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Every day dogs rush into the doors of Pawtropolis, never looking back at their owners. They are excited and absolutely love being here. Owners tell us that the dogs know the way to Pawtropolis and start going crazy when the make the turn onto our road. Why is this? Well, though the paw prints on the walls are cute and the floors always get cleaned and sanitized and we have a catchy name...it's the employees of Pawtropolis that create an environment that brings the dogs in, tails wagging, every time. We thought you would like a chance to meet the team that are many of your dogs' best friends.
Just who is taking care of your pets?
All animal caretakers are required to complete the Pawtropolis Training Program. This program is designed to help them learn about animal care, dog behavior, pack behavior, emergency procedures, discipline procedures and more.
Because the health of your pets is of up most concern, we also encourage employees to participate in the American Pet First Aid Class. This class goes into far more details than our program here. It even offers participants a chance to practice CPR on dummy dogs. This is an amazing program that is also offered to the public. We have a large percentage of our staff that are Red Cross Pet First Aid certified.
After obtaining a degree from the University of Georgia, Amanda began the process of opening Pawtropolis. Her dream came true grand opening day December 1st, 2001. John came on board full time after they got married in 2008 and has become an invaluable asset to Pawtropolis. They welcomed daughter Evelyn July 2012 and twins Grayson and Lydia September 2014.
Amanda has been doing training and competitive obedience since age 15. She continues to do obedience, placing multiple titles on her own dogs as well as others she trains. Her training style is to incorporate and learn about as many techniques as she can so that she can find what will work best for each individual dog. Rescuing a dominant dog with aggression problems herself, Amanda has a special love for dogs with behavioral problems. This "aggressive" dog became the sweet lovable Dalmatian Tyler that before passing away greeted everyone at the door of Pawtropolis.
Amanda & Pawtropolis are industry leaders, using her over 22 years experience to create one of the top doggie daycares around. Many doggie daycares are run by people that have tried various other business ventures and think, "this would be fun." Amanda on the other hand had Pawtropolis as her goal from the very beginning. Unlike many facilities, Pawtropolis focuses strongly on educating staff on dog and pack behavior. They're not just thrown into playgroups and told to supervise. Staff receive over 20 training shifts and even then can only supervise under the leadership of another staff member. Knowing dog behavior like they do, Pawtropolis animal caretakers ensure the safest playgroups possible. Amanda even gets paid to consult other kennels all over the United States. She wants to use her expertise to help other doggie daycare owners be successful and keep all dogs safe. Take a look at her consulting services here: www.doggiedaycareconsulting.com.
Amanda currently owns two rescue dogs; Heidi (Chihuahua) and Jersey (standard poodle.) Her current dogs have ranked as high as the top 5 in their breeds. Her Chihuahua was even invited to compete in the American Kennel Club Invitationals in 2013. Amanda had obtained over 45 obedience and agility titles but prides herself most in the work she does in rehabiliting and rehoming the dogs of Helping Paws Rescue. Visit Amanda's Dogs in Competition page to see fun videos of her dogs competing.
In 2018, Amanda was featured in VoyageATL. You can see other awards and kudos here.
Amber has been working with us since September of 2009 when she was an undergraduate student at UGA. She graduated from UGA in 2013 with a Bachelor's Degree in Human Development and Family Sciences and then moved to "fill-in" status with us while she pursued a career related to her degree. After a few years, she decided to prioritize her career with Pawtropolis so she could spend her time working with well-loved pets and their people. We couldn't be happier with her decision!
She's now a member of our Management team as our Office Manager. She's rather popular among the staff because she's the one who ensures they get their paychecks on time :) She's also responsible for stocking and organizing our Pet Boutiques at both locations (you have her to thank for all of our cute toys!) and preparing the great gift baskets that we donate throughout the year for silent auctions. She leads our staff in providing exceptional customer service and helps with far too many "behind the scenes" responsibilities for us to even list. Amber is actively pursuing continuing education in Human Resources so that we can continue to provide positive working environments for our ever expanding animal care and customer service teams. If she's not manning the front desk or handling her long list of responsibilities, you can find her hanging out in Kitty City and working with some of our more opinionated feline guests. It should go without saying that we'd have a really hard time running Pawtropolis without her!
