Meet DogBoy’s Team of Dog Lovers!

Michael Singer, Kennel Manager

Michael met DogBoy & DogGirl through their church youth group. Born and raised in Pflugerville, Michael has always had dogs. His favorite was an abandoned black lab named Emma, who after being taken in by the Singers, gave birth to ten puppies! His current dog is a Brittany Spaniel named Mikey. Michael started working at DogBoy’s in early 2014, and is currently serving as our Kennel Manager.  He has an amazing knack for knowing almost everything about the dogs at DogBoy’s and their humans.

Renee Staszak, Office Manager

Renee worked for a successful team of orthopedic surgeons for 22 years before making the decision to become a stay-at -home dog-mom 2 years ago. Renee has a passion for all animals and has been pet-parent to a pot belly pig, 3 Quarter Horses and currently lives with 2 cats, Deena and Sam, 3 dogs, Sydnie, Chloe and Allie, and a “teddy bear” hamster, Harriette. Renee spends her time gardening, sunning, enjoying her animals and traveling regularly with her family. Prior to DogBoy’s, she channeled her love of animals into volunteering with an animal shelter and becoming a vet technician; Renee has boundless energy! Renee’s kindheartedness and compassion have made her a great addition to the team.

Ferrell Jackson, Office Coordinator

Ferrell joined the DogBoy’s team in the summer of 2012, after returning to the area from a 7 year stint in Colorado. She was born and raised in the Austin area and began hearing about DogBoy’s as far back as high school, when her best friends began to work here. Living in the very dog-friendly state of Colorado really developed Ferrell’s love of our canine friends and helped to steer her toward adopting her own pup, Elsie, upon her return to Austin. You’ll find her at the front desk of DogBoy’s where she loves to answer questions and to help you and your dog get checked in and out for doggy daycare or boarding! When she’s not answering phones or chatting with customers in the office, you’ll find her crafting products for her all-natural, Etsy-based soap and bath products business and obsessing over her plants at home.

Ericka Burich, Receptionist

Ericka was born and raised in Austin, leaving for a period of 5 years during her middle and high school years to live in Hawaii. She is an avid animal lover who dreamt of photographing in the wild for National Geographic when she was growing up. She loves spending time outdoors either gardening, hiking or swimming with her husband and dogs. She also has a love for vintage decor and interior design and loves painting and sprucing up old furniture. She has 2 pups, a very vocal, quirky 12 year old Bloodhound named Jocko and a 2 year old Staffordshire named Moose who is like a real-life teddy bear, he loves to snuggle and lick faces! You’ll find Ericka working at our front desk helping to check your pup in on their next visit!

Heidi Harris, Receptionist and At Home Services

Heidi previously worked as a Reception and Assessment Coordinator for a hospice and rehab facility. In looking for something closer to home, Heidi discovered DogBoy’s. The atmosphere and idea of working with dogs drew her to apply, and she’s so glad to now be a part of the Ranch! Heidi loves working with all of our friendly clients and has bonded quickly with everyone’s favorite office cat, Cali. She is an avid reader of fiction, enjoys spending time in her garden and loves to bake. Heidi has a full house at home with 2 pups, a 10 year old lab named Luke and an 11 year old Lab named Ginger, and 2 cats, a 2 year old named Delilah and her newest addition, a 5 month old named Lily. We’re so glad to have Heidi’s customer service experience and friendliness on our team!

Jaeson Jones, Receptionist and At Home Services

Jaeson is a California native who relocated to the Austin area to pursue a career in the entertainment/film industry. He has worked for a variety of networks including A&E, ABC and the Food Network on commercials, web series, TV shows and movies doing camera work, production, editing and lighting. Jaeson and his girlfriend, DogBoy’s dog trainer Whitney, share a passion for film and often spend their spare time creating videos together. When not making videos, Jaeson enjoys playing video games and hanging with his dogs. He and his girlfriend have 2 pups, Kimchi, a two-and-a-half year old Border Collie and Soju, a one-and-a-half year old Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Jaeson is glad to have found a place where he can spend so much time with dogs, it’s great to be around so many relatable beings!

