Anni Black  |  Darlene Blackman  |  Amy Blower  |  Kathleen Call  |  Yuching Desch  |  Donell Ellingson  |  Joan Green  |  Karen Gulmon  |  Kristin Herrera  |  Annie Humphrey  |  Gwen Jones  |  Dawn Kovell  |  Betsy McGee  |  Amy McPherson  |  Katie Rogers  |  Karen Schuerholz  |  Karen Schwartz  |  Paula Skelton  |  Robin Terry  |  Ali Vorhies  |  Beth Weil  |  Kathy Wells


Anni BlackAnni Jay Black-sq

What do you do at Marin Humane?
My focus at Marin Humane is connecting with a variety of people, their dogs, and cats. One of my favorite classes is the Small Dogs Have Fun class, which gives both the dogs and their handlers a big boost of confidence while learning new skills, tricks, and exercises. Senior Handling is tailored to the needs of the group, and we always enjoy sharing tips on how best to enjoy a dog at a new stage in our lives! The Cats & Dogs Introduction workshop is taught from my heart, helping people manage and train their furry friends with a goal of happy, relaxed felines and canines. Other workshops include Canine Fun and Games, and the Howlaween party. I have been an instructor with the Pen Pals program of San Quentin since its inception. I am also a Cat Evaluator.

What I like to do most is help people enjoy the training process and thereby enjoy their dogs and cats more. My current Siberian Husky is a bit of a clown, so we take a Circus class to keep things light and merry, as well as ongoing agility classes for mental and physical exercises.

How did life guide you to a career with animals?
Growing up in Maine, we had a bunch of cats, a couple of setters, two shelties and some sheep. Later, my husband and I fell in love with Siberian Huskies. In Marin, I started out volunteering with the Terwilliger Nature Education Foundation, and decided I wanted to learn more about domestic live animals, which has led to many different opportunities at Marin Humane.


DarleneBlackmanDec2014-200pxDarlene Blackman

What do you do at Marin Humane?
I’m the director of Community Engagement, which includes several programs like pet care assistance, animal assisted therapy, Share a Book, humane education, and more. I also teach the Your Dog to SHARE and the SHARE a Book with Your Dog classes. These specialty classes are the required training for certain volunteers with their dogs, and the classes  educate others about animal assisted therapy.

How did life guide you to a career with animals?
Prior to working at Marin Humane, I worked for 10 years at the Massachusetts SPCA, starting as an animal care technician at the Angel Memorial Animal Hospital, then farm animal care coordinator, humane educator, and volunteer coordinator. I also worked at the Audubon Society, a farm education center and at livestock auction where I created a safer more humane place for the animals. I graduated from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and studied animal science/veterinary medicine.


Amy Blower

What do you do at Marin Humane?
I teach Family Dog 1 and 2 classes. I love to focus on confidence boosting games, obedience, and tricks. 

I was born and raised in Marin County and have had numerous animals including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and a bird. I spent my youth riding horses, caring for wildlife at Wildcare in San Rafael, and exploring with my dogs. I knew I would always work with animals in some way and have always been drawn to behavior and training. After graduating from Sonoma State University with a degree in biophysical geography, I went back to what really makes me happy – dogs! I began working at a kennel in Marin while I figured out which specific path I would take. I opened my own specialty dog care business “Muttley Crue” in October of 2013. Running Muttley Crue is my full time job with assistance from my two dogs, Melvin and Oakley.  I began volunteering at Marin Humane in 2016 to further my observational skills and to see how other handlers work with their dogs. I became a dog training instructor with Marin Humane at the San Anselmo location in March of 2017, and I’m very excited to learn the ropes.


Kathleen Call

Kathleen Call
What do you do at Marin Humane?
I teach Family Dog, Puppy and Nose Work classes. I also teach our very rewarding Train-to-Adopt classes for the shelter dogs, in which volunteers bring adoption dogs to class to learn basic obedience and some cute tricks.

What behaviors and/or training do you specialize in?
I love to teach people how to “read their dog.” I believe that with a better awareness of dog body language and behavior, all human/canine relationships can  improve in amazing ways. I also enjoy seeing dogs and their people become more confident and comfortable through training.

How did life guide you to a career with animals?
After a lifetime of multiple dogs and cats and turtles and birds and goldfish, I adopted two dogs that had pretty severe leash reactivity. What? Dogs can be aggressive? I needed to turn these beautiful guys around. So I started my journey diving deep into behavior modification and training, which led me to realize that this was by far the most interesting career I had ever had, working with dogs! I never looked back and here I am today.


Yuching DeschYuching Desch-sq

What do you do at Marin Humane?
I teach Beginning Puppy, Puppy/Adolescent Social Scene, Family Dog classes, Small Dog classes, Crate Training, and Tricks. I also provide canine behavioral consultations.

