Connect With Us! 785-478-9412 

Meet the dda team.


Management Team


Dog Day Team

Julie Castaneda

Founder, Owner

I'm originally from Glendale Calif, but have called Kansas my home for 35 years. My husband Phil and I have been raising our 9 children in the Topeka community since 1997.  Most of our kids are grown and many have children of their own.  A few have stayed close to home, helping here on the Doggie Dude Ranch.
I enjoy trail riding on my horses all over the country and camping in remote wilderness areas.  I love the outdoors and nature, spending time with my dogs. My competitive nature keeps me barrel racing and I hope one day to race to a world championship.
I have several animals in my menagerie: the dogs are Helena, Indy, Uno, Sar, Rolyn, Beau and James. I also have two cats, Kix and Birch and 6 horses, Tutti, Stella, Red, Joy, Rosa and Smokey.
I love what Dog Day Afternoon has become; providing the best in dog care and socialization that has set a standard for the Dog Daycare industry.  Our model has been copied time and again by daycares in the area and throughout the Midwest.
We have a great staff of dynamic individuals who work together as a team to provide high quality dog care with passion and professionalism.  I'm so proud to have such a dedicated team.

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RIKAE GARCIA

Facility Manager, Doggie Dude Ranch

When did you start at DDA?
• When I was 10 years old.
How many pets do you have?
• 3 Dogs: Mac, Gauge and Riple
• 1 Chinchilla: Cheech
• 1 Snapping Turtle: Sniper
• 1 Aquatic Turtle: Minnow
• 1 Cat: Molly
What originally drew you to DDA? How has that changed since?
• It's the family business and that hasn't changed!
Before working at DDA, what was the most interesting job you’ve ever had?
• I was a waitress.
What do you find most challenging about your job?
• Remembering the PEOPLE names.
What part about your role do you enjoy the most?
• Bossing everyone around.
What’s the first lesson you remember learning at DDA?
• That dogs come first!
Most embarrassing moment at DDA?
• Singing The Sound of Music and a client walked in.

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JESSICA TARWATER

Facility Manager, Pet Ranch & Resort

Overnight Staff

When did you start at DDA?
• December 2015
How many pets do you have?
• 1 Cat: Sharknado "Hunter"
• 1 Child: Roman
What originally drew you to DDA? How has that changed since?
• Dogs! When I first joined the DDA team, I was so excited to play with dogs all day. I've learned, since then, that it's so much more than that.
What do you find most challenging about your job?
• Multitasking at the front desk, and getting up early isn't my favorite thing.
What part about your role do you enjoy the most?
• I enjoy watching the shy dogs open up and trust us and learn to love daycare. It doesn't always happen, but it's really great when you can get a timid dog involved in the fun.
What’s the first lesson you remember learning at DDA?
• The day will never go the way you planned. Learn to roll with the Punches.

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RACHEL PUNCHES

Marketing & Events Manager

When did you start at DDA?
• July 2012
How many pets do you have?
• 3 Dogs: Tonks, Optimus and Willow
• 2 Chinchillas: BeeBop & RockSteady
What originally drew you to DDA? How has that changed since?
• The idea of a doggie daycare intrigued me. I now know that there is a lot more to it, and a lot more to dogs than I thought!
Before working at DDA, what was the most interesting job you’ve ever had?
• I worked for Disney ABC Television in Burbank.
What do you find most challenging about your job?
• When long time dog clients cross the rainbow bridge. They begin to feel like a part of your life too and it’s hard to lose your friends.
What part about your role do you enjoy the most?
• I love hearing from the clients about how much they love the pictures and activities that we do. I especially love when we can give a boarding dog’s parent some relief or a smile through our ConnectCARE program.
What’s the first lesson you remember learning at DDA?
• No matter what your position, no one is too good for any job. The owner of the company will wash kennel trays right alongside of support staff if that’s what is needed for us to succeed for the day.
Most embarrassing moment at DDA?
• I've ripped a few pairs of pants in compromising places. It turns out duct tape CANNOT fix everything!

