Our Staff – What makes Urban Pooch So Special

Our Urban Pooch Pack is one of our greatest assets in providing your pooch with the utmost Love and care around the clock.

We’re so grateful to have each of them and how much they contribute to making Urban Pooch one of the most special places on Earth!

We absolutely have THE most amazing and talented people in Chicago AND we have more of them – which means better care and attention to that little (or big) Love bucket of yours with four legs.

You’ll never find that we try to do more with fewer people. This is unique in the Chicago market. Our goal is to always to dazzle pooches and their parents with our Amazing Service, Love and Care!

Our Management Team

Berwyn loves being a pooch and is living the dream being the CEO of Urban Pooch Canine Life Center.

He totally changed the lives of his Daddies, so much so that they decided to dedicate their lives to establishing a new level of service for pooches and their parents by bringing state-of-the-art daycare and boarding to Chicago. Berwyn is involved in all decisions, whether small or big. He likes being the center of attention and sometimes growls when his Daddies pay too much attention to other pooches. But don’t that that growl fool you!

JoplinDirector of Operations
The “Lady Joplin” as she is affectionately known as, has always been a leader, ever since her puppyhood. At five-years-old, she has the wisdom of a woman many years her senior. Joplin’s Mom is Jessie, our Retail Manager.

Fortunately, Joplin comes to Urban Pooch almost every day. Her job is to keep our operation humming along like a fine pack of pooches! She is quick to alert the entire staff to any challenge with a short quicky bark and is an expert at using her paws to signal her intent. As you can see by her photo, Joplin likes to jump up in the chair and get a good view of what her peeps are all doing. Bark! Bark! Back to work, says, Joplin. We sure are lucky to have such a fine pooch to run our operations. And, she is also quite a Lady!

Daniel Gaughan
Daniel GaughanCo-Founder
Dan is the co-owner of Urban Pooch Canine Life Center and will run the day to day operations. Dan is a native Chicagoan growing-up in the Edgewater Glen neighborhood. Dan is the youngest of 6 children and the son of the late and great Marty and Kitty Gaughan. Dan had an incredible 21 year run working behind the scenes in local television news operations here in Chicago and out in both Arizona and California. During his long career in broadcasting, Dan was in management roles overseeing staff and operations at many successful television news organizations. Dan began his broadcasting career at WLS-TV in 1989 here in Chicago and went on to play a key management role in launching CLTV then went on to work for WGN-TV and then WBBM-TV following his return to Chicago from California back in 2002. Dan won an Emmy Award for continuous coverage of The Chicago Bulls 3rd Championship.

For many years Dan had a strong desire to make a career change and to do something completely different. In July of 2007 the beginning of what would lead Dan to make such a huge leap of faith came along when he picked-up Berwyn – his 8 week old Welsh Terrier puppy from an Amish Farm in Central Illinois. Dan’s intense love for Berwyn and the experience of raising this pup planted the seed helping him realize opening a doggie daycare facility is the answer to where he wanted to be in his career and life and most importantly something that would make him incredibly happy! This began the long journey of realizing his dream of owning and operating Urban Pooch Canine Life Center on the North Side of Chicago.

Dan is so much looking forward to getting to know you and your pooch and seeing all of you every day!!

Ed Kaczmarek
Ed KaczmarekCo-Founder
Ed is the co-founder of Urban Pooch Canine Life Center, and also Chief Marketing Officer. He’s a fun, creative kind of dog.

Ed is also Co-Founder and Managing Director of Brand Accelerator, a business designed to help major brands institutionalize the core competency of partnering with disruptive startups to build competitive advantages and ignite the spirit of entrepreneurship within the corporate environment

Most recently, Ed was Director of Innovation & Emerging Technology at Mondelēz International (formerly Kraft Foods Inc.) where he led innovation through a multitude of partnerships and exploration with startups in both mobile and digital. He was the architect and creator of the Mobile Futures incubator program. Through this program, he drove new levels of consumer engagement across 13 blue chip brands and ignited cultural transformation in marketing throughout the US and Brazil. Many of the programs that Ed led, contributed to Mondelez International being named 2013 Mobile Marketer of the Year.