What behaviors and/or training do you specialize in?
I help the human-dog teams have fun together and discover the connection with each other via tricks and obedience training classes.

How did life guide you to a career with animals?
I’ve always had a soft spot for dogs that are less popular adoption choices. After adopting a small, fearful dog, I spent a lot of time learning how to help him get over his fears. That led to taking behavior classes and eventually to teaching classes at Marin Humane. I know first-hand the importance of improving a dog’s confidence and the human-dog bond with obedience classes. My goal is to help all dogs become enjoyable family companions in their forever homes.

I like to share my knowledge about dogs with my clients and hope that my experience will benefit any human-dog teams.


Donell EllingsonDonell Ellingson-sq

What do you do at Marin Humane?
I teach Family Dog 1, Family Dog 2, Street Smarts, Trail Manners, Tricks, and various workshops.

What behaviors and/or training do you specialize in?
I like teaching Family Dog 1 because I love introducing people to the training process and making it fun for them. I incorporate tricks into my Family Dog 1 classes to show people how fun training can be. It’s impossible not to have fun when teaching tricks to your dog!

How did life guide you to a career with animals?
As a kid, my animal friends ran the gambit: hamsters, gerbils, a rabbit named Grape, turtles, dogs, a horse, and cats, cats, cats and more cats. One of our family dogs was a Schnoodle (Schnauzer/Poodle) named Schwartz. We took him through training classes and I really enjoyed the experience.  He loved performing, especially if he had an audience. I’ve been intrigued with the dog/human relationship ever since.

I started out my dog training career as a volunteer at Marin Humane, first helping out as a dog training assistant in classes before changing hats and becoming a dog training instructor. One of the things I like best about being an instructor is helping people develop great relationships with their dogs through training.

I currently reside with one dog, a Marin Humane alumn Dachshund mix name Koji, and two cats, a tabby named Kazu (another Marin Humane alum), and an Abyssinian cross named Mr. Shigemitsu that I just “had” to adopt from the local shelter when visiting family in Minnesota.


Joan GreenJoan Green-sq

What do you do at Marin Humane?
I teach Agility and Beginning Puppy and Puppy Social Scene classes.

What behaviors and/or training do you specialize in?
Years ago I trained and competed in obedience and switched to agility 14 yrs ago. I have competed  at a national level and loved every moment. Currently, I’m training my newest dog in agility.

How did life guide you to a career with animals?
I teach dog training classes because I love,  love, love puppies — having raised five Sheltie puppies. I  had a poodle when I was a kid — so naturally dogs have been part of my life as an adult.


Karen GulmonKaren Gulmon-sq

What do you do at Marin Humane?
I teach family dog classes and specialties such as Nose Work  and Bull Breed  classes. I also evaluate shelter dogs for adoptability and teach evaluation workshops.

What behaviors and/or training do you specialize in?
I specialize in evaluating dog behaviors. I also take classes in Agility for fun.

How did life guide you to a career with animals?
I ended up in this role because  I was born with the “I love animals” gene.


Kristin HerreraKristin Herrera-sq

What do you do at Marin Humane?
I am the Agility Program Supervisor, I teach agility classes, and provide behavior consultations.

What behaviors and/or training do you specialize in?
I compete in agility with my dogs and love sharing my passion for the sport with my students.

How did life guide you to a career with animals?
Over 15 years ago, I adopted a little yellow puppy named Jones. I thought I knew all about dogs because I grew up with them. I found out very quickly that growing up with dogs and being responsible for one are two very different things! I realized I was in over my head and came to Marin Humane for classes and a behavior consultation. I thought, “huh, that looks like an interesting place!” and started volunteering as a Pet Pal. I then became a dog training assistant, started helping in Agility classes, and then was recruited to volunteer in Behavior & Training, helping with consults and evaluations. I became fascinated with dog behavior and was eager to learn more! I was able to join the staff shortly thereafter, and the rest is history!


Annie HumphreyAnnie Humphries-sq

What do you do at Marin Humane?
I co-teach the Your Dog to SHARE class and SHARE a Book with Your Dog. I also occasionally teach Rally O.

How did life guide you to a career with animals?
I wanted to be a dog trainer when I was a little girl but I didn’t think it could be a real job. I worked at Marin Humane more than 20 years ago as an animal care tech, then worked for a few veterinary practices. I began working at a small shelter in Sonoma and the dog trainer asked me if I wanted to learn to teach classes.


Gwen JonesGwen Jones-sq

What do you do at Marin Humane?
I teach Agility, Nosework, Beginning Puppy and Family Dog  classes. I assist adoptions with dog-to-dog visits as well as helping people with difficult training problems in private consultations. I am a Behavior & Training administrative associate as well as a shelter dog evaluator.