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Devan Garcia

Training Manager

Devan joined the DDA staff full time in 2011 and began management and training of their facilities in 2012. Devan has taken several classes on dog language and has helped to develop a dog handlers training guide. Devan has also traveled around the country helping owners and their staff in training and development. Devan is proud to be a part of a growing and exciting industry where education of dogs and owners is a must.

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ALLISON SHORE

Dog Handler

When did you start at DDA?
• 2005
How many pets do you have?
• 2 Boston Terriers: Popeye & Fancy
What originally drew you to DDA? How has that changed since?
• A little classified ad asking "Do you love dogs?" Now, I'm drawn to the endless possibilities of the pet care industry. I want to be here when DDA helps shape the future of the industry.
Before working at DDA, what was the most interesting job you’ve ever had?
• Tattoo Shop receptionist
What do you find most challenging about your job?
• Spending yeaars getting to know a dog, then hearing they have passed away. Dogs should live forever.
What part about your role do you enjoy the most?
• Quiet sunrises alone with the dogs, listening to the world wake up.
What’s the first lesson you remember learning at DDA?
• COUNT. YOUR. DOGS. Savage dogs pulls are SAVAGE!
Most embarrassing moment at DDA?
• Anytime a client catches me singing and dancing with the dogs when I open in the morning. So, like, everyday.

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CHELSEA IVES

Dog Handler

When did you start at DDA?
• September 2014
How many pets do you have?
• 2 Dogs: Sarge & Sydney
• 1 Cat: Holly
What originally drew you to DDA? How has that changed since?
• A wanted ad online that I thought sounded interesting. I love my coworkers and our training is amazing. Our wonderful client's dogs won me over in a heartbeat! Even now, I count my lucky stars that I was accepted into such an amazing line of work.
Before working at DDA, what was the most interesting job you’ve ever had?
• In college, I helped a grad student out with her project. We tracked the populations of small mammals in correlation to the populations of prairie dogs and birds of prey.
What do you find most challenging about your job?
• Not as much of a challenge, but figuring out the way that each dog learns commands or functions in a group is interesting.
What part about your role do you enjoy the most?
• The bonds I build with dogs. It is an amazing privilege to get to interact with these great dogs on a regular basis!
What’s the first lesson you remember learning at DDA?
• Dog body language! I remember leaving a training session thinking, "Ill never look at dogs the same way again!"
Most embarrassing moment at DDA?
• One time, I wore the wrong shoes to work and I've been known to have some pretty funny falls. I'm pretty clumsy!

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Heather Westfall

Bunkhouse Staff

When did you start at DDA?
• December 26, 2015
How many pets do you have?
• 4 Dogs: Colby, Darwin, Luke & Rowan
• 4 Cats: Deanna, Sasha, Calyn & Raven
• 1 Gecko: Dunkin
What originally drew you to DDA? How has that changed since?
• Working at a dog daycare with highly intelligent staff, family oriented place of business.
What do you find most challenging about your job?
• Reading the dogs to get a sense of how they are feeling.
What part about your role do you enjoy the most?
• Spending time with the dogs!
What’s the first lesson you remember learning at DDA?
• Do not stare at or talk to a dog that is feeling scared, shy or uneasy.
Most embarrassing moment at DDA?
• Getting caught singing.

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Isi Castaneda

Overnight Staff

When did you start at DDA?
• August 2016
How many pets do you have?
• 1 Cat: Birch
What do you find most challenging about your job?
• Lack of sleep.
What part about your role do you enjoy the most?
• Being the only person responsible.
What’s the first lesson you remember learning at DDA?
• Dog come first.

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Katelyn Schmidtlein

Dog Handler

When did you start at DDA?
• July 23, 2015
How many pets do you have?
• 3 Dogs: Buddy, Jack & Lou
• 2 Ducks: Edgar & Winston
What originally drew you to DDA? How has that changed since?
• Looking for a job that I would enjoy every day and be with animals. Hasn't changed! I love it more than I imagined I would!
What do you find most challenging about your job?
• Learning to let go & move on after a furry client passes.
What part about your role do you enjoy the most?
• Being outside with the dogs!
What’s the first lesson you remember learning at DDA?
• PATIENCE!
Most embarrassing moment at DDA?
• Phone falling out of my pocket and into a scoop bucket.
• Dog ran into the back of my legs and I totally fell flat on my back!