Amber's family has expanded quite a bit since she first started with Pawtropolis. She and her husband Dan (who she met while working here!) are the lucky parents of an energetic little girl named Amelia. They also have a few pets: Dixie (Westie), Jasper (Black Lab), Tonka (Boxer mix), Picasso (cat), and a little flock of chickens.
Shane has been working with us full-time since October of 2007. That's not a typo; he's been with us for over 11 years! He first started with us as a fresh graduate from Animal Behavior College with aspirations of becoming a full-time trainer. He changed his career goals after realizing that he preferred working as an Animal Caretaker at Pawtropolis because he liked working with a high volume and variety of dogs and clients each week. He also enjoys speaking with clients to help them with any questions or concerns they have regarding their pets as well as educating clients and the Athens community on how to be responsible pet owners, have well-behaved pets, and feed them healthy diets. Now Shane is a Mentor Trainer through Animal Behavior College and an AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator as well as one of our Managers. We can't imagine Pawtropolis without Shane!
Shane is a native of Oconee County, Georgia and lives there with his wife Jamie and adorable little girls Arianna (7) and Alexa (6). He also has 2 dogs - Phoenix the spitz mix and Chula thecattledog mix - as well as a cat - Jasmine Mini Panther (named by his girls of course!). He enjoys spending time withhis family, performing "at home" chemistryexperiments with his girls,and working on and riding motorcycles. He's our resident comedian and is regularly sharing "dad jokes" and puns that he thinks staff or clients will enjoy.
Bonnie worked at Pawtropolis back in 2006 while pursuing an undergraduate degree in Animal Science and Biology at UGA. In 2007, she took a break from work to focus on her studies and worked as a Research Professional in a conservation genetics lab after graduation. She returned to us in the fall of 2014 and took no time fitting back in and being anobvious leader. She became the Eastside KennelManager fall of 2016.
Bonnie grew up around all types of animals and she has always felt a strong connection with dogs and horses. She competed in eventing with her horses until moving to Athens for college and plans to return to riding in the near future. Bonnie owns a small farm in Madison county where she and her partner, Mike live with their four dogs, Odin (an aussie mix), Hope (a yellow lab), Wookie (a chihuahua mix) and Flower (a husky), four cats and six chickens. She is very passionate about animal rescue, taking an active role in Helping Paws Rescue. Bonnie loves working at Pawtropolis because everyday is an opportunity to learn more about dog behavior.
Bonnie is never satisfied with her level of animal training. She constantly looks for opportunities to continue her education in dog behavior, dog handling techniques, dog and cat care, and more. She is certified in Pet First Aid, she is a Certified Professional Animal Care Provider from the Professional Animal Care Certification Council (PACCC) and, most recently, was cerfified at the Silver level for Low Stress Handling®. Both Pawtropolis and the animals in our care are better off having Bonnie as part of our leadership team!
Billy joined the Pawtropolis crew just this year in May. Already he is proving himself to be a wonderful addition with his laid-back personality and upbeat attitude! The dogs respond very well to him (even though he is a guy!), especially our German Shepherd clients, which Billy has a natural affinity for! He has his own GSD named Apollo, who facilitated his love for the breed.
He is a sophomore at the University of North Georgia and is in their Pre-Vet program. When he needed work, his passion for dogs made Pawtropolis the obvious choice. His favorite part of the job is supervising playgroups, where he spends his time getting to know each dog personally and making sure that they are comfortable with him. His favorite dogs to see include Kaiser, a German Shepherd, and Max, a Border Collie. He is pictured here with Portia and Max!.When he isn’t spending time working with the shepherds and border collies in daycare, Billy enjoys playing basketball with his friends (which isn’t surprising since he’s so tall!) and watching Netflix.
We couldn't be happier to have Hannah on our team! She grew up in Jackson County where her parents owned a lot of land that she had a blast exploring with her younger siblings. She was active in the Future Farmers of America group at her school and she was always surrounded by animals at home. She showed goats (Lugnut and Benji) and raised honeybees with her parents. She also had a pony named Spot, a German Shepherd named Rover, and two beagles named Roscoe and Lily. Now, Hannah and her fiance have seven dogs as well as two horses, three cats, and two fish, so they have quite the farm. She is interested in becoming a Registered Veterinary Technician or maybe a veterinarian with her own large and small animal veterinary clinic, but for now she is ecstatic to stay with us at Pawtropolis.