What behaviors and/or training do you specialize in?
I like working with people whose unruly dogs need a job! Dogs that are having anxiety problems, leash aggression/reactivity issues are some of the things I’m best at. I have competed in Obedience, Agility and Nosework and worked with my dog Molly (a hurricane Katrina rescue) as a Detection Dog looking for illegal dumping of waste.

How did life guide you to a career with animals?
My first dog, Kym, was a rescue who’d been so badly abused that her spine was crooked. She gave me my passion for training and through the years I’ve learned more from every dog I’ve had or worked with. My current dogs include two rescues, Molly and Paula, and a Border Collie named Phlip. All dogs have competed in Agility, the two rescues have also done Nosework. Our favorite activity as a family is to hike and swim in as many places in Northern California as we can get to!


Dawn KovellDawn Kovell-sq

What do you do at Marin Humane?
I am the Director of the Behavior & Training Department. I teach Family Dog obedience classes, levels 1 – 5. I also teach an assortment of workshops, conduct private behavior consultations for problem behaviors, and teach private lessons to improve handler skills or teach unusual behaviors like Search and Rescue alerts.

What behaviors and/or training do you specialize in?
I specialize in sport dog training, motivation and advanced obedience. I have competed in Flyball, Agility and Obedience and have dabbled in Schutzhund, Dock Diving, and Tracking. I work with many problematic and unusual behaviors. As I often find myself living with larger than necessary numbers and types of animals, I am also a fair hand with multi-species co-habitation issues.

How did life guide you to a career with animals?
I grew up on a farm in rural Ohio with Quarter horses, Holstein cattle, dogs and a lot of cats. Unfortunately, farms tend to be a prime “dumping ground” for unwanted dogs with behavior problems so dogs with issues were my “normal.” Although I have extensive education and an early career in business and finance, it turns out that working with animals is what comes naturally.


Betsy McGeeBetsy McGee-sq

What do you do at Marin Humane?
I teach Senior Handling classes and provide in-home senior behavior consultations.  I am also a dog and cat evaluator.

What behaviors and/or training do you specialize in?
I enjoy working personally with clients and their dogs so both can live harmoniously together.

How did life guide you to a career with animals?
I grew up with dogs and cats, but didn’t have them as an adult until I was in my 30s. My first two dogs were puppies, only seven weeks apart in age! Dog training classes at Marin Humane became a necessity. Soon after I began volunteering as a dog training assistant. I became an instructor a few years later, and I’ve now been at Marin Humane for more than 30 years. I’ve had many other roles during that time, and what I’ve enjoyed the most is helping people live happily with their pets.


Amy McPhersonAmy McPherson-sq

What do you do at Marin Humane?
I teach family dog classes including puppy and adolescent specific classes.

What behaviors and/or training do you specialize in?
My background is in assistance dog training and I continue to work in that area whenever I get the opportunity. Most often, my area of specialty is helping families integrate their beloved dog.

How did life guide you to a career with animals?
I think what most guided me to a career working with animals, was the fact that my parents didn’t allow me to have a dog. I’m making up for lost time and offering my children a different life experience.


Katie Rogers

What do you do at Marin Humane?
I teach Beginning Puppy, Puppy/Adolescent Social Scene, Family Dog 1, 2 3 and Small Dog 1.

What behaviors and/or training do you specialize in?
I am a clicker trainer! I love to focus on clear communication with the dogs and handlers so everyone can be successful.  I find great joy in helping dog/handler teams see the best in one another.

How did life guide you to a career with animals?
Animals have been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. My mom says I was “raised by golden retrievers….several of them.” It wasn’t until after college that I discovered dog training as a career path, and I have never looked back!


Karen SchuerholzKaren Schuerholz-sq

What do you do at Marin Humane?
I teach mainly in Corte Madera and Mill Valley. I teach Beginning Puppy, Family Dog 1 and 2, Small Dog 1 and 2, Recall Madness, Obedience Tune up, Jumpers and Pullers, and Senior Handling.

What behaviors and or training do you specialize in?
I love teaching dog body language, obedience, and working with reactive dogs. Helping each student understand their dog is at the core of my classes. Patience is the key to solving and understanding many problems we have with our dogs. Communicating clearly with dogs is my goal for teaching all my classes. Once we know what we’re asking of our dogs and how they’re responding, a better relationship develops.

How did life guide you to a career with animals?
I’ve always been an animal lover. Following the loss of Oscar, my 125 lb. Chocolate Lab Shepherd, I started working at Marin Humane  as a volunteer.  Since 1998, I’ve worked as an Adoption Counselor, then in the Behavior and Training department assisting in evaluating dogs, behavior consults, screening dogs for the shelter, and fostering. I love to help people better understand animals — what they are telling us and improving their relationships. When I retired from advertising sales, I immersed myself in dog training. I’m a graduate of the Marin Humane Canine Behavior Academy Levels I and II and regularly attend canine seminars, workshops and Clicker training workshops. I have turned my life’s passion into my dream job.


