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Erin Maxick 

Founder / President

Erin is dedicated to creating experiences for others that uplift and help them to feel loved and cared for. 


As an extremely shy and introverted child herself, Erin’s first best friend was a bunny named Buttons.  For Erin, animals offered a safe and gentle environment and she nurtured many pets growing up.


As a teen visiting convalescent homes with her youth group, Erin’s was profoundly moved by the many elders whom she experienced as deeply lonely and yearning for connection.  Many years later Erin began working with a animals through the Mobile Zoo of California, and was inspired to branch out to visit those who aren’t able to afford this amazing service.  


Erin is an actress, a performer with circus theatre Lucent Dossier Experience, has her own line of French style handmade botanical soaps, Éclore Soap and raises exotic orchids.

Dayna Riesgo  

Vice President 

Dayna has always had a deep love of animals big and small, covered in fur, feathers or scales!  


Dayna has worked in the event and entertainment industry for over 20 years, which has taken her all over the world.  When on a production site, if there is a critter to relocate, attend to, or discover, Dayna is the first to be called to the scene, even when it comes to tarantulas and bats! As a performer she loves to entertain and bring out smiles and laughter.  Working with the animals of The Little Zoo is the perfect outlet to do just that for those in need of the magical healing that animals provide.  


Dayna is also a professional photographer, loves collecting beautiful antiques and performing and creating with Grand Artique theatre entertainment company.


Rhonda Strauss


Rhonda’s fascination with animals began before she could even walk.  Her pets growing up included cats, dogs, bunnies and even geese!  


With her big heart, Rhonda was the child who brought home every sick or homeless animal she came across (and still does!).   Friends and family come to her whenever they have questions or need advice about their pets as she is trained in animal Reiki and often uses animal communicators to assist with diagnosing her pets ailments.  

Her first pet with her husband was a Red Tailed Boa snake named Moscow.  Since then they have had the pleasure of sharing their lives with three more dogs, two more cats, rats, hamsters, an African Sulcata tortoise, bunny, and finally, after 45 years, a horse named Sparkling Rose’.


Rhonda has had the pleasure of owning and operating a Three Dog Bakery, dedicated to making healthy treats for dogs.   It brings her great pleasure to see others experience the same love, fascination and joy of animals. 

Shira Loa


Shira has always had a deep affinity to the natural world and all of its creatures, and feels a magical spark of joy when connecting with animals. From sharks to rabbits, she loves them all, but for the last 24 years, she has been especially devoted to snakes, and now has 5 of them in her serpent family, along with a goofy pitbull mutt named Ume. 

Shira is a metal artist, and spent 20+ years in the event and fabrication industries as a welder, builder, project/production and assets manager. She often ended up as the official Snake Wrangler to catch wild snakes and relocate them to safety on many outdoor job sites. Most recently, she works as a professional data systems/organizational wizard and operations strategist for companies that range in focus from entertainment to non-profit work. 


Shira first experienced The Little Zoo by acting as the Snake Wrangler, and absolutely loved educating young and old alike about these very misunderstood but simply wonderful animals. Watching people go from fear to wonder/fascination is the most rewarding experience, and she’s so excited to become an official part of the Little Zoo, both as a board member and a participant in animal therapy sessions.


Meet our Zoo Volunteers

Thank you to our volunteer zoo crew family for helping us make this

heartwarming work possible!  Would you like to volunteer?  Drop us a line! 

Junior Volunteers





Zoo Crew

Erin and Dayna

Erin and Dayna





Alex and Missy

Alex and Missy







Carrie and Tanya


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