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Kelly Palmer

Groomer

When did you start at DDA?
• November 2016
How many pets do you have?
• 7 Dogs, 10 Horses, 3 Cats, 4 Chickens, 5 Goats, 5 Ponies, a Rabbit & a Pigeon.
What originally drew you to DDA? How has that changed since?
• The grooming.
Before working at DDA, what was the most interesting job you’ve ever had?
• Shearing goats.
What do you find most challenging about your job?
• Big dogs.
What part about your role do you enjoy the most?
• I enjoy the transformation of a groomed dog. The before and after.
What’s the first lesson you remember learning at DDA?
• Be honest, shine your light.

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Luke Shoemaker

Dog Handler

When did you start at DDA?
• June 2012
How many pets do you have?
• 1 Dog: Milo
What originally drew you to DDA? How has that changed since?
• Unemployment. Lol. Learning handling skills over the last 5 years has helped me find what I believe to be my true passion/purpose...bettering the lives of dogs.
Before working at DDA, what was the most interesting job you’ve ever had?
• Wheat harvest.
What do you find most challenging about your job?
• Keeping up with the elements. We handle on the hottest and coolest days. Rain, snow or shine.
What part about your role do you enjoy the most?
• Hearing feedback from clients about positive behavior changes to their dog that stem from the work we do in group.
What’s the first lesson you remember learning at DDA?
• TWO piles of poop is TOO many.

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Makayla Stover

Front Desk Staff, Dog Handler

When did you start at DDA?
• 2015
How many pets do you have?
• 1 Cat: Nala
• 4 Dogs: Abby, Bella, Presley & Bridgett
What originally drew you to DDA? How has that changed since?
• I love animals. Dogs are my LIFE!
What do you find most challenging about your job?
• When dogs pass away.
What part about your role do you enjoy the most?
• Meeting new dogs.
What’s the first lesson you remember learning at DDA?
• The Five Words: Come, sit, wait, leave it, off

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Shyanne Osterhaus

Front Desk Staff, Dog Handler

When did you start at DDA?
• April 2015
How many pets do you have?
• 2 Dogs: Kenai & Smoky
• 1 Guinea Pig: Porkie
What originally drew you to DDA? How has that changed since?
• My aunt brought her bloodhound, Buster, here for years and we saw another location was opening. Plus, I just love dogs.
What do you find most challenging about your job?
• Multi-tasking, especially on Saturdays.
What part about your role do you enjoy the most?
• The reunion of dogs and owners at the end of each day or a boarding stay.
What’s the first lesson you remember learning at DDA?
• Don't reach into a kennel to take a dog's collar off if they growl at you. You will get bit.
Most embarrassing moment at DDA?
• I did not do a very good job about hiding the fact that I thought a client was attractive when he came in to get his dog.

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Sidney Davis

Front Desk Staff, Dog Handler

When did you start at DDA?
• July 2015
How many pets do you have?
• 1 Dog: Gator
What originally drew you to DDA? How has that changed since?
• Obviously, my love for dogs!
What do you find most challenging about your job?
• Dealing with large groups of dogs can be hard.
What part about your role do you enjoy the most?
• The bond I have with some of the dogs.
What’s the first lesson you remember learning at DDA?
• The five commands...come, sit, wait, leave it, off.
Most embarrassing moment at DDA?
• When I put "Martain" on the roll call for a week, not knowing it was spelled "Martin."

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Enroll With Us!

We can't wait to meet you and your pet!

Enroll Online

Southwest

Doggie Dude Ranch
785-478-9412
8235 1/2 SW 10th Ave
Topeka, KS 66615

Southwest Hours

Monday - Friday
6:00 am - 6:00 pm

Saturday

8:00 am - 12:00pm
2:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Sunday
9 am - 11 am
4 pm - 6 pm

North

Pet Ranch & Resort
785-338-1852 
121 NE US Highway 24
Topeka, KS 66617

North Hours

Monday - Friday
6:00 am - 8:00 pm

Saturday & Sunday
9 am - Noon
3 pm - 6 pm