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.
Sara Beth has worked with companion pets for more than 15 years and has been involved with Pawtropolis in one capacity or another for the majority of the last 10 years. Along the way, she earned BSAs in Avian Biology and Biological Science and a PhD in Avian Biology. She is delighted to return to a full-time career where she gets to spend every day with well-loved pets.
She has been training her personal and foster dogs for more than 10 years and in recent years started training clients and their dogs. She is a trainer at heart and enjoys working with dogs in playgroups, talking to their owners about everything we are doing to enrich their dogs’ lives, and training other animal caretakers how to successfully manage playgroups.She currently teaches agility classes at Canine Capers Agility Club and has plans to teach some trick dog workshops at Pawtropolis. She is a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and is a Certified Trick Dog Instructor through Do More with Your Dog. She is always expanding her understanding of animal behavior and training by reading books and articles, listening to podcasts, and attending seminars.
Sara Beth lives in Atlanta with her husband Andrew and 3 rescue dogs Bailey, Icey (adopted from Helping Paws Rescue in 2008!), and Nimbus. She enjoys training all of them for a variety of activities and has earned agility, coursing, and trick dog titles on all 3 dogs and CGC, advanced CGC, and therapy dog certifications with Icey. Bailey and Icey have mostly retired from canine sports while Nimbus trains for agility, disc, tricks, and dock diving (and anything else that he can convince Sara Beth to try!). Every day is an exciting new adventure with Nimbus!
Sara Beth's philosophy is that animal ownership should be a fun and enriching experience for humans and animals alike. She considers it a privilege to work at Pawtropolis and help owners provide the best care possible for their pets.
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.
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. She hopes to eventually become a certified dog trainer that specializes in rehabilitating fearful and reactive dogs.
Shane has been working at Pawtropolis since 2007. He received his Dog Obedience Trainer accreditation from Animal Behavior College in 2009. His passion is dog behavior and enjoys working especially with the dogs in playgroups that have challenging temperaments. Shane also likes working with new staff, teaching them how to appropriately manage playgroups, keeping everyone safe and happy. He teaches the Companion Skills training class and offers private lessons as well. A man of many talents, Shane also helps owner John to keep the facilities in tip-top shape.Being with Pawtropolis for other 10 years, Shane takes ownership in all that goes on at both facilities. The owners count on him to ensure the animals are being cared for to the highest standards and that the clients are receiving amazing customer service. Shane embodies what the Pawtropolis level of customer service is all about. Pawtropolis is definitely made better having Shane as part of the management team.
He has two daughters, Arianna and Alexa and enjoys spending time with them as well. He is pictured here with his dog, Phoenix. He also owns a Golden Retriever named Leo. His favorite things include: training dogs (of course), relaxing in a hammock, and napping in a hammock :-)
After Amber graduated from college we were afraid we had lost her to a new career. Fortunately she decided that Pawtropolis is where she wanted to be. Amber became our Westside Front Office Administrator in the fall of 2015. She helps to ensure we are always providing the highest level of customer service possible and makes sure the front office staff has everything they need to effectively work. She fit into that position so well, we decided to promote her to our Office Manager in the fall of 2016!
In May of 2016, Amber married her long-time Pawtropolis co-worker, Daniel. In October of the same year, they welcomed their first child, a beautiful baby girl by the name of Amelia Kenzlee. We couldn’t be happier to add to our Pawtropolis family!She is pictured here with one ofher dogs Jasper. He is a big goofy lovable lab. She also has a feisty westie named Dixie and her new husband came with a handsome pitt mix named Tonka! Amber has really enjoyed learning as much as she can about dogs and dog behavior. She is definitely an asset to the Pawtropolis staff and we hope to have her as part of the team for years to come.
Stephen grew up in Jacksonville, Florida with his older brother and twin sister. Growing up, they always had pets, including ducks, a Cocker Spaniel, a Lab mix, two Yorkies, and a Bullmastiff named Celle. Stephen and Celle grew up together, nurturing his passion for large breed dogs. When he was older, he graduated from Stetson University in Deland, FL in 2010. He studied Classical Guitar and received a Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Technology. Stephen has always had two loves in his life: music and dogs. When he had moved to Athens and adopted a puppy, and then another dog had found its way into his home, Stephen knew he wanted to find a job where he could spoil them! He wanted to be able to spend as much time with his two pups as possible, and Pawtropolis was the perfect opportunity!
Stephen’s favorite thing about working at Pawtropolis is that he gets to hang out with dogs all day, especially his own! He says he has learned so much in the year he has been here with us, from breed specific behaviors and reading body language to training techniques that he has always been interested in. Today, Stephen and his girlfriend have two pups, a Border Collie mix named Orwell and a Pit/Beagle mix named Margot, and a grey Tabby cat named Huxley. They are also in the process of adopting their first foster dog, Nellie, a sweet, three-legged Akita mix!
