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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.
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.
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!
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.