Hannah has been a wonderful addition to our team at Pawtropolis! She is kind and encouraging to everyone, very organized and detail oriented, and has so much love for companion pets. It's no surprise that she is a Shift Leader and Staff Trainer in addition to an Animal Caretaker. She has loved her experiences here, and when asked what she loves about her job, she said: “I enjoy working at Pawtropolis because I get the opportunity to work with many different breeds of dogs and behaviors. I enjoy working with dogs that need assistance with a certain behavior and seeing the progress they make as we work with them. I also enjoy seeing the clients excitement as they watch the progress their dog makes through the effort everyone is putting in. I also enjoy the fact that it is locally owned. I really encourage and support entrepreneurs. I enjoy being able to help a local business thrive and getting to personally know the owner. I also enjoy my co-workers. We are all so supportive of each other and they are always willing to lend a hand if someone needs it.”
Alondra grew up in Acworth, Georgia with her brother and sister and joined the Pawtropolis team in September of 2016. Growing up, she unfortunately didn’t have any pets because of her father’s allergies, but she’s always had a love and connection with animals. As a child without personal pets she would spend a lot of time with the pets that belonged to her friends.
Alondra started off studying Women’s Studies at UGA but is now exploring new options in the field of animal care! Her goal is to one day open her own rescue! She first heard about Pawtropolis from her best friend and roommate, Dean, who at the time was working with us as a member of our Paw Crew. She figured that hanging out with dogs and cats sounded like a great job and great way to fill the void of not having any pets of her own. In April of 2017 Alondra adopted her first pet, a grey and white Tabby cat named Blaire and then in June of the same year she adopted a scruffy terrier named Trixie!
In Alondra’s spare time she enjoys snuggling up with Blaire and Trixie for naps, puzzling and watching The Office on repeat! She has seen the entire series more times than can be counted on one hand. Alondra also speaks both English and Spanish and enjoys volunteering to help both humans and animals alike.
Alondra has quickly become a very vital asset to the Pawtropolis team and we’re very happy to have her with us!
Michael grew up in a few different places in Georgia including Bethlehem, Stone Mountain, Winder, Lawrenceville, and Athens. Michael and his younger brother Josh grew up with 5 small dogs which sparked Michael’s love for all pups!
Before working for Pawtropolis Michael was an apprentice with an electrician. After breaking his arm on the job he re-evaluated if being an electrician was something he actually wanted to do and began looking for a change. He eventually found us and has quickly been working his way up ever since! Michael was recently promoted to shift leader and has been excelling in this position.
In Michael’s spare time he enjoys playing and recording music, reading, and traveling. He is still trying to figure out what the future holds for him but we know Michael will do great things.
Michael is a strong leader and very hard working. We love having him on team Pawtropolis!
Tara was actually friends with Amanda prior to working at Pawtropolis. She is a fellow dog agility addict. Her 9.5 year old pug, Paqui, has multiple accomplishments, including two MACH titles (Master Agility Champion), participation in the AKC Invitational for the past three years (which is only open to the top 5 dogs of each breed), and she has ranked among the top five in Pug Club for four years! She's earned not only several AKC agility titles but USDAA as well. Her 10.5 year old pug Gavin was the top agility pug in Jumpers in 2014! Her third pug, Bonnie, tends to act more like a pug than her siblings and prefers to lounge around and cheer from the sidelines. Tara also has one non-pug, Emmy, who has multiple agility titles!
Tara has always loved working with the "pack" at Pawtropolis, and since she became our Kennel Manager, she has been able to mold our staff to match her enthusiasm. She loves to work with our more insecure daycare dogs and she does everything she can to make sure that each dog trusts her and feels comfortable in the environment.Dogs aren't her only passion, Tara graduated from Berry College in 2007 with a B.A. in Spanish. She's taught Spanish at Cedar Shoals High School for a few years. However, her passion for dogs and Pawtropolis has made the Kennel Manager position perfect for her.
Alison has been with Pawtropolis since January '08. Alison grooms full-time at our Westside location. She was originally trained at the International Academy of Pet Design in Alpharetta, GA, but her real skills have developed over the past many years working with the dogs entrusted to her grooming care. She has experience with all breeds and does a wonderful job.
