Meet DogBoy’s Team of Dog Lovers!

Mason Emken, Kennel Manager

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 now runs our lodging and daycare operations as Kennel Manager. 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, a Samoyed mix named Michi, and a black kitty named Sassy.

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 loved working with the animals, the primates in particular. 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 3 pups at home, a Jack Russell named Monty and two Working Cocker Spaniels named Cici & Dewey who were found 6 months apart and are suspected to be siblings! Donald now serves as our Facilities Manager, helping DogBoy manage the property, maintain the buildings and keep the staff safe and motivated! We are so grateful for his hard work and loyalty to DogBoy’s mission and vision. 

Ferrell Jackson, Office Administrator

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 in the back office managing all of our retail, making gourmet dog treats from scratch, coming up with new ideas and so much more. Ferrell truly gives her all to the company and we couldn’t be more grateful.

Heidi Harris, Receptionist

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 labs, Luke and Ginger, and 2 cats, Delilah and Lily. We’re so glad to have Heidi’s customer service experience and friendliness on our team!

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 went back to school for her 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 miniature dachshund, and Karl, an 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 a Calico cat of her own, named Lil’ Mama, as well as a 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!

Athena Danna, Pet Care Technician Lead

Athena joined us in 2018 from the animal world after working for both Petco and Tomlinson’s. After hearing lots of great things about DogBoy’s and the positive training that we promote, 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 blue Doberman, Isabella Skye, her  blue Heeler, Emma Bean Marie, a mixed breed pup, and Riley and Black Jack, the kitties. We love Athena’s organizational skills and positive attitude!

Zac Russell, Pet Care Technician Lead

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 our little slice of heaven. 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!

Amanda Flowers, Pet Care Technician

Amanda recently departed a full time home management job and is now joining DogBoy’s as a full time Pet Care Technician after working here on weekends for two years! She has an Akita mix, Moose, 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 work ethic and positive attitude on the team!

Ben Meyer, Pet Care Technician

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 our team!

Haisel Chase, Pet Care Technician

Hazel joined the DogBoy’s team in 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 lab mix, Tink. Tink joined her family 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.

Olivia Tiffany, Pet Care Technician

Olivia has been a Pflugervillian since the age of 5 when she moved to the area. She grew up with a Lab named Lucy and Husky/Heeler named Tonto, who she now has a tattoo of. She worked for Dazzle Coffee here in Pflugerville until she decided it was time for change, began researching boarding facilities and found out how close DogBoy’s Dog Ranch was! Olivia knew from pet sitting over the years that working with dogs would make her happiest and that she had to join the team. Olivia’s passion for animals reaches far beyond dogs. She is currently studying for a career in animal conservation. Olivia’s compassion, empathy and adaptability have made her a fantastic addition to our kennel. Outside of work, you’ll find Olivia spending hours watching YouTube videos, hanging with friends and spending time with her two pups, Bruce, a 10-year-old Rottweiler, and Rip, a 12-year-old Pitbull.

Kendra Tucker-Jerkic,  Marketing Assistant

Prior to joining DogBoy’s, Kendra worked as molecular biologist for the state in the Newborn Screening Department ensuring the health of babies in Texas. Kendra is a client turned employee – she was always impressed as a client by the compassion and sincerity of the staff here and feels that becoming a part of the team is a dream come true. Kendra grew up in East Texas with a Saint Bernard and lots of cats. She loved being outdoors with the animals and caring for them; animals have always brought peace to her life. She now has 3 Siberian Huskies: Vladimir, who she adopted at the age of 5, Vahla, who was rescued at the age of 1, and Penny Lane, who joined the family as a puppy. She is passionate about helping sled dogs and volunteers her time with the Texas Sled Dog Rescue group. With her spare time, Kendra also enjoys learning about ancient history, visiting museums, reading historical fiction, painting, playing Beat Saber on Oculus Rift and training her own pups. Kendra is currently working as Executive Assistant to DogGirl and apprenticing under our training team! We are so grateful for her dedication to DogBoy’s!

 

Cali McAffrey, CPDT-KA – 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, an Aussie named Kitty, an Aussie/Border Collie named Riot, a Chinese Crested named Aero, an Aussie/Border Collie/Lab mix named Chaos, a cat named Willow, 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 is currently doing in-home board & train with our clients and both the pet parents and pups are loving it!

Sarah Alvarado, CPDT-KA – 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 Blue Heeler, a Catahoula, a Ridgeback and two cats.

Whitney Spence, CPDT-KA – Trainer

Whitney always knew that she wanted a career with animals. Her original goals were to become a vet but quickly realized that career path was too heartbreaking after losing her childhood dogs. Her passion for dog training started when she discovered Victoria Stilwell’s television show, “It’s Me or The Dog”. The spark started and she began working with her own dogs by teaching them a plethora of tricks; she then started working with friends’ dogs which led to referrals to help the community with their dogs. Whitney enjoys teaching group classes as she loves seeing how the owner’s skills grow over time and to show them that they are able to problem solve in any situation they may find with their dog. Whitney currently has a Border Collie named Kimchi and a Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Soju. After moving to Texas in 2016, she became head Dog Trainer and Dog Training Mentor at Petco before she found DogBoy’s. She is currently working part-time in a prison with shelter dogs and training inmates on how to become a dog trainer for when they are able to leave. She has been training dogs professionally since 2012 and in 2019 received her training certification from the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT).  One of her goals in life is to combine some of her passions and train dogs for work in television and movies.

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.