The Doggy Lama Pet Care Team
Many team members have been with Molly almost as long as she's been running Doggy Lama Pet Care. As our reputation and experience have grown, we've been fortunate to hire folks who bring a broad range of experiences, kindness, and creativity to pet care. Click on each team member to learn more about him or her.
Molly Kenefick–Owner and Founder
Due to her father's allergies, Molly's childhood pet was an Eastern box turtle. Perhaps in reaction to her need for companionship from a more expressively affectionate pet, she became the neighborhood dog walker at a young age. Molly explored several other careers before she decided to leave the office cubicle. She has no regrets. Molly joins the walkers and their packs on the trails nearly every day. She currently shares her home with a husky/golden retriever mix, a black pug, and a chihuahua. Before she started Doggy Lama, Molly lived on a boat for five years with her cat and dog. Her business is named after her longtime companion, Dakota the husky mix, who was also known as The Doggy Lama.
Our office manager, Beanie, is a native San Franciscan who has fallen head over heels for the East Bay. She has always had complicated jobs--helping foster youth transition into adulthood, coordinating the distribution of organic produce thoughout the Bay Area, and managing the all-important flow of beer from a local brewery to the community, but the job she loves best is pairing great walkers up with great dogs and supporting our wonderful clients. Beanie currently lives with her tiny orange soulmate, Nora James the cat.
Brian comes from a large, close-knit family in San Leandro. Brian tells us that the family's three dogs work as a team to get food off the kitchen counters! Brian swam competitively for fifteen years and coached swimming for seven. Since he worked in a local restaurant for several years, some of the time as a sous chef, Brian wears the chef's apron at any family gathering and is also a very good tipper! As a child, Brian remembers riding on top of his family's giant tortoise, which was in his family for forty or fifty years. His favorite trail on which to hike dogs is the ridgeline trail in Strawberry Canyon.
Don't mess with Debbie--she was a Teamster in a former life! One year after retiring from her job of almost thirty years of driving a bread truck, Debbie found that walking her own dogs and her foster dogs wasn't enough to keep her busy, and began doing on-leash dog walks part time. Two years later, Debbie "out-walks" most people we know, and takes one or two dogs at a time out on adventures at the Emeryville Marina, Mountain View Cemetery, or on the leafy sidewalks of Piedmont. Debbie has some of the most enticing dog treats around, which, combined with her "happy voice" keeps dogs smiling at her side. Her personal record is nine (separate) dog walks in a day--she says she sleeps well every night! If you're not already impressed, ask Debbie about her next bike touring trip.
Dorothy has been Molly's friend for two decades, so when she told Molly she wanted to quit her office-bound bookkeeping job and get out in the sunshine, Molly was excited to bring her into the fold. Dorothy and her husband have a "Brady Bunch" of a family with a combined six children and ten grandchildren, which she says has honed her adaptability. Dorothy specializes in puppy care and especially loves when she gets to meet with trainers to learn how to use positive-reinforcement training to help puppies become happy, stable adult dogs who are comfortable in a wide variety of settings.
Fabrizzio grew up in a beach town in northern Chile, where he and his family had a series of beloved pet dogs rescued from the street. He has worked in the hospitality industry and at a grooming salon, but his favorite job is taking dogs on adventures in the East Bay hills and to the beach. His own dog is Sugar Bear, a senior mini-poodle who naps on a veritable "princess-and-the-pea" stack of beds. Fabrizzio is Molly's walking and boarding assistant and especially loves spoiling senior dogs with long petting and brushing sessions. In his spare time he works via Facebook to improve knowledge about and treatment for stray and pet dogs in Latin America, especially in Chile.
Gina walked dogs in SF and Marin professionally for two years before she joined our team. Since Gina is a professional comedian and storyteller, you might find yourself laughing as she tells you the tragi/comedy about how she tried to help her neighbor exercise the his adopted purebred wolf or the time the dog she was boarding in her home opened her oven and removed and ate the twenty-dollar steak she had just put in there to cook! Gina and her preteen daughter get snuggles from their indoor cats and are actively involved with Fix Our Ferals' Spay-Neuter-Release program--they feed 13 "outside cats."
Heather was an attorney for 25+ years doing public-defense type work before she decided she would lawyer only half time to have a more relaxed life. We're so lucky she came to work with us. Fresh from the Dog Walking Academy, Heather gushed that it was her most useful and fun educational experience. Her hobbies are dancing to and making Scottish music (she's a fiddler) and taking long backpacking trips.