Madison Maddox, Receptionist

Madison joined the DogBoy’s team in the summer of 2016 after deciding there just weren’t enough dogs in her life! Prior to becoming a receptionist here, Madison was busy earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature at University of Texas at Austin. Not long after graduating, Madison found herself itching for even more brain food and eventually enrolled in a graduate program where she began earning a Master of Arts in Counseling psychology at St. Edward’s University. She hopes to someday combine her two passions of dogs and psychology to help humans heal with power of puppy love. Madison enjoys spending her free time watching movies, reading books, and finding different and fun creative outlets. She also always makes time to spend with her two dogs, Ingrid, a 6 year old miniature dachshund, and Karl, a 3 year old Anatolian Shepherd mix.

Noemi Wilkinson, Accountant

Noemi joins us with a background in public accounting, specializing in tax for individuals, partnerships and corporations. She really wanted a job that excited her and that she would love to go to each day; searching for such a job lead her to DogBoy’s. She enjoys the many perks of working for the Ranch, including all of the dog time and getting to enjoy our favorite office Calico, Cali. Noemi has an 8 year old Calico cat of her own, named Lil Mama, as well as a 3 year old black Lab, named Lilo. Both have been with her since they were babies.  She loves spending time with her pets and taking leisurely walks by the creek with Lilo, Lil Mama likes to join, too! Noemi has been a fantastic addition to the team helping us to succeed in our version of The Great Game of Business and hitting financial goals.  We’re so happy her skills and expertise have found us!

Jen Larson, Training Manager

Jen moved to Austin in 2014. A graduate of the Karen Pryor Academy and a student of Dr. Patricia McConnell, Jen brings a level of positive training knowledge and passion that is unrivaled here on the Ranch. Read her full bio.

Cali McAffrey, Trainer

Cali is a Texas native who has split her time between here and the Cayman Islands all her life. Growing up, Cali’s 4-legged best friend was a Pomeranian who lived to be 16 years old named Shortstuff. It was the age of 18 when Cali was introduced to positive dog training and she’s been obsessed ever since; it’s ultimately what drew her to DogBoy’s. Cali joins us with lots of animal knowledge as she comes from a background in raising LaMancha dairy goats for show and production. When not spending time with her herd of goats, you’ll find Cali with the rest of her menagerie which includes, Kitty, a 10 year old Aussie, Riot, an approximately 11 year old Aussie/Border Collie, Aero, an 8 year old Chinese Crested, Chaos, a 1 year old Aussie/Border Collie/Lab mix, Willow, a middle aged cat who Cali found 2 years ago and Archimedes, a rescued Quaker Parrot. In addition to spending lots of hiking, swimming and quality time with her animals, Cali makes goat milk soap. Cali looks forward to working with our training pups and their families!

Clara Scott, Trainer/Ambassador of Behavior

Clara was a dog trainer with PetCo prior to joining our team in 2017. While searching for her next move within the pet industry, she found DogBoy’s and was so excited by the employment opportunity! She has a passion for learning about dogs and finds great joy in playing with and caring for the pups each day.  Clara’s furry family includes a Chihuahua mix named Oreo and 2 Guinea Pigs named Augustus and Achilles. Keep an eye out for her infectious smile!

Sarah Alvarado, Trainer

Sarah discovered a passion for training and behavior when she took her first dog home from a local shelter while attending Texas A&M University.  Throughout college she worked in a veterinary office.  She graduated with a degree in Animal Science in 2007 and began teaching group puppy and obedience classes in 2010.  In 2014 she began working with service dogs.  For three years she worked with female inmates in the Texas prison system teaching service dog training and handling.  Sarah is committed to continuing education and regularly attends seminars and conferences to improve her knowledge and skill.  In September of 2017 she became a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed.  She shares her home with her husband, a 13 year old Blue Heeler, a 5 year old Catahoula, and two 9 year old cats.