Stephen is also consistently pursuing his other love: music! Outside of working at Pawtropolis, he enjoys writing and recording his own original songs. He is also in a band called Roadkill Ghost Choir, and has visited 44 states touring with them! They even played on the Late Show with David Letterman! In his spare time, he enjoys board games, taking trips to Disney World with his girlfriend, and anything Star Wars related. In the future, Stephen hopes to write music for television and film while also working and volunteering with dogs as much as possible. Stephen has been a great asset to our team, and we hope to have him around for quite a while!
Erin is one of our Eastside rockstars. She started out as a member of our Pawtropolis Auxiliary Workers (PAW Crew) in January of 2016 and has now trained as an animal caretaker, shift leader, and staff trainer. She is also one of a few superstar employees who have been selected to train our shift leaders. Erin is a natural leader and does exceptional work with our daycare attendees. Prior to joining the Pawtropolis team, she received a bachelor's degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies from UGA and worked as a children's daycare teacher and as a nanny. Erin is very attentive and treats each one of our furry friends as her own. We're glad to have such a caring, fun individual helping us to provide such exceptional care to all of our daycare and boarding guests.Growing up, Erin's love for dogs began when she met her best friend at the age of 3: Rusty the Golden Retriever! You can always find Erin loving on the many goldens we have at Pawtropolis as well as the Rottweilers and giant breeds.
A few fun facts about Erin: she's run the AthHalf 4 times (claims she's gotten slower each time, although we doubt it!), puts vinegar on everything she eats, and claims that George is her favorite Beatle (George the Bracco Italiano also happens to be one of her favorite dogs at Pawtropolis, but maybe that's just a coincidence).
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.”
Lili grew up with a bunch of animals (including cats, dogs, a bunny, a horse, and chickens) and has her focus on becoming a Veterinarian after finishing college. To gain more knowledge and experience working with well-loved pets, Lili decided to join the Pawtropolis pack in August of 2016 right after she graduated from High School! Even though Pawtropolis is Lili’s very first job, she has quickly worked her way up from PAW crew, to Animal Caretaker, and now is trained as one of our awesome Shift Leaders.
Throughout her time working with us, Lili has found that she has a lot of favorite things about Pawtropolis. On top of being able to bring her handsome mini Austrailian Shepherd, Scooter, to play with his Tiny Tot pals, and her sweet Rottweiler, Dyna, to play with her Rowdy Rover friends, Lili said “I really like getting to learn about different breed characteristics and getting to know each dog’s personality, since they are all so different. I also like working with our especially nervous dogs or those with handler issues. It’s a great feeling to earn the trust of shy dogs.”
If Lili isn’t hanging out in Athens or Atlanta with Scooter and Dyna, you can always find her watching Marvel movies with her boyfriend, practicing piano and guitar, or working out at the gym!
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!
Alison has been Pawtropolis's head Pet Stylist since January '08. She is the full-time groomer at the Westside location. Previously she attended the International Academy of Pet Design in Alpharetta, GA. Then she worked for a year in the Sandy Springs area. The three years before beginning at Pawtropolis Alison lived and groomed in Asheville, NC. She has experience with all breeds and does a wonderful job. She lives here in the Watkinsville area with her husband, 2 wonderful sons and her furry baby Zeus.
She is by far the best groomer we've had in terms of her grooming skills as well as her customer service and her talent at working with even hard to handle or stressed dogs. She is high demand during the hair cutting season, booking out several weeks in advance.
Lydia has been working as a caretaker at Pawtropolis since August of 2015. This was the perfect place for her based on her previous dog behavior experience (plus she was pretty excited to be able to bring her own pups to work)! She grew up with mostly purebred dogs, specifically Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs. Lydia’s first own dog Annie, a chihuahua, knows every trick in the book: sit, down, spin, rollover, crawl, high five, fist bump, dig, sit pretty, stand, and wave! Not satisfied with simply trick training, Lydia entered into the Dog Show world, showing both of her family’s Swissies to Champion and Grand Champion titles over the years! Through the dog show world, she learned about all the different dog sports and participated in many: drafting, pack hiking, weight pulls (her pup Lola could pull over 3200lbs!) and lure coursing. Lydia also worked with a dog rescue, Mostly Mutts, for three years helping dogs with behavioral issues and teaching new volunteers how to train basic commands for the dogs.