While at Kraft Foods, he led the development of its award-winning iPhone application, the iFood Assistant—enabling the food marketer to deepen consumer relationships and implement new revenue streams. iFood Assistant won an Edison Award for Innovation in 2010.

Ed has more than 26 years of integrated marketing communications experience spanning branding, new product development, advertising, CRM and strategy. He has driven innovation both digitally and in traditional arenas during his tenure at Cadbury/Dr Pepper, VNU, DoubleClick and Draft Worldwide. Ed also published NYC Pet Project while at Good Books Publishing, a company he founded.

In 2009, Fast Company magazine named Ed as “1 of the 10 Most Creative People in Food”. He also participated on the Intel Capital Advisory Board for three years. In December 2012, Ed was recognized as one of “25 Trendsetters to Watch” by Chief Marketer magazine.

Jessica J. Ray
Jessica J. RayRetail Manager/Social Media Maven
If you’ve been into Urban Pooch since we opened….there is a good chance you have ran into Jessie Ray – our Retail Manager and much more!  Jessie is also known as ‘the treat lady’ to all the pooches.

Jessie grew up outside of Milwaukee with a household of golden retrievers that her mother led her to believe were her siblings from a very early age.  Prior to the pet world, Jessie worked in the travel industry.  Being in the travel industry, paired with her study abroad experience in London and Alicante, Spain – has allowed her to visit 24 countries throughout Europe, Central America, and Africa.  She hung up her passport to be with pooches full time and loves every minute of it!

Jessie’s little girl is a 4-year-old Golden Retriever named Joplin who comes to work with her everyday.  Joplin has become the official GREETER of Urban pooch and absolutely adores meeting everyone (on 2 legs and 4 paws).  Don’t be surprised when she comes to say hi:)  Joplin also works with Berwyn as a product tester for everything that comes into Urban Pooch.

Jessie has extensive knowledge about every product that Urban Pooch carries and is willing to look in to other ones you desire. If you ever have any questions about food, toys, treats, chews, or other accessories….let Jessie know!

Dylan Fuelner
Dylan FuelnerHead Pooch Pack Counselor
Most recently Dylan was Lead Kennel Attendant at “Doggie Day Play” in west suburban Oak Park where he supervised large playgroups and other handlers daily. Previously, Dylan was a Handler at Pet Care Plus in Chicago’s West Loop where he also worked as a runner bringing pooches from their Front Desk into the playrooms and visa versa daily.

Currently Dylan is studying to be a Vet Tech and is attending Vet Tech University through Banfield Animal Hospital.  His ultimate goal down the line is to open a non-profit shelter for under-socialized pooches where he would work with pooches that other shelters would put down.  Ultimately he would use his Vet Tech training along with his desire to obtain a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine to expand the shelter into a Vet Clinic for pooch owners who cannot afford vet care.

Chris Hackett
Chris HackettAssistant Head Pooch Pack Counselor
Hi my name is Chris and I’m the assistant head counselor at Urban Pooch. I am originally from Long Island NY and moved to Chicago 2 years ago. I spent my time in NY working at different pet stores along with being a volunteer firefighter. I have always had a passion to work with animals and I couldn’t be happier working here at Urban Pooch. My favorite dog here has to be Dolly the boxer! I have a dog of my own…a lab/pit named Gooney and I love him to pieces!
Deb Goggin
Deb GogginFront Desk Operations Manager
Deb began her Urban Pooch career in May of this year.  She works in both our Front Desk and Retail operations.  Prior to joining The Pooch Pack Deb worked with the pooches of Oak Park and River Forest as a dog walker with “Out-U-Go!”  She has her own two year old Golden Retriever named Oliver and he is her pride and joy.  In her free time she enjoys gardening, traveling and volunteering.
Brittany West
Brittany WestRetail Manager
Since I was a little girl I always dreamed of working with dogs.  I grew up as the oldest in a family with 5 brothers and a house full of dogs.  My mom taught me compassion for animals at a young age by adopting our first family dog.  After that, we would foster and adopt up to 5 dogs at one time.

During my years working on my Master’s Degree I took a part time job at Pooch Hotel and after working there for a while I realized this was what I wanted to do!  I worked at Pooch Hotels and their sister company, Raw Dog Organic Food Store where I learned about diet and health needs for dogs and cats.  I also worked for a year at Bark Chicago and their sister companies, Meeow Chicago and SpaBark Mobile Grooming.

