Board of Directors

Pamela Goldsmith

Founder, Chair & Treasurer

Animals, of all kinds, have always been a big part of my life and held a special place in my heart. As a child, I had the typical – cats, dogs, fish, gerbils, and all of my family had cats and dogs. The animals provided comfort and companionship and I thought when I “grew up”, I would always work in the animal field, either as a vet, building a rescue sanctuary or starting an organization. Well, college and then law school got in the way of that dream, along with establishing a career. But, the dream never went away and in the back of my mind, I still thought about how I could reach it. Along the way, I volunteered for animal organizations, fostered cats, campaigned for animal causes, donated to various organizations for cats, dogs, horses, elephants and farm animals, and adopted my amazing cats. And, in June 2011, finally began to pursue the dream. I am excited about Big Hands Little Paws – what we have done, what we plan to do and the difference we have made and will continue to make.

Mari Keiko Gonzalez

Vice Chair

I am a native New Yorker who grew up with cats, horses, gerbils and hamsters. Our family cats were Pablo, Wendy, Keiko, Maxwell, Pongo and Kushka (not all at the same time!). We adopted Maxwell in the 1970′s and he lived with me from third grade all the way through marriage and childbirth. I also had two horses, Pooh Bear and Farnley Fashion. My daughter, Devon, was even named after the Devon horse show in Pennsylvania. Since I can remember, I have always been a lover of animals and was born with the heart of a rescuer. Some animal “tails” I am best known for are driving an injured pigeon from Brooklyn to Manhattan’s Animal Medical Center in the middle of the night, scooping a furry caterpillar off of my yoga mat and delivering it barefoot to Tompkins Square Park, saving week-old feral kittens from a winter storm in Bedford-Stuyvesant and, most recently, wrangling a lost Rottweiler running in the streets of Clinton Hill until he was reunited with his family. In addition to my role with Big Hand Little Paws, I am a volunteer at a wildlife rescue organization in Manhattan, dedicated to the rehabilitation and education of birds in NYC. I have fed, fostered and released several pigeons back into the wilderness of New York City and am the proud new parent, of Slick, a terrier abandoned on Alexander Avenue in the Bronx.

Barbara Ann Levin-Miller










Megan Penrose


I have always loved animals. Some of my earliest memories are of my beloved Bassett Hound and me watching the world go by whilst sharing an apple ( Yes we went bite for bite). I now am lucky enough to be the guardian of 3 small rescue dogs and to live in a city that refers to me as their guardian (San Francisco). 3 to 4 million companion animals are killed each year in the U.S alone. This heart breaking statistic is enough to keep me awake at night, and that is without all the other stories of abuse and cruelty. I have joined the Board of BHLP because our nation’s shelters are underfunded and overwhelmed and I have personally witnessed the difference rescue groups can make in the lives of abused, neglected and homeless animals. “For at the same time many people seem eager to extend the circle of our moral consideration to animals, in our factory farms and laboratories we are inflicting more suffering on more animals than at any time in history.”  – Michael Pollan