Whitney Spence, Trainer and At Home Services

Whitney joins our team with experience as the head trainer for a local branch of PetCo. After a stint as a production assistant for several commercials and a Lifetime Network movie, Whitney felt inspired to return to her training roots. A good friend and former co-worker, who was already working for the Ranch, encouraged Whitney to come aboard and share her skills! Whitney most loves helping pet parents and their fur-babies build a stronger relationship as well as spending time with the dogs and promoting a mentally and physically healthy environment for them to learn and play in. When not at work, you’ll find Whitney playing video games, film making, script writing, working on film sets and teaching her brood of pups tricks. She has a full house of rescue dogs to practice with, including a 7 year old Dachshund named Ginger,  a 1 year old Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Soju, a 6 year old Jack Russell/black Lab mix named Hollywood, her 2 year old Border Collie mix, Kimchi, and Bailey, a 7 year old black Lab. An 8 year old cat named Izzy also calls Whitney’s home her own.

Amanda Flowers, Pet Care Technician

Amanda recently departed a full time nanny job and is now balancing home management and her roles with us as a pet sitter and weekend kennel staff member. She has a 3 year old Akita mix who she adopted in the summer of 2017 and he is the love of her life! Bringing him to work with her is the highlight of her job on the Ranch. You’ll find Amanda hiking, shooting pool or painting when she finds a spare moment; we’re so glad to have her hard working attitude on the team!

Amanda Palvado, Pet Care Technician and At Home Services

Animals have always been a part of Amanda’s life, she grew up with dogs and raised lambs, pigs and goats throughout her high school years. Prior to her time with DogBoy’s, Amanda worked for a shelter, helping to care for dogs of all sizes and breeds. She also worked for a pet sitting service caring for animals in their own home. Looking to make a shift within the pet care industry, Amanda came across DogBoy’s and felt like she’d found the perfect fit. DogBoy’s allows her to spend time with a wide variety of pups and she loves caring for them all, “dog” is her favorite breed! Amanda has a 3-year-old Lab/Retriever mix of her own, named Hazel, who she’s had since puppyhood. When not hanging with pups, you’ll find Amanda practicing yoga or writing. Amanda’s experience has made her a great addition to the Pet Care team!

Athena Danna, Pet Care Technician

Athena joins us as of November 2018 from the animal world working for both Petco and Tomlinson’s in the last few years. After hearing lots of great things about DogBoy’s and the positive training that it promotes, Athena decided to shift to a more hands on role with dogs in the capacity of a Pet Care Technician at the Ranch. She really likes hiking with the pups out here on the Ranch and making sure each dog has a great stay. Athena has a degree in welding and spends her free time enjoying her craft. She also keeps busy with her 3 pups and 2 cats, Maximus, a 7 year old blue Doberman, Isabella Skye, her 2 year old blue Heeler, Emma Bean Marie, a 2 year old mixed breed pup, and Riley and Black Jack, the kitties. We welcome Athena to the team!

Ben Meyer, Pet Care Technician and At Home Services

Ben grew up just south of Austin in Buda with 3 rescue pups, Sugar, Spice and Frito Chiquito Burrito III and later had a family pup named Boo, a sweet, white brindle Boxer. Ben held a myriad of jobs prior to joining the team in November of 2018. He dabbled in freelance writing, coding, door-to-door sales, the restaurant industry, auditing and most recently he was a doggy groomer and pet-sitter. It was this last work that prompted a friend of Ben’s, one of our receptionists, to encourage him to apply. Ben is currently without a dog of his own, which makes working with all the pups an even more special part of being a part of the Ranch. When not getting in lots of pup hangout time, you will find Ben playing video games or Dungeons & Dragons and writing. We’re so glad Ben has joined us, he’s been a great addition to the kennel and our dog walking team!

Brenda Palacios, Pet Care Technician

Brenda was born in El Paso but moved to Austin as a child, where she was raised. She grew up with a Rottweiler/Shepard mix named Lala who lived to be 16 years old. The two were inseparable, Lala was Brenda’s best friend all throughout her childhood. Brenda has been passionate about dogs for as long as she can remember. She loves getting to interact with lots of differing pup personalities and learning about their behavior. She hopes to one day open her own facility for dogs who are in need. Brenda’s days away from the Ranch are filled with caring for her 9 month old baby, who she’s spent some great, quality time with at home for the last few months! She also has 2 dogs, a 5 year old Collie/Shepard mix, named Rex, and a 3 year old Staffordshire, named Nala. Rex is just a big lap dog who absolutely loves to cuddle and Nala is the runt of her litter who has the sweetest personality and loves to give kisses. When this busy mom can find the time, she loves scrapbooking and enjoys training Nala, practicing photography, and spending time outdoors hiking, fishing and swimming. She loves anything nature related!

