- Brian Bergford
- Sarah Clusman
- Tucker Eurman
- Tibor