A testament to her relationship with both the dogs and the clients, Alison is booked out weeks in advance. She has established a base of regular cliental that she truly cares about (evening having someone drive 4 hours to bring their dog to her).
Despite her experience, Alison continues to educate herself in all things grooming. Every year she attends the Atlanta Pet Fair, attending workshops and seminars teaching her the latest and greatest grooming techniques. She is certified in pet first aid and cpr and is even an AKC Safety Cerified Groomer. Alison maintains her membership in the National Dog Groomers Association of America.
Alison has two amazing boys that share their home with dogs Ranger and Louie. She is pictures here with one of her many favorite grooming dogs Ollie. Alison has been a true blessing to both Pawtropolis is our clients. We hope to have her for another 10 years!
One of our most familiar faces at Pawtropolis westside is Jamie Ritter. She has been with us for five years now and we couldn’t be happier that she is a part of our team.
Originally from Federal Way, Washington she grew up with her two brothers. Growing up she wasn’t allowed to have dogs, but they did have a tabby cat named Tortilla (Tia for short) who lived to be 19. After she passed away they got two maine coons named Sampson and Lexie. Jamie attended Washington State with a BS in Zoology and a minor in film studies. While in school she would frequently volunteer at the Whitman Humane Society. Once she graduated, it was a no brainer for her to work there full time. She loved working with the animals in the shelter and it really nurtured her love for animals for years to come.
Jamie joined our Pawtropolis team in 2014 when she applied to work after she saw they were hiring on Facebook. She wanted to continue working with dogs and she knew this was the place for her. She quickly proved herself to be a valuable asset by working her way to shift leader in less than a year. Her favorite parts of working at Pawtropolis is meeting all of the pitties, playing with the dogs in the pool in the summer and creating bonds with her favorite friends. Jamie has a real affinity for pitties as a whole and that led her to adopting two of her very own named, Cobalt and Xenon. Outside of work she loves to online shop, read and cook. Her dream (or as she would say, her “destiny”) is to win the lottery and return to shelter work to find homes for all the pitties out there.
Some fun facts about Jamie: She has been a vegetarian for nearly 15 years, she loves catching and releasing insects, and she knows more details about Ptrop dogs than she does about her own life.
Joshua grew up in Oglethorpe County with his family, including a Chocolate Lab named Tori and a cat named Malachi. After high school, he moved closer to Atlanta and spent a couple years attending Georgia Tech and studying Computer Science before coming back to Athens with his cat Zuko to look for work. He knew that he loved animals so he decided to apply to work with us upon the recommendation of his roommate Billy (who also works for us!). Joshua has fallen in love with working with animals and we couldn’t be happier to have him on our team!
He has really developed a love for figuring out dog behaviors and what works best with each dog individually. He spends his time making sure that every dog is taken care of to Pawtropolis standards and teaching the newer staff techniques to work with all of the different personalities that come through daycare. He also enjoys spending time with our boarding cats in Kitty City. Because of his friendly personality, welcoming nature, and computer skills, he was trained for our customer service position. Pawtropolis wouldn't be the same without his smiling face and skills at trouble shooting computer problems.
She may not be the most talkative person you’ve met at Pawtropolis, but you won’t find many more people who are as knowledgeable on your dog as Trista Hunter. She joined the Pawtropolis team back in August of 2017, and with her close attention to detail and love for all dogs and an understanding of dog breeds has come into her own as one of our strongest workers.
Trista grew up, bouncing back and forth in Georgia and Tennessee while spending most of her time on her grandmother’s ranch. Her family raised Border Collies and Australian Shepherds growing up and she has spent a lot of time watching her grandparents train them to heard cattle and sheep. She is the oldest of 8 siblings. She spent some time in college studying criminal justice with the goal of becoming a park ranger, which she still hopes becomes a reality someday. While trying to figure out what she wanted to do she heard about Pawtropolis through some friends and with her extreme love for animals thought she would give it a shot. She fell in love with the job. Her favorite part of working at Pawtropolis is, of course, the dogs, which she makes sure get that extra attention and personal touch as if they were at home. She has two dogs name Sasha, who is a shepherd mix and Ms. Pupperton (aka pup pup), who is a lab mix, as well as two cats named Sushi and June Bug. All of her animals are rescues and she has a real affinity for animals in search of a home. We couldn’t be happier about Trista being a part of the Pawtropolis family.
