Our Team

Enriching the lives of Veterans and giving second chances to shelter dogs

Our Team

Linda McAbee

Founder, Executive Director

Linda McAbee founded Hampton Roads Hounds for Heroes after a 30 year career in veterinary medicine as a certified veterinary technician.  Linda managed the veterinary department of a large county shelter in Tampa Bay, Florida for 8 years and then spent the last 20 years in veterinary pharmaceutical sales.  linda started this non-profit to aide veterans with PTSD or other military related psychiatric issues.  She is acquiring shelter dogs and having them professionally trained to become service dogs.  “Enriching the lives of veterans and giving second chances to shelter dogs,” is why Linda started this and what keeps her going.

Lewis Arnette

Assistant Director

Lewis Arnette is a dog trainer and used to be a general contractor.
He has over 5 years experience training dogs using only positive reinforcement. Lewis is from this area and we are very happy to have him.

Open Position

Operations Director– PT


Operation’s Director, oversees the organizations building operations and daily care of Dogs and Dog kennels.  Kennel Care Cleaning, Building Care and Cleaning, Cleaning of Offices; Lot care and Light maintenance.  Able to lift 60lbs, Have transportation, Have current valid drivers License, pass screening.  All other duties assigned.  Keeps hours to schedule; Log Activities. VOLUNTEER POSITION    Daily hours Monday – Friday, 730am to 11:30am

Robert (Bob) Rodriquez

Board of Directors

Robert (Bob) Rodriguez is a 24 year Navy Veteran (1974-1998). During that time, he served 3 tours as a Command Master Chief. His tours included serving onboard three nuclear missile submarines, the Navy’s largest Mine countermeasure Helicopter Command (HM-15) and the Naval Security Group command, a part of the National Security Agency. He was also a Certified Navy/Drug and Alcohol Counselor helping our service members return to full duty, In addition he was the first Navy enlisted recipient of the National Image award, presented for service to the Hispanic and military community. He has been with GEICO since November 2009 serving in the Military Service department as both a Service Agent and as one of the first members of the Military Service Center Retention Team established in January 2012. Bob is currently with the Cycle Retention team where he is currently training new motorcycle service agents.

Amy McNeill Novak

Board of Directors

Amy Novak although born and raised in small town Wisconsin, she has been a long time resident of Chesapeake. Being prior military and a Navy wife (now retired) she has raised her two boys through plenty of deployments.

Her love of animals has resulted in 3 rescued dogs in the past 20 years combined. All Shepherd or Shepherd mix, her adult life has been full of huge dogs. Although dogs have been the primary animal their house has an array of lizards and hamsters through the years.

She had served on a local Relay For Life committee for 9 years and as a Relay team captain even longer and was going to “take a break”. However the first time talking to Linda made her feel like this was the direction she needed to go. Hoping to lend some of her experience for this wonderful organization she happily joined the group.

Erica Pero

Board of Directors, Chief Legal Officer

Erica was an animal lover from day one – as a young child, she desperately wanted to be a veterinarian. Unfortunately, at age 6 she learned she was severely allergic to cats and had to make other plans for her life. She grew up with golden retrievers while her father worked for Purina.

When Erica finally struck out on her own, she knew nothing could match the companionship of a dog and wanted a pup of her own. She worked with FOCAS (Friends of County Animal Shelters) in San Diego and adopted Gretta, a German Shepard mix. Gretta, Erica’s “furry firstborn”, lived a long and happy life and passed away in 2011 from cancer. In 2013, Erica and her family adopted two retriever mix siblings, Max and Martha, from the SPCA of Northeastern North Carolina. After the birth of her daughter, Max and Martha are Erica’s second and third children and her “work buddies” at the Pero house.

Erica is an attorney in Virginia Beach. Her law firm, Pero Law, PLLC focuses on business and health law – assisting healthcare professionals and businesses who interact with the healthcare industry. Erica’s proficiency rests in navigating the mountain of contracts, documents, agreements, and negotiations – and the government regulations – impacting day-to-day business decisions; such as HIPAA and regulatory compliance, employment matters, and managed care issues. She also assists her clients with larger projects including mergers, acquisitions, affiliations, partnerships, dissolution, and joint ventures. Her primary practice area is corporate health law, and her expertise thrives in helping health care providers and businesses navigate the web of complex regulations governing the industry.

Patrick M. Porter

Financial Advisor

Extremely dynamic forward thinking professional with a proven track record of producing effective results to complex business issues by accurately assessing business environments through processes and establishing a plan that is logical and executable. Over seventeen years of experience in commercial organizations specializing in process improvement, financial operations and regulatory compliance; over thirteen years of military experience in leadership roles. Business system analyst subject matter expert for the Enterprise Local Area Network program, in support of the DFAS Technology Services Organization from January 31, 2011 to Present.

Analytic subject matter expert for the Manpower, Audit, DAI, and Entity (Compliance) initiative, known as the MADE program, in support of the DFAS Policy and Audit Oversight (P&AO) office. Lieutenant Commander, Navy Supply Corps Officer ISAF Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan (CSTC-A) Financial Management Oversight Office, Ministry of Interior Branch Chief. Responsible for the oversight of more than $827 million dollars in direct contributions to Afghanistan to build and sustain 157,000 members of the Afghan National Police and 30,000 members of the Afghan Local Police across 34 Afghan Provinces.

Navy Cargo Handling Battalion Seven, Executive Officer responsible for 300 sailors in five states in the coordination, planning and execution of worldwide missions supporting surface cargo, fuels, air cargo, maintenance and other expeditionary logistic operations worldwide. He has a Master of Business from Purdue University and a Bachelor of Science from Indiana University.

Bunny Woodworth

Board of Directors, Staff Photographer


Bunny Woodworth, brings her talent for photography, her love of dogs and her support for our Veterans, all together and is our Staff Photographer.  You will find Bunny with her family or taking portraits of a new Bride to Be; as she has her business Photos by Bunny.  Bunny Specializes in Weddings, Family Portraits, and Seniors.  She also has a love for Pet Photography.  Bunny resides in the Western Branch area of Chesapeake, Va.