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Meet the Staff



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.


 



MEET THE OWNERS!
Amanda, John, Evelyn, Grayson & Lydia Crook

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.




SARA BETH PINSON, PhD, CPDT-KA
May 2006
Executive Manager
Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed from CCPDT
Playgroup Management Specialist
Obedience Instructor

Meet Sara Beth!

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.



Amber

AMBER BLAND
September 2009
Executive Office Manager

Meet Amber!

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

SHANE ALLEN
October 2007
Quality Assurance Manager
Certified Dog Trainer from Animal Behavior College
AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator
Playgroup Management Specialist
Training Class Instructor

Meet Shane!

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

BONNIE BERRY, CPACP
August 2014
Eastside Kennel Manager
Certified Professional Animal Care Provider from PACCC
Low Stress Handling® Certified Silver
Playgroup Management Specialist
Certified in Pet First Aid

Meet Bonnie!

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!




ASHLEY SEWELL
August 2012
Manager-in-Training
Certified in Pet First Aid

Meet Ashley!

Ashley originally started with Pawtropolis in August of 2012 and has been here for most of the last 6+ years. We thought we’d lost her forever when she moved out of state last summer, but fortunately that wasn’t the case. In January of 2019, Ashley rejoined our team as a “Manager in Training” and is learning all about the ins-and-outs of Pawtropolis. In addition to her years of experience in animal care and playgroup management with Pawtropolis, she has worked in the shelter system as a caretaker, in small animal and emergency practices as a vet assistant with dogs, cats, and exotics, and as a caretaker at another daycare. She’s volunteered countless hours with local rescues and serves as a foster home for Helping Paws Rescue and Circle of Friends. She’s definitely qualified!

We are delighted that Ashley has embraced the opportunity to expand her career with Pawtropolis. In her own words, “I am excited to be able to grow and have this as more a career that I love instead of just a job I love. I've always loved working with the dogs and figuring out what works best with the "difficult" dogs. I love developing personal relationships with dogs and clients. I really look forward to learning more about what goes on in the managerial side of Pawtropolis and being able to help with more decision making. I can't wait to see what the future holds for myself as well as Pawtropolis.” In her new position, Ashley will be spending more time around the front desk than working in the back with your dogs, but don’t worry! Your dogs will still get to spend some time with Ashley in playgroups at both locations as well as Concierge and the Puppy Program at the Eastside.

When Ashley isn’t at Pawtropolis, you can find her spending time with her personal animals - Lilli (cattledog mix), Sawyer (lab mix), Deino (husky), Mr. Hat (cat), and Betsy (cat). She hopes to one day add a leonberger, pomeranian, or a few more huskies to her pack :)





STEPHEN GARZA
May 2016
Assistant Eastside Manager
Certified in Pet First Aid

Meet Stephen!

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!





JOSHUA TUTTLE
October 2016
Assistant Office Manager

Meet Joshua!

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.




BILLY WATERS
May 2016
Westside Kennel Manager

Meet Billy!

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.

Some fun facts about Billy are: he is an NFL trivia master, his favorite TV show is “The Office”, and he has been afraid of puppets since he was a child.



HANNAH JACKSON
April 2016
Eastside Assistant Kennel Manager
Certified in Pet First Aid

Meet Hannah!

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 MORALES
September 2016
Westside Assistant Manager

Meet Alondra!

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!  





LILI PETRON
August 2016
Eastside Support Supervisor
Certified in Pet First Aid

Meet Lili!

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!




Tara

TARA HELWIG
October 2010
Westside Shiftleader, Training, Customer Service

Playgroup Management Specialist
Certified in Pet First Aid

Meet Tara!

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 WILBANKS
January 2008
Westside Pet Stylist Extraordinaire
Certified in Pet First Aid
AKC Safety-Certified Groomer
Member National Dog Groomers Association

Meet Alison!

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!



LYDIA ELLINGTON
August 2015
Westside Animal Caretaker, Shift Leader, & Customer Service

Meet Lydia!