Fun Facts: Trista LOVES tattoos and she loves taking Sasha hiking and letting her swim.
Ansley grew up in Oglethorpe, Georgia and graduated from Oglethorpe County High School. After high school, she wasn’t sure if she wanted to go back college but she knew she wanted to work with Animals. Ansley has 2 dogs, Marty the Pit mix and Charlie the Chihuahua, and she also has a cat named Arie.Ansley started at Pawtropolis in September of 2017. She has quickly moved her way up to becoming a Staff Trainer and a Shift Leader! She personally loves learning about dog behavior as much as possible. In Ansley’s spare time she enjoys kayaking and spending time with her family. Ansley has a great heart and a lot of love for the dogs in our facility. When a client needed to find a new home for their dog, Ansley drove all of the way to Tennessee to adopt him from the rescue he was returned to! Marty and Ansley are now inseparable!
Ansley is one of our hardest workers and always wears a smile. We hope to have her on the Pawtropolis team for a very long time!
Alex was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey but grew in up in Land O Lakes, Florida. She grew up with her older sister and a number of dogs! Growing up her family always had Pit Bulls which cultivated her love for the breed. Alex has a huge soft spot for all of the Pitties at pawtropolis. Today she has her own 120 lbs gentle giant named Ace Boone. Alex is also a mother of two very cute children. Her motherly instincts are definitely reflected in her playgroup management style.
Before Alex came to work for Pawtropolis she was working with children in a human daycare. When Alex was ready for something new she decided she wanted to work with dogs and thought Pawtropolis was a great place to start! Alex has quickly become a very great employee and a vital part of the Pawtropolis family. She is always looking to learn more about playgroup management and dog behavior.
In her spare time she loves spending time with her family, binging her favorite shows, and listening to country music! We love Alex and can’t wait to see what the future brings for her!
Daniel has been with Pawtropolis since January 2019 and we couldn’t be happier to have him. Daniel is originally from Annapolis Maryland. Growing up he only had a cat since his dad was allergic to dogs. When Daniel was 14 his family got their first dog, a standard poodle named Dusty. Daniel already loved dogs, but Dusty helped push that love into wanting a career down the road. After graduating from high school, Daniel went to school for massage therapy. When he realized that wasn’t the job for him he started working at a dog boarding facility. While at his other job he was sent to attend a dog daycare and boarding expo in Hershey, Pennsylvania where he heard about a daycare in Georgia called Pawtropolis. Daniel’s parents were already living near Pawtropolis, so he packed up his things and came down to work for Pawtropolis.
Since starting, Daniel has fit in wonderfully with his previous knowledge on dog behavior and working in a boarding facility as well as his easy going nature. His favorite part of working here is the constant opportunity to learn canine social behavior and learn more about the dogs in our care. He just loves to watch them interact! Daniel is a huge fan of all the Doberman clients and even has a 2 year old Doberman himself named Valor. Daniel’s future goal is to open his own boarding facility similar in style to Pawtropolis (that is if we can’t keep him around for the long run).
Some fun facts about Daniel: He is a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and has done multiple amateur MMA fights. He has a tattoo of his dog, he once cleared 2-6' fences in one jump in order to help in another playgroup, and he is a Pokemon fanatic.
Matt has been working with us since February of 2019 and we are so happy to have him on our team. He grew up just down the road from Pawtropolis with his 2 siblings. Growing up his family had many different pets from fish to dogs to hamsters. Currently his family has two chihuahuas named Daisy and Georgia.
Matt graduated from the University of North Georgia with an associates degree in psychology. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his degree and wanted a change of pace with jobs and say that Pawtropolis was hiring. He thought working at Pawtropolis would be a new and fun experience since he hadn’t previously worked with animals and it turns out he was right! His favorite part is coming in each day and seeing all of the furry faces, both old and new. Matt is a regular in the Tiny Tot group, and the little ones adore him.
Some fun facts about Matt: He loves to draw, he has participated in nearly every sport (tennis being is favorite) and one summer he took a road trip across the majority of the US.