Cody Dean, Pet Care Technician

Cody is passionate about health and fitness and is currently enrolled in school to become a physical trainer. He enjoys being active and loves anything water related; Cody spends as much time as possible participating in water sports, kayaking and swimming. When not at work or play, you’ll find Cody hanging with his birds and reptiles and building aquariums and terrariums. His love of all animals makes him a great part of our kennel team!

Gabby Emken, Pet Care Technician

Gabby, the daughter of DogBoy and DogGirl, has grown up right here on DogBoy’s Dog Ranch, you could say dogs are her life! She has 2 family pups, Rebel, an 11 year old Great Dane mix and Noodle, a 10 year old Chiweenie. Gabby first began working as a member of the DogBoy’s Social Squad helping to post great Ranch moments on social media, and is now a member of our Pet Care Technician team. Her favorite thing about her job is watching how happy dogs are when they reunite with their owners at the end of a stay. When not watching over your furry-family member, you’ll find Gabby participating in her nationally recognized, high school marching band.

Haisel Chase, Pet Care Technician

We’re so happy to welcome Haisel to the team as of the summer of 2018. She has a truly giving, caring heart as someone who participates in youth leadership activities, community improvement efforts, disaster relief, and caregiving for preschoolers. It’s a wonder she’s able to keep up with her high school studies and a job with so many extracurricular activities! When she finds time for herself, she enjoys reading, drawing and spending time with her family and 1.5 year old lab mix, Tink. Tink joined her family about a year ago after being rescued by Austin Pets Alive. Haisel has really enjoyed training and caring for Tink and knew when she saw a story about the Ranch in her school yearbook that this would be the perfect place to work. Haisel’s favorite part of her job is spending one-on-one time with the pups during solo hikes; make sure to give Haisel a big hello on your next visit!

Jordan Lowery, Pet Care Technician

Before joining the DogBoy’s team, Jordan worked in the restaurant industry as well as with children through the YMCA. Looking to pursue her affinity for animals, she found DogBoy’s online and was so impressed with the spaciousness and play opportunities for dogs. She really enjoys working with the amazing dogs and her co-workers; you won’t find any one sweeter or more patient than her! Jordan’s greatest passion is being a mother and she loves spending time with her children enjoying outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, fishing and camping. Jordan is also wonderfully creative and grew up doing ballet and gymnastics; she now channels her gift into painting. She has one pup at home, Norman, a 10 year old, large, mixed-breed pup who loves accompanying her to work daily and being the unofficial mascot of DogBoy’s Team Huddles.

Mason Emken, Pet Care Technician Lead

Mason, the son of DogBoy and DogGirl, was raised right here on the dog ranch! His earliest memories include being protected and loved by his first dog, Chelsea and then those that followed, Tick and Tessa. As a lifelong lover of dogs, Mason began working for the family business his senior year of high school in the role of Pet Care Technician and is now a Team Lead. He loves getting to hang out with his favorite boarding and daycare dogs, picking playgroups for the pups and helping to bring shy dogs out of their shell. Outside of work you’ll find Mason hanging out with his four-legged family members, Rebel and Noodle, an 11 year old Great Dane mix and a 10 year old Chiweenie

Neil Coleman, Pet Care Technician Lead

Neil is an East coast native who came to Austin in 2007.  His work with animals began on a volunteer basis while living in Mexico, where he ran his own restaurant in a sleepy beach town.  A lifelong dog lover, he  began rescuing street dogs in his spare time; nurturing them back to health, training them to adapt to domestic life and then finding them homes.  Through this, he became involved with a like-minded group of animal lovers who needed assistance in organizing and funding spay/neuter clinics for the local dog and cat population.  He organized and hosted several fundraisers through his restaurant, raised the necessary money and assisted in the clinics themselves once they got underway.  The initial successes enabled the group to become a self-sufficient rescue operation that continues its fine work to this day.