When she finally made her way to Athens, Pawtropolis seemed the obvious choice for a job! Lydia quickly worked her way from Animal Caretaker to Shift Leader with all of her previous experience. She is one of our best staff trainers and we rely on her to bring our new staff up to the Pawtropolis standard! When asked what she loves about working at Pawtropolis, she answered: “I love working with young dogs, teenage pups, and puppies. It is always an interesting challenge helping them develop their personalities and play styles in an appropriate way. I also love working with dogs that have a hard time fitting into the daycare setting for the same reasons.”
Lydia owns three dogs of her own. She still has Annie, her beautiful eleven year old Chihuahua who she has deemed her “problem child” and who is the reason Lydia enjoys behavioral training. She has also since adopted a now three year old Collie/Golden Retriever/Stick Retriever mix named Elsa and a military rescue from overseas named Asha (a desert dog). Lydia and Asha have received their Canine Good Citizen, Canine Community title, Novice Trick Dog title, and are preparing for Asha to be a future therapy dog! Seeing as her whole life has revolved around dogs, Lydia’s dream is to become a well-respected dog trainer and she is very interested in service and guide dog training. She would also like to get into research on domestication of dogs and primitive breeds, like Canaan dogs. We are incredibly lucky to have Lydia on our staff and we hope to keep her forever!
Daniel rejoined the Pawtropolis Pack in August 2014. However, Dan has been a Pack Member on and off since Fall 2005, when he was just 15. Pawtropolis will always hold a special place in his heart as he will always be special to us. He is currently a student at the University of Georgia studying Astrophysics and set to graduate in 2020.
His favorite parts of working at Pawtropolis include: gaining the trust of dogs who are generally fearful of men, supervising the dogs and learning/utilizing existing dog knowledge through it, and helping dogs become well rounded through physical and mental stimulation. When he isn’t in playgroup with the German Shorthair Pointers or the Labs he spends his time doing playing with his daughter Amelia, home improvements, and woodworking. He is pictured here with his dog Tonka.
Jamie joined the Pawtropolis Pack in July 2014 after she relocated to Athens from Pullman, Washington. She grew up in the outskirts of Seattle and then moved to eastern Washington to attend college. She graduated from the Washington State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Zoology and a minor in Film Studies.
Jamie came on board with a wonderful attitude and eagerness to learn. Her organizational skills and professionalism made her an obvious choice for both our Shift Leader and City Council positions. Her favorite part of working at Pawtropolis is working with the pitty bulls. She excels at behavior management and working with fearful dogs. Her love for the pitties isn’t just daycare based, she owns Cobalt and Xenon, both pit mixes. She also has a kitty with a case of torti-tude, named Jinger.
We couldn’t be happier to have such a dedicated and caring person on our team. Nicollette grew up in Indiana where she spent a lot of time with her Grandfather who helped to foster her love for animals (especially horses) and got her lots of experience caring for and loving them. She is currently wrapping up her career at the University of Georgia where she studies Animal Science and Biology, so she has lots of helpful and important animal knowledge that she will one day turn into a career. Nicollette says that her favorite part of working at Pawtropolis is getting to work with the dogs on a very personal level. “I truly enjoy working with the dogs we have and seeing them make progress.” Nicollette said, “It also makes my heart so happy to see parents get excited about the progress their dogs are making or just the goofy things they do while they're here.”
In 2015, Nicollette adopted her dog Luna from Athens Clarke County Animal Control. She was a tiny little hound mix puppy who has now grown into a smart, stubborn, sassy girl that Nicollette wouldn’t trade for the world. Nicollette is also a full time volunteer Group Leader with the Guide Dog Foundation, through which she is currently puppy raising an adorable black lab named Cal. Cal came to her as a young puppy and will be with her until he is about 16 months old when he goes into formal training to be a guide dog. She knows that she will miss him, but she is proud to have given him the foundation he needs to be successful! Nicollette is also an approved foster home for our rescue (Helping Paws Rescue) and has a special place in her heart for the goofy teenagers, like her adopted foster Clyde the lab mix and current foster Red the coonhound. She does an excellent job teaching them the manners they need to be successful with their new families.
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.
Bio coming soon.
Bio coming soon.
Meet Mariah. Mariah has been a dog groomer for 5 years now and can't imagine doing anything else. Grooming is so important to every pets' health/maintenance routine, which is why she loves being the person to make your pets look and feel their best. Each pet is so unique in terms of what it needs to feel comfortable and, she loves working with them teaching, and forming special bonds that ensure your fur babies will enjoy being groomed. From day one we could tell Mariah was going to fit right in with us at Pawtropolis. She has such a sweet spirit. She is equally kind iwth the staff and clients as she is with the dogs. Mariah is great communicating with clients, Her goal is to form relationships with clients so they can work together to keep their pets beautifully groomed and cleaned.
Mariah is pictured here with one of her clients Izzy.