After learning about many different aspects of the pet care industry, I came to realize Urban Pooch Canine Life Center represented what I liked best about the industry.  I currently enjoy working retail and meeting all the pups coming into the facility.  The best part of my job is brining my 3 pooches to work – Sigma who is a 5 year old German Shepherd, Lambda who is a 2 year old Mini French Bulldog and Gremlin my 1 year old Brindle French Bulldog.

Our Grooming Team

Deb Frankenberry
Deb FrankenberryGroomer
Deb Frankenberry joined Urban Pooch in November of 2011 following almost 20 years of Grooming experience at various Grooming operations throughout the Midwest including down in Missouri and up in Minneapolis.  Deb also owned a grooming shop back in the early 1990’s in Blacksburg, Virginia where she ran the shop and Groomed as well.  From April of 2000 until 2009 she Groomed at “Groomingdales” in Columbia, Missouri and then owned a small shop there.  Deb started grooming in 1986 as she was just finishing a degree in Psychology.  Deb took an offer at that time to apprentice with the owner of a small Grooming Shop and never looked back.

Deb and her 2 children moved to Chicago last summer to be with her partner have her 2 children.  Deb has 3 pooches named Zuli (15 year old Terrier Mix), Birdie (10 year old and sometimes grumpy Schnauzer) and Frankie (6 year old Dachshund) who come to work with Deb every day!  Frankie is especially popular at Urban Pooch but Birdie has a special place in the heart of owner Dan Gaughan.  Deb finds dog grooming to be very rewarding and even relaxing most of the time.  She especially loves grooming Terriers but all breeds (and mixed breeds too) have interesting features and challenges that keep her engaged.  One of Deb’s favorite things to do is see live music.  She also loves home remodeling projects but these activities don’t happen too much these days as her Partner and Deb’s blended family of 4 children and 3 pooches keep them very busy!  She’s enjoyed getting to know all of the regular pooches at Urban Pooch and working with a great staff.

Emily Porter
Emily PorterGroomer
I joined The Urban Pooch Family in July after 2 fun and educational years at Earth Pups.  Before that I apprenticed at PetSmart for 2 years after getting the grooming itch from an amazing groomer named Kelly at Glen Ellyn Grooming.  I always knew I wanted to work with animals as my best friend was a rescued Lab Mix named BlackBerry who lived with my family throughout my entire childhood until we lost our beloved pooch to liver issues when she was 11 years old.  My mother is the one who brought me up with rescued pooches and taught me the endless joy of adopting an animal brings to a person’s life.  I live with 5 pooches, my 2 rescues Matilda and Edgar and my 2 step dogs Clark and Fletcher.  Matilda is a beautiful and stubborn Pekingese and Edgar is my fun loving small Terrier Mix.  Clark is Half Chow with some Australian Shepherd and Fletcher is some sort of PitBull Mix.  In my spare time, my boyfriend and I enjoy having friends over for good, drinks and music.  I like to volunteer my grooming services to local shelters whenever possible.
Jeremy Akers
Jeremy AkersManager, Bathing and Self-Wash
Jeremy fell in love with Chicago during a visit in the Fall and made the move here from San Diego.   He said he’s looking forward to the change of seasons!

Jeremy now manages our bathing and self-wash operation.

Jeremy comes to us with extensive experience as a Bather-Brusher where he worked as The Lead Bather-Brusher for 4 years at “City Dog, Inc” located in Downtown San Diego.   During his time there he was also a Supervisor in their Retail Operations doing everything from opening & closing the store, cash & daily deposits, ordered products, created and managed staff schedules and ensured everything was in tip top shape in their retail store for every customer who walked in their door each day.  He is very familiar with every aspect of just about every product we sell in our store here as they sold many of the same quality, holistic & nurturing items in their San Diego operation.

Jeremy also organized, managed and worked booths and tables at many Charity and Community Outreach events for “City Dog” in and around The Greater San Diego Metropolitan Area.

Before all of this, he worked as an Inventory Specialist for Best Buy in La Jolla, CA.   Jeremy grew-up in the Virginia Beach area.