Neil had planned to only make a quick stopover in Austin when he returned to the U.S., but has remained since.  Having fallen in love with Austin’s pet-friendly vibe, he began volunteering at local shelters, and eventually discovered that his long-term goal was to train dogs for therapy.  He was fortunate enough to cross paths with DogBoy’s Dog Ranch, who have welcomed him into their Training and Wellness Center and are helping him work towards his necessary certifications. He is currently serving as DogBoy’s Kennel Manager, which will further sharpen his dog behavior knowledge.

In his free time, Neil manages to balance a side career as a writer with the knowledge that he is the worst musician in Austin. His dog Linus and his cat Sid don’t seem to mind.

Nico Cucorullo, Pet Care Technician

Nico discovered The Ranch by attending an adoption event hosted by DogBoy’s. He fell in love with the property and knew he had to apply! With previous experience working for a doggie daycare facility, we were happy to welcome him. His loyalty, honesty and hard-working attitude also make him an amazing asset! Nico is incredibly passionate about anything to do with animal rescue, he adopted his own rescue pup approximately 2 years ago. Molly is a terrier mix and has been with Nico since she was 3 months old, she is his best friend! Outside of work, he enjoys gaming and reading. Nico also has a black belt in martial arts. He grew up in Pflugerville and joined the local Kickstart martial arts program during his middle school years, he participated in many competitions during his tenor with them. Nico’s kind-hearted spirit and positivity have been a joyful addition to the team!

Zac Russell, Pet Care Technician Lead/Ambassador of Care

Zac RussellZac started his animal career in 2011 when he was attending the Art Institute of Austin for graphic design. Zac began working with animals at the Austin Humane Society and he found he had a real passion for rescue. Zac loved seeing so many animals find great homes and new family members. He found himself needing a change of pace and then he stumbled across this little slice of heaven- Dogboy’s Dog Ranch. Zac loves coming to work everyday and loves being around people who share the same passion as him. It’s really an incredible environment to work in, and the dogs agree as well!

Donald Gytri, Facilities Manager

Donald grew up a military brat, moving around the country and world until high school when his father retired, and the family settled in Pflugerville. He is a graduate of Texas A&M with a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences. It was in high school that Donald began working for DogBoy’s, the Ranch has been a part of Donald’s life for nearly a decade and a half! He worked here throughout high school and college and spent the first few years out of school here until an opportunity with the Austin Zoo became available. Donald even met his wife, another employee who was with DogBoy’s for several years, here on the Ranch. During his time with the Austin Zoo, Donald was Head Zookeeper, managing the zookeeping staff in addition to working with the primates and large carnivores. Donald loves working with the animals, the primates in particular, and continues to work with the zoo on a part time basis. Being outside is the biggest attraction for Donald in working here at DogBoy’s; he is an avid fan of the outdoors and spends his free time fishing, gardening and riding dirt bikes. Donald has 2 pups at home, a Jack Russell named Monty and his newest addition, Cici the Cocker Spaniel. Monty, now 11 years old, was adopted after an owner surrendered him here on the Ranch. Monty has been with Donald for 5 years and provides a unique set of challenges that Donald and his wife have become pros at managing! Cici is a sweet, super energetic, life-loving 8-month old puppy who’s been a joyful addition to the family. We’re very excited to Donald back with us in his new role of Ranch Hand. He brings a wide range of skills to DogBoy’s and is such a hard worker, welcome Donald back the next time you see him!

Cali, Mousekeeping Manager

Cali joined the DogBoy’s family in 2010 as a working barn cat. She was adopted through a local feral cat program designed to move cats with little socialization into an environment that allowed them to remain in a spacious, outdoor setting as they were accustomed.  Though it took some time, Cali has learned that humans are actually pretty cool and that hanging out in the DogBoy’s office is the life. You will now find her lounging near the fireplace in the winter, relaxing in her cat-hammock or laying around on the desk just waiting to greet you and your dogs! Cali has an amazing sense about the pups and knows who’s safe to hang around and when to make herself scarce. Her hobbies include hunting small game and birds, laying on needed paperwork and keyboards, sleeping and helping our training team desensitize cat-reactive dogs.