Jacob grew up around a variety of animals and cared for many while working on ranches in California's Central Valley, where he grew up. He studied fine arts and English literature in college with an interest in education. Jacob says he fell into working with dogs almost by chance and was able to combine his teaching interests with his love of animals. For the four years before he began walking dogs with us, he worked at several Bay Area doggy daycare facilities where he handled groups of dogs, trained dogs and their guardians, and managed an entire facility. Jacob says this is his favorite dog-related job. For some reason, his packs are almost completely comprised of huskies and labradors!
Jasmine came to us with ten years of pet sitting and on-leash dog walking. She is a bit of a dog behavior nerd and reads books by science-based, positive-reinforcement dog trainers in her spare time. When she's not hiking groups of happy dogs in the hills, she is probably at band practice, (she is in several bands,) or honing her skateboarding skills.
Bio to come
Jen grew up on an Illinois farm where they had horses, ponies, pigs, sheep, cows, geese, ducks, dogs, and up to thirty barn cats at a time. She retired from AT&T where she was a service technician for 27 years—climbing up and down telephone poles with 30 pounds of tools on her belt! (She says working with dogs is easy and pleasurable in comparison.) Jen walks individual dogs and small groups. In her free time, she loves to redecorate her home and is “addicted” to the home decorating channel. She shares the couch in her home with three cats and three dogs.
Jeysi is an Oakland native with experience with family dogs ranging from small to extra large. She was thrilled to find that her training at the Dog Walking Academy allowed her to understand her family's dogs' behavior. Jeysi left the beauty industry to explore the natural beauty of the outdoors. She has been very committed to her dance troupe dance for the past five years. They do dance battles that incorporate acrobatic quebradita, (her favorite,) as well as bachata, salsa, banda, and cumbia.
Jolie worked as a San Francisco dog walker for four years before she crossed the Bay to rock East Bay dogs' worlds. She loves socializing dogs to people and other dogs using only positive behavior modification to shape dogs' behavior. She is the director of a nonprofit woodworking school that encourages women and people of color to learn fine woodworking.
Kathleen (or Kat for short) grew up on her family's small, organic farm in Indiana, where she helped take care of cows, chickens, pigs, rabbits, and goats. Kat received a B.A. in Peace Studies, and although she loved her subsequent work in homeless shelters and with community peace groups, she went back to school for a degree in veterinary technology in order to make a living. After more than 20 years as a vet tech in small animal hospitals, Kat left the office environment behind when she swapped catheters and stethoscopes for leashes and hiking boots. When not hiking in the hills with her pack, Kat listens to NPR and snuggles with cat and two dogs.
Dog walker Kristen spent two years wrangling dogs in a San Francisco doggie day care before she came to walk dogs for us eight years ago. She and her paramour have two rescue pit bulls, Bully and Mako, who would sleep all day if given the opportunity. Kristen once had a bunny named Albatross who was a "testament to learned behavior—" he grew up with dogs and seemed to think he was a dog—he was potty-trained and joined the actual dogs in the family at the door to greet family members when they came home! Kristen has studied and performed ethnic dance professionally for a dozen years—including in Cuba, Haiti, Ghana, India, Palestine, and Tajikistan. We love to see Kristen perform at local events.
Lily loves hiking and trail running with her rescue dogs, all three of whom originally came from Taiwan. In her spare time, Lily loves cooking and is currently exploring bread baking. She's been making food for herself since kindergarten. During the school year, Lily studies architecture at Cal Poly, so our clients only get the benefit of her gentle touch and mindful attention on school breaks, but we're always grateful to have her helping out when school scheduling allows.
Lucia came to us nine years ago with a decade of dog walking and training. She completed dog training school in Texas and loves teaching dogs fun tricks. Lucia has two rescue dogs of her own, a pit bull and a chihuahua mix. Someday Lucia hopes to have her own rescue organization, but she volunteers extensively with local rescue groups, usually fostering bully breed mixes. If Lucia looks a little sleepy on her morning hike, it might be because she was awake multiple times during the night to bottle-feed young puppies. One of those rare native San Franciscans, it took Lucia a few years to get used to the lack of fog over here in the East Bay, but she has finally come to enjoy sunshine. Lucia loves to take long road trips with her dogs.