Kevin Golden
Kevin GoldenBather - Grooming
Kevin spent time as a Dog Walker in Evanston.  He and his girlfriend also foster pooches from PAWS frequently throughout the year.   They also have a 3 year- old American Eskimo named Yoshi and Kevin knows what it takes to do a proper bath & brush-out on tough coats such as on his pooch.

Kevin previously worked at Pot Belly Sandwich Shop in Lincoln Square where Dan met him. Kevin saw Dan’s Urban Pooch shirt and said he wanted to come and work for us!   The rest is history – Dan really liked Kevin’s energy and enthusiasm and his love for pooches – and he is loved by all – pooches and staff!

Kevin is also a musician, who sings & plays guitar.   He also does songwriting and some production.  One talented guy!

Joy Wilson
Joy WilsonBather - Grooming
Bio coming soon.
Valerie Booth
Valerie BoothGrooming Attendant
Bio coming soon.

Our Front Desk & Retail Team

Vanessa Ramos
Vanessa RamosFront Desk Daycare/Boarding
Vanessa was born in Manhattan and spent summers and Holidays on her grandparents farm in Puerto Rico.  She graduated from Medaille College in Buffalo, NY with an Associates in Science Degree in Veterinary Technology and took additional courses in Canine Breeding and Genetics.  She adores all animals but has a soft spot for Boxers.  She shares her home with her first Boxer for the last 15 years.  Vanessa now has a Pit Bull, a Malinois, 3 Boxers and a Boston who thinks she’s a Boxer.  For Vanessa it truly is “All About The Dogs.”
Lucas Gable Donnan
Lucas Gable DonnanFront Desk
Lucas is just amazing. You can immediately tell he’s a nice guy with a great sense of humor, good people skills and most importantly has a great passion for pooches!

Lucas has worked in high stress multi-task jobs for many years as a line cook at Burke’s Public House and also at Big Jones in Chicago.  He was also a line cook, Chef and Head Waiter at various culinary establishments in his home state of Iowa dating back to 2005.    Lucas can do it all – being able to handle high volume under tight deadlines and in sometimes stressful multi-tasking environments while at the same time making sure every little detail was addressed.   These are all critical experiences needed to successfully navigate our Front Desk operation and keep it running smoothly.

Lucas is very excited that he was able to combine his experience and passion for Pooches and all animals into a new and exciting career change!!   He has been with and owned pooches and cats all of his life! Lucky us!

Matt Woskey
Matt WoskeyAssistant Retail Manager
Our retail maven, Matthew was thrown into the holistic pet food trade head first back in early 2010. His first employer in the industry only had one requirement for hire, which was for Matt to get his dog on a better food. Since then, Matt has lived and breathed pet nutrition. He has an extensive knowledge of all the best foods, treats, and supplements on the market to help you find the right nutritional path for your pooch.

Matt and his girlfriend Amy have rescued 4 animals (all males!) that all live with them in their one bedroom apartment near Wrigleyville. They have two dogs, Jake and Mugsy, that come to Urban Pooch’s daycare regularly. They also have a cat named Logan and a blind rat named Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge, after the Star Trek: The Next Generation character who is also blind.

In his spare time when he isn’t busy caring for the zoo in his apartment, Matt likes to see live music, ride his bike around the city, or sit on his back porch playing his ukulele.

Alan Cabezas
Alan CabezasRetail/Front Desk, Pooch Pack Counselor and Playtime Express
We are so excited that Alan is working at Urban Pooch both as a Pooch Pack Counselor and also at our Front Desk and in Retail.  His extensive experience and customer service experience is key to all of these areas.

In addition, Alan will also be part of the team that drives the Playtime Express, making sure pooches are safe traveling back and forth for fun times at Urban Pooch.

Alan comes to us with years of experience in the pooch world both as an employee and Manager.   Most recently, he was a Supervisor at “Dogma Pet Care” on Armitage Avenue where he did just about everything including Handling, driving their pick-up & drop-off bus, walking pooches and Customer Service up front.

He was also a Supervisor at “Dynamic Dogs Training & Behavior on Elston where he was Head Handler, managed Daily Operations, attended to Front of House customer service and was Assistant to their Head Trainer.