Karen SchwartzKaren Schwartz-sq

What do you do at Marin Humane?
I teach Agility, Tricks, Trail Manners and Family Dog classes.

What behaviors and/or training do you specialize in?
I compete in Nosework and Masters Agility.

How did life guide you to a career with animals?
I grew up in New Jersy around a horse barn with many dogs and cats. I trained and competed in horse events in high school. I fell in love with dogs when I adopted my first one from Marin Humane. I like to combine my love of the outdoors and working with animals and their humans.


Paula Skelton

What do you do at Marin Humane?
I teach Family Dog classes, am a Feline Behaviorist, and provide relief shifts in the Spay/Neuter clinic.

What behaviors and/or training do you specialize in?
Making people and pets happy.

How did life guide you to a career with animals?
When I was a kid, I fell in love with the poodles across the street, and they in turn fell in love with me. As a child, I bonded with their goofiness and kinky curly hair. At age 12, I was ecstatic when I was given Corky, one of Fifi’s puppies.We had always had family dogs — a terrier mix and Pekingese — but this was my dog!

From the relationship with my new puppy grew a host of career choices — veterinary medicine, dog grooming and dog training. In 1982, I graduated from college and became a Registered Veterinary Technician. Along with working veterinary emergency medicine at night,  I attended the SFSPCA grooming school by day. A few years later my job emphasis shifted from private veterinary hospitals to working in the shelter environment and I started teaching puppy classes. From there, grew an interest in canine behavior, and I attended the Marin Humane Behavior Academy.

Through the years I’ve lived with many rescue dogs, both large and small.  Now I share my home with three little rescue dogs,  Trudie (miniature poodle mix), Honeybear (Pomeranian mix) and Amber (Chihuahua). The last 10 years or so, I began a love affair with feral kittens, having rescued, tamed, and placed hundreds of kittens in new homes. Feline behavior became a new interest and adventure for me. My three dogs are excellent canine ambassadors and share their home with many feline friends.


Robin TerryRobin Terry-sq

What do you do at Marin Humane?
I’m an Agility instructor

How did life guide you to a career with animals?
My main career is in biomedical engineering, but I’ve loved training animals since my first dog, an English Springer Spaniel named Casey. My current dog, Cassie, has taught me tons about teaching dogs to critically think, clicker training, focus, and drive. She’s my first agility dog, but certainly not my last.

What behaviors and/or training do you specialize in?
I enjoy teaching motion-based handling.


Ali VorhiesAli Vorhies-sq

What do you do at Marin Humane?
I teach Family Dog classes, along with Beginning Puppy and Adolescent Puppy Social Scene classes.

What behaviors and/or training do you specialize in?
My emphasis is on keeping training fun for all involved. I love watching the relationship of the dog to the handler grow stronger through respectful training.

How did life guide you to a career with animals?
It was through training my own dogs in agility and water performance sports that I became hooked on learning as much as possible about dog behavior and training. I’ve been fortunate to have had a few wonderful mentors and teachers along my path.


Beth Weil

What do you do at Marin Humane?
I am the Feline Behavior Coordinator and teach Feline Environment Enrichment, How To Train Your Cat, Cats and Dogs Living in Harmony, and Cat Care Workshops. I evaluate shelter cats and conduct private feline behavior consultations.

What behaviors and/or training do you specialize in?
I enjoy improving people’s relationship with their cats. Many folks don’t realize that training your cat is a great way to improve your communication and your relationship with your cat. It helps you both speak the same language.  Since cats aren’t pack animals they have harder time than dogs knowing what we want from them. If we don’t train them, they will train us to do what they want! I spend a lot of time helping people with their cats’ litter box issues and understanding their cat’s perspective on the new dog in the house.

How did life guide you to a career with animals?
I grew up with cats and dogs and horses. I thought I wanted to be a veterinarian but realized that animal behavior was my passion. I attended UC Davis where I majored in Zoology. If you believed animals had emotions in the 70’s it was difficult to have a career in animal behavior, so I was an academic biology librarian for many years. I got involved in cat rescue and behavior after my 20- year-old kitty passed away and I was looking for new felines. Once I retired from the university I was able to expand my volunteer cat behavior work at Marin Humane and join the Behavior & Training team.


Kathy WellsKathy Wells-sq

What do you do at Marin Humane?
I teach Family Dog classes.

How did life guide you to a career with animals?
After taking dog Family Dog 1 and 2, I volunteered as a Dog Training Assistant at Marin Humane. Several years later (after adding a female Catahoula to the household) I learned that sometimes multiple female dogs are not the easiest to live with! Volunteering in the Behavior & Training Department and completing  Marine Humane Canine Behavior Academy has taught me many tools to help manage my pack.