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!



Jamie

JAMIE RITTER
July 2014
Westside Animal Caretaker & Shift Leader
Certified in Pet First Aid

Meet Jamie!

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.




ELIZABETH KEENAN
August 2016
Westside Animal Caretaker, Staff Trainer, Shift Leader

Meet Elizabeth!

If there is someone who loves hanging out with the dogs and working at Pawtropolis than Elizabeth, we haven’t found them yet.  Elizabeth has been with us for almost three years now and we couldn’t be happier to have her on the team. 

Originally from Buford, GA she lived with her family on Lake Lanier.  Growing up, they had a yellow lab named Honey for 17 years.  Honey was a sweet natured girl who loved swimming in the lake and Honey was the one who facilitated Elizabeth’s love for dogs.  Honey, has since passed, but Elizabeth convinced her family to adopt another dog named Gus who they couldn’t be happier with.  When Elizabeth moved to Athens in 2016 to attend school, she also wanted to look for work.  She knew she wanted to work with dogs and when her sister pointed her towards Pawtropolis she fell in love instantly.

Elizabeth’s favorite part of working at Pawtropolis is hard to pinpoint, but she has narrowed it down to two aspects.  She loves getting to meet all different kinds of dogs especially breeds she has never heard of before and learning about their personalities.  The other aspect is being able to foster through Helping Paws Rescue.  She has already fostered a couple of dogs in her time here.  She loves helping dogs with behaviors that need some work and helping them become ready for their forever home.  Copeland, one of our current fosters, is the driving force behind Elizabeth’s desire to study animal behavior and finding ways to help anxious and fearful dogs feel comfortable.  In addition to loving working at Pawtropolis, Elizabeth also has two dogs of her own. A Black and Tan hound mix named Dio and a dachshund/lab mix named Phoebe. 

Fun facts: Elizabeth loves to take her pups on adventures, she hopes to be an animal behaviorist someday and she loves the play Hamilton and knows all of the words to every song.



TRISTA HUNTER
August 2017
West Animal Caretaker & Staff Trainer

Meet Trista!

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 HICKS
September 2017
Eastside Animal Caretaker, Shift Leader, & Staff Trainer

Meet Ansley!

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 ZIMMERMAN
March 2018
Westside Animal Caretaker

Meet Alex!

As charismatic an employee you will see at the westside, Alex Zimmerman has been a member of our team since the Spring of 2018. She is always one to liven up conversation and loves talking with all of our wonderful clients
Alex is originally from Decatur, GA, but was raised in Oberlin, Ohio. She is one of three girls and she also has 3 brothers. Alex moved from Ohio to Georgia about three years ago to start a journey of her own, hoping to end up in Atlanta. She was sad to leave her beautiful yellow lab, Sarabi, and her black and white pitty, Lady Lumply Leany, but was excited for new opportunities. She has been enrolled in a couple of different schools, but is currently studying to be a vet tech. She also finished her bartending certification.

When she moved to Georgia she knew she wanted to do something with animals. She was originally commuting to Atlanta to work at a daycare there, but thought that she needed to be somewhere closer. A friend recommended Pawtropolis to her and when she toured, she was impressed and felt that this was the place she should be. Alex’s favorite part of working at Pawtropolis is getting to see all of the happy senior dogs, and the small cuddly tiny tots. She loves getting the older dogs excited and getting to see their youth again. She says they have the best personalities and are the most loving, but she really loves all of the dogs. Alex has a dog of her own. A beautiful fawn and white Staffordshire terrier girl named Ayame. Ayame loves her morning and evening walks. She also has a mischievous side to her and loves to snack on pens and remotes when her mom isn’t watching. We are so happy to have Alex as a part of our team!

Fun Facts: Alex can sing a tune to anything, she loves going to the movies and loves trips to Atlanta to visit friends and family.



ALEX BENTON
April 2018
Eastside Animal Caretaker

Meet Alex!

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!