In addition, Alan also worked at “Canine Crews where he was Head Handler, walked dogs and drove their pooch bus, as well as trained their staff. He was also directly involved with Front of House Customer Service.

Joanna Kwasigroch
Joanna KwasigrochRetail
Joanna Kwasigroch was born and raised in Chicago and has a son named Riley. Before working at Urban Pooch, she worked in retail at Urbanimal in Uptown. Although she currently does not have a pooch of her own, she loves everyone that comes to visit as if they were her own.

Our Playtime Express Team

Danny Sullivan
Danny SullivanPlaytime Express Manager
I have lived on the North Side of Chicago my whole life.  I joined Urban Pooch in June and couldn’t be happier.  Before Urban Pooch I worked at Abell Animal Hospital.  I’ve loved animals my whole life.  My dog Mac who is a Siberian Husky and I spend many days playing around the house and wrestling.  He brightens my day along with every dog at Urban Pooch.  When I’m not at work I’m usually playing drums, practicing with my band, playing video games or just relaxing outside.  I live to travel and plan to see all the wonders of the world one day – with Mac of course!
Carmellia Dockery
Carmellia DockeryPooch Pack Counselor, Playtime Express
Carmellia brings a decade worth of experience in the world of pooches with her and I’m here to tell you – she has done it all at every facility in Chicago where she has worked.

She started her career in the Pooch industry at West Loop Canine Club where she was a Kennel Attendant and quickly was promoted to Night Manager and she was also a bather there.   Carmellia went on to work for K-9 University as a Kennel Attendant, Weekend Manager and Bather.

She then joined Mutt Hutt where she worked as a Handler, Weekend Manager, Bather and also drove their van picking-up and dropping-off pooches.  Most recently she worked at Bark Chicago where she did it all from being a Handler to opening the facility for the day and also was drove their van transporting pooches and was a bather.

Carmellia has one son in college and another who is a Senior year at Westinghouse High School.  She has a pooch and also 3 kitties.

Our Playroom Counselors

Barb Daly
Barb DalyRunner
Barb comes to us from the realm of Hospital Radiology Administrative background… with retirement approaching she ventured into doggie work to keep busy and to support her golf games . Although new to the world of doggie day care, Barb has had pooch’s in her life since a youngster …all rescues in varied breeds…her current adopted dog being Molly, age 8, a terrier mix with a very defined Brussels/Griffon underbite…which makes you smile every time you see Molly and Barb !!!
Hallie Burhall
Hallie BurhallRunner
After 37 years as a Medical Director, I retired and wanted to do something completely different. I love animals and Urban Pooch offered me a chance to be close to loving and loyal dogs. I had no practical experience working with animals but I was ready and willing to learn. The “pups” teach me everyday about unconditional love. I love the people and the pooches I work with and can’t think of a better way to spend my retirement.
Rob Muesrch
Rob MuesrchRunner
Rob is a dear longtime friend and also a longtime loyal customer here at Urban Pooch!   He brings his pooch Dory in for grooming and also shops in our retail store for her and his kitty Chloe.  He’s had a lifelong passion for animals and now he gets the chance to work with them!
Russell Alexander
Russell AlexanderRunner
Life long dog and animal lover. Spent the majority of my working history in and out of a variety of restaurants and retail settings working just about every position including management. I came to Pooch in the summer of 2013 working as a handler and then transferred up front as a runner where I feel my polished people skills are put to better use. I am an artist who utilizes all mixed medias and wood as well as an active musician focusing on all things rock and roll. I’m currently a junior at Columbia College studying arts and media management with a focus on entertainment business.
Jackson Denley
Jackson DenleyRunner
I’m Jackson and I love dogs! I am a brother to 2 dogs at home, Charlie and Salty. I run with Charlie cause he’s a spazz and I sit with Salty cause he’s a lazy dog 🙂  I am going into my senior year of high school this year. I’m on the Niles West Track Team. I look forward to meeting your dog!
Ettienne Aviles
Ettienne AvilesPooch Pack Counselor
Ettienne was raised in a very small town and always had 3 or 4 dogs around the farm as well as goats and horses.  He has an Associates Degree in Electromechanical Engineering and worked as a Construction Foreman for 6 years.  Ettienne Arrived in Chicago for the first time one week before the big Blizzard last year.  He shares his home with a Malinois, a Pit Bull and three Boxers.  His baby is Nene (little boy in Spanish) who is a 5 year old Boxer.  Ettienne dedicated quite a bit of time fighting Breed Specific Legislation back home.
Joshua Boersema
Joshua BoersemaPooch Pack Counsleor
Josh comes to us with extensive experience as a dog handler. He worked for a year out at “Paradise 4 Paws” in their flagship Schiller Park operation where he handled all sizes and breeds of pooches. He worked with pooches who were aggressive as well as those who were new to boarding & daycare and were shy to new environments. He fed, administered medication as well as walked dogs and worked with their pooches going through therapy in their pooch swimming pool there.