Matt studied creative writing in college so it doesn't surprise us that clients tell us he writes some of the most entertaining dog walk reports around. After college, Matt traveled in South America for six months, including a month volunteering on a wildlife refuge in Bolivia where, believe it or not, he was asked to give the resident rescued spectacled bear a daily walk. This involved full concentration and situational awareness--there was no way to daydream and also be safe! With bear-walking experience under his belt, Matt decided he would like to become a dog walker. Matt joined our team after he and Molly met at the Advanced Dog Walking Academy.
Mike, originally from Southern California, says he is happy to have come up North where he finally feels at home. Mike went to school in Northern Arizona, where he worked all four years on the maintenance crew. In the winter, he had to shovel snow all day, but his most unusual memory was the time he and the other crew members had to find a fellow student's escaped snake. It took two days but eventually they tracked it down in the building's heating ducts. Mike walks groups of dogs in the Berkeley and Oakland hills, and he has some of the most active small girl dogs we've ever seen, including a pug named Ellie that does a wild hare impression you wouldn't believe. Being from So Cal and AZ, Mike's seen a lot of rattlesnakes, thankfully none while working for us. Mike has a degree in restaurant hospitality, and his dream is to open a brew pub. I think we can predict that Mike's brew pub will be a dog-friendly destination!
Nicki spent five years working at a large boarding kennel in Marin, where she became certified as an Advanced Pet Care Technician, before she joined us to do group walks for small dogs and drop-in visits for kitties. In her spare time, Nicki reads and writes and enjoys live music. She has two kitties, a bunny, and a rescue pitbull mix at home—don’t tell her about animals that need a home—she has a soft spot the size of Texas for hard-luck cases!
When Nora went on a five-month volunteer trip to Kenya, she amassed nine dogs, a cat, and a rabbit. The animal floodgates had opened! When she returned home, her first rescue showed up, a tiny black kitty that turned out to be feral. Living together this past decade has been wild, but also snuggly. Another black kitty in need of a home also appeared and joined the mix. Over the years Nora has rescued and re-homed a number of stray or abandoned cats. Though she is a cat whisperer, she loves dogs too, and enjoys in-home visits and neighborhood walks for those animals that do best with a little more individualized TLC. Nora’s background is in creative writing and editing. She teaches local creative writing classes, edits manuscripts, and works as a writing and editorial consultant for businesses. Working with animals has brought her joy and balance, and she feels lucky to be spending part of her days somewhere other than a computer screen!
Bio to come
Sasha has been an animal lover since a very young age, and has shared her home with dogs and cats since she was old enough to talk. When she was just nine years old she started her own dog walking company, and soon had six neighborhood clients! Since moving to the Bay Area for college, she worked with animals in a variety of settings, from doggy day care to an animal shelter, and now with us. Sasha currently shares her home with Tanuki the Pomeranian rescue. Sasha's favorite urban dog walk spot is the Emeryville Marina, and in her free time she practices aerial silks at her gym.
TJ has been been deeply connected to dogs and cats for as long as he can remember. (His family's household always had more rescued cats and dogs than children--and there were six children.) For a couple decades TJ was a musician and writer, but has more recently worked professionally as a dog walker, dog trainer, and training supervisor. TJ has soft spots for challenging high-drive dogs, senior dogs, and total goofballs. TJ does human massage and is initiated in Second Degree Reiki. With this "hands on" base, it's been natural to connect with dogs and cats through offering respectful, calming touch, which has led TJ to start getting certified in canine massage. TJ is thrilled to be a part of Doggy Lama's caring, positive-only approach.
Lucky dogs get leash walks and fortunate kitties get drop-in visits from Vanessa, who left the corporate world to join the furry set. She has an impressive Oakland pedigree—she comes from a family of educators and community activists, and although Vanessa has traveled around the globe twice, she loves her hometown of Oakland best. One Vanessa pet care secret she is willing to share is that she sprays her sneakers with catnip spray before visiting a new kitty!
Wally was a client of ours before he began walking dogs as part of our team (his small dog Bertie spent a weekend at Molly's house and astonished Molly with her ability to take up as much room on her bed as an average greyhound). Originally from Southern California, Wally is a recording engineer by trade and has run his own pro studio in the bay area for the last 25 years. In his spare time he plays surf (and other) music and makes abstract driftwood art as a hobby. Wally loves to take his canine companions on long exhilarating walks.
Bio to come
"Molly helped us turn our anxious, anti-social (non-aggressive) dog into one of the most well adjusted social dogs around!"
-Lauren D. on Berkeley Parents Network