ABBY HANSFORD
March 2018
Eastside Animal Caretaker

Meet Abby!

Abby grew up in Oglethorpe, Georgia with two older brothers and two dogs. She graduated from Penn Foster High School and aspires to work in the animal care industry for her career!

Abby has two dogs, Paris the lab mix and Popper the dachshund mix. She also has a cat named Simba who she bottle fed when she rescued him at 2 weeks old! Abby loves working with animals and recently became pet first aid certified. Her favorite part about working for Pawtropolis is getting to know all of the dog’s individual personalities. This is her first position she has held where she gets to care for animals. In the future she would like to either work as a groomer or a vet. In Abby’s spare time she enjoys bowling, finding new trails to hike with her pups, and drawing!

Abby is great with all of the animals in our facility and has proved herself to be a vital part of the Pawtropolis team. We love having her and hope she will be with us for a while!



MICHAEL RICHEY
May 2018
Eastside Animal Caretaker & Shift Leader

Meet Michael!

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!   



CHANDLER HICKS
May 2018
Eastside Animal Caretaker

Meet Chandler!

Chandler grew up in Savannah, Georgia with six dogs! Of course this led to a lifetime love of man’s best friend. Chandler is also a very passionate musician. She attended the University of Georgia as a music major and was also a performer in the Redcoat Marching Band!  After completing her Bachelor’s degree Chandler pursued a job as an animal caretaker at Pawtropolis. The idea of working with dogs in a non-medical environment seemed like an ideal way to earn a living after completing her degree. Her favorite part of working for Pawtropolis is being able to cuddle and love on dogs every day as well as receiving unlimited therapeutic puppy kisses!

Outside of work Chandler enjoys making music, playing video games, and taking trips with her best friends. Her and her partner Taylor currently have two dogs together; A five year old husky named Niko and a two year old boxer mix named Ellie. In the future Chandler hopes to be successful and to be able to travel the world.

Chandler is one of the most passionate and caring employees at Pawtropolis and it really shows in her playgroup management style. We love having her on the Pawtropolis team!



MARIAH THOMPSON
June 2018
Eastside Pet Stylist

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.





KHIARA REED
July 2018
Eastside Pack Member

Meet Khiara!

Khiara was born in Aurora, Colorado but grew up in Augusta, Georgia with her brother KheYonte and lots of dogs and cats to keep her company. Growing up with so many animals cultivated a love for all living creatures. Her passion for animals is what brought her to Pawtropolis! Khiara graduated from UGA in May of 2018 with a double major in Wildlife Sciences and Natural Resources Recreation & Tourism. She is currently pursuing grad school while also working as our primary caretaker in our concierge group and our puppy program! Her favorite part about working for Pawtropolis is getting to watch all of the puppies develop their individual personalities.

In her spare time, Khiara loves to take hikes with her dogs and read. Right now Khiara’s family has around 21 dogs in their home. They rescue dogs and adopt them out to loving homes along with housing a few personal pets, Seth the Yorkie, Kuro the Yorkiepoo, Dr. Spencer Reed the Yorkie, and Eevee the Beagle/Husky mix. Khiara would love to open a rescue in the future while also working in wildlife rehabilitation, conservation, and outreach.

We love having Khiara on the Pawtropolis team!   

 




MARK THOMAS
August 2018
Westside Animal Caretaker

Meet Mark!

One of the nicest people you will meet at the Westside, Mark Thomas has been working with us for the last six months and has worked his way into the hearts of many of our guests.  Mark grew up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and had a cat named Miss Kitty and his first dog name Amanda (she was named after “The Amanda Show”). Amanda’s gentle spirit is what pushed Mark into the direction of working with dogs.