Prior to that Josh worked as a Handler at “Dog Play Daycare” in Mount Prospect
Josh owns a pit bull and has a deep life long passion for pooches and has decided he wants to work with pooches for the rest of his life!

Ian Branson
Ian BransonPooch Pack Counsleor
Ian has years of experience as a Handler where most recently he worked as a Daycare Attendant at “The Bark Bark Club” over in Edgewater where he did everything imaginable regarding Handler duties.  He spent quite a bit of time working the overnight shift at Bark Bark.   He also worked as a Handler at “Unleashed Pups, ” “The Mutt Hutt” and “Bark Chicago”.   Ian brings a wealth of experience to our operation!
Tim Bickel
Tim BickelPooch Pack Counselor
Tim is ecstatic to be working at Urban Pooch! He has worked with dogs for several years and specializes in handling aggressive dogs. Tim has a BFA in Theatre from Roosevelt University and is also an actor and video editor in the Chicago area. He is a newlywed and is looking forward to the married bliss everyone talks about.
David Cabezas
David CabezasPooch Pack Counselor
David previously worked as a Handler at “Rockstar Pets” performing every task imaginable with this most important position, from Handling to feeding, walking & exercising pooches.  He also drove their van picking-up and dropping-off their client dogs.   Prior to his time at Rockstar, David was a Handler at “Dynamic Dogs” in Chicago and was also a Handler at  “Canine Crews” in Chicago.  In addition, David has extensive Customer Service experience from his time working for Scotts Lawn Care Company at their facility here in Chicago.
John Byrne-Szafoni
John Byrne-SzafoniPooch Pack Counselor
Most recently, John worked at Kriser’s Lincoln Park, where he was responsible for educating customers on the best foods, treats and supplements for their dogs and cats.  He also managed store upkeep and organized stock & displays. John was also a Handler and Bather-Brusher at “Alfie’s Poochie Playlot” for two years down in far South Suburban Mokena where he did everything imaginable in each role. John grew-up in South Suburban Oak Lawn and is a life long White Sox fan!!
Luis Diaz
Luis DiazPooch Pack Counselor
Luis has had a passion for pooches all of his life and is very excited to work with them every day! Luis has worked with his family as part of “Diaz Brother’s Landscaping Company” since 2009 in every aspect of that business.
Joey Gadberry
Joey GadberryPooch Pack Counselor
Bio coming soon.
Joshua Carbajal
Joshua CarbajalPooch Pack Counselor
Joshua previously worked at Urban Outsitters as a Handler.
Jesus Pantoja
Jesus PantojaPooch Pack Counselor
Jesus Pantoja (Pan-Tow-Ha) has joined our family as a full time Handler. Jesus previously worked as a Handler at Urban Outsitters where he supervised large groups of pooches every day.   He also drove their van transporting their client pooches to and from their facility. He’s a native Chicagoan and is thrilled to be a part of our family!
Mark Ursa
Mark UrsaPooch Pack Counselor
My name is Mark Ursa. Other than loving and owning dogs throughout my life, I never had any experience working with them until I joined Urban Pooch a few months ago on a part-time basis. It has been such a joy working with these wonderful dogs that visit Pooch, and the staff is a very impressive and thoughtful group. They have taught me so much about the care and handling of dogs, along with the inherent traits and characteristics of so many breeds. Along with my responsibilities at Urban Pooch, I am employed as a Special Education Teacher at McCutcheon Elementary School on Uptown along with being a stage, film, and television actor.
Ivan Moreno
Ivan MorenoPooch Pack Counselor
Bio coming soon.