, MO, from 2006 to 2008 living with the tiger family and one lion. Following that she joined the St. Charles Humane Society as Executive Director. Her experience also includes serving as the Operations Manager at Baywater Animal Rescue in Cambridge, MD, and most recently as Executive Director at the Friends of the Animal Center Foundation in Iowa City, IA.

Christina is an active member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and Rotary. She was recognized as one of the Corridor Business Journal’s 40 Under Forty in 2016, and recently received the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce Spark Leadership Award. She also served as a mentor with the Women in Business and Community Leadership Academy at the University of Iowa.  She is excited to get involved in the St. Louis community.  Christina lives in St. Louis with her dog Gertrude.


Meet our Head Trainer

Paul Scimone CPDT-KA, RVT, CGC

Paul ScimonePaul is a certified canine trainer, registered veterinary technician and canine good citizen instructor from St. Louis, Missouri. He has been involved in the dog training community for over a decade. More specifically, he has been involved in rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming abandoned and abused pets, which fits right in with our DFOB mission.
Paul has spent years managing a team of dog trainers and a large scale animal shelter workforce. He has assisted in breaking up dog fighting rings and helped to reduce shelter euthanization rates in local shelters. He founded several programs in the community that help homeless dogs, and has rehabilitated countless pet dogs for owners that had reached the end of their rope with behavioral problems.
He has also worked in local prisons training inmates and service dogs, a tremendously important and effective effort.
Paul has been published in nationally syndicated newspapers such as the Washington Post for his expertise in canine behavior. On the scientific side, he has conducted research on the hormone oxytocin, which was nationally recognized. Paul also founded his own non-profit organization that is focused on rescuing dogs and cats from high kill shelters in St. Louis: The Green Paw Community Association.
He actively works in the veterinary field along with training service dogs, adding an element of medical knowledge to his behavioral portfolio. His latest endeavor includes opening a feline rescue cafe.
Paul personally has three dogs and two cats and lives in (ironically) Dogtown, St. Louis, Missouri. We feel privileged to have his experience, tenacity and motivation working for DFOB!
Bradley Loyd

Bradley Loyd

Assistant Trainer

Bradley is a certified CGC evaluator, and has been teaching training classes for over 8 years.  He celebrated 1 year with Dogs for Our Brave the first week of April 2020!  He tells us, “It really is one of the most challenging and rewarding places I have ever worked.” 
Always an animal lover, Bradley was able to make his dreams come true in 2012 when he started working with a well known St. Louis dog trainer.
K9 Athletic Club taught him the skills needed to start teaching basic dog training classes.  In 2013, Bradley started working with the enrichment and training team at Stray Rescue.  He spent 5 years training adopters and their new dogs, along with the tougher shelter cases.  He was one of the first trainers for the Puppies for Parole program, and he loved seeing the dogs give and be given second chances!
The move to Dogs for Our Brave was the perfect next step in Bradley’s story.  He is proud and thankful to be a part of the work we’re doing here with these amazing dogs and people.  We are so glad to have Bradley on our team!
Bridgette McAuley

Bridgette McAuley

Assistant Trainer

Bridgette has earned a B.S. in Animal Sciences with a minor in Captive Wild Animal Management from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She gained most of her animal experience working at four different AZA accredited zoos. As an Animal Care Intern and Zoo Keeper she learned valuable training skills that have easily transferred to our service dog training program. She is currently enrolled in the University of Missouri-St. Louis Public Policy Administration program working towards her masters degree and a certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership.

Bridgette grew up with several close family members who served in all branches of the military, and her brother is currently serving in the Air Force. Bridgette is excited to use her animal training skills to help our veterans. We are lucky to have Bridgette on our team!

Matthew Westermeyer

Matthew Westermeyer

Assistant Trainer

Matt was born and raised right here in St. Louis.  He has been a life long advocate for dogs, and his job at DFOB falls right into his passion. He received his Bachelor of Education with a minor in Psychology during his undergrad at Regis University.  Though he originally anticipated using these studies to teach human children, he has been delighted to transfer his knowledge to work with his new canine students at DFOB.  When he isn’t working work dogs at DFOB, he can found working with various other animals on a local farm – animals are his passion. 

Matt has worked alongside dogs in various settings for over a decade, and he is currently pursuing educational development certificates to continue his service dog training skills.  We appreciate Matt’s dedication and contribution to our team!

Are you a shelter or a rescue that may have a potential dog for our brave? If so, go to our Dog Submission Guidelines page and we will be happy to walk you through how to evaluate a dog.