After graduating from West Forsyth High School (not the one in Georgia) he started taking classes at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.  He enjoyed his time but after feeling undecided on his future he decided to move back home to work and be with his friends, 2 and 4 legged alike. Not much later he got his first Kennel job. He loved his one-on-one time with the more fearful/anxious dogs and that love for them has continued now during his time at Pawtropolis.  When he was given an opportunity to move away from North Carolina he searched “Dog Daycares Athens” and found Pawtropolis.  He thought this would be a good fit for him and his dog, Miss Finn.  He was instantly drawn in and after his visits he had his mind set that this was the place he wanted to be.  We are so happy to have someone with as much passion for the dogs as Mark does.  We hope he sticks around for years to come!

Some fun facts about Mark are: He wishes he could be a sports analyst; he loves exploring trails with his dog Miss Finn; and the loves to engage in competitive activities (Basketball, Rocket League).



JASMINE ELLINGTON
August 2018
Eastside Animal Caretaker

Meet Jasmine!

Jasmine was born in Columbus, Georgia but grew up in Helen, Georgia with her older brother. From a very young age Jasmine knew that she wanted to work and care for animals. She originally started going to school for Psychology but soon realized it wasn’t exactly what she wanted to do. Pretty soon she found Pawtropolis and started on a path toward the animal care career she has dreamed of since childhood. Now Jasmine wants to try and focus on Animal Behavior and psychology.

Outside of Pawtropolis, Jasmine works as a kennel tech at Good Hands Animal Hospital and she also volunteers every Friday with a local Parrot Rescue. At home she has a 1 year old Rottweiler/Shepherd mix named Midas, a 4 year old orange tabby named Pumpkin, and a 6 year old gray Chinchilla named Gizmo. When she isn’t working, volunteering, or hanging out with her trio of fur babies she loves to play guitar, hike and explore new places, and go to rock concerts.

Jasmine is one of our hardest workers and one of the most passionate animal care professionals we have. Her lover for animals really shows. We love having Jasmine with us a Pawtropolis and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for her!


TAYLOR RANSOM
August 2018
Eastside Shift Leader & Staff Trainer

Meet Taylor!

Taylor grew up right here in Athens, Georgia with two older siblings, two cats, and two dogs. He comes from a family of musicians and artists. Music will always be Taylor’s passion, having graduated from UGA in 2014 with a Bachelors degree in music composition and a certification in Music Business. Outside of Pawtropolis Taylor writes, teaches, and performs music with various schools and groups and hopes to do so freelance full time.

Taylor came to Pawtropolis after his long time girlfriend Chandler became an employee. She told him about how wonderful it was to work with animals and he decided that that sounded great. Taylor and Chandler live together with their 5 year old husky Niko and their 2 year old boxer mix Ellie. His favorite parts of working for Pawtropolis are learning all about dog behavior and psychology as well as cuddling with lots of pups!

Taylor has quickly worked his way up and proved himself to be a vital member of the Pawtropolis team. He is currently a staff trainer and a shift leader. We hope for all the best for Taylor and can’t wait to see what the future has in store for him!



ANGELIE ANGIN
October 2018
Eastside PAW Crew

Meet Angelie!

Angelie was born in Auburn, California and grew up in Idaho where her and her family lived on a ranch with many animals including dogs, cats, and horses. Her and her family now live here in Georgia with their six dogs, Oreo the cattle dog mix, Georgia the black lab, Grizzly the chocolate lab, Xena the pitbull, Stormy the pit/hound mix, and Chyna the pitbull. They also have five cats, Chevy, Runt, Freya, Coco, and Chewy, two horses, Bill and Dooley, and two ferrets, Kiwi and Princess. While Angelie was in high school she decided she’d like to have a job and animals which led her to us!

Angelie primarily works behind the scenes as one of our PAW Crew but you’ll sometimes find her up front assisting at the front desk! Angelie recently graduated from high school and will be attending UNG in the fall to start working on a degree in Physical Therapy. In the meantime Angelie is with us at Pawtropolis trying to make each dogs “Vacation” as fun and comfortable as possible. When Angelie isn’t working she loves to spend time with her family and pets doing things outdoors like hiking and seeing new places. 

Angelie is a very kind animal lover and a great employee at Pawtropolis. We can’t wait to see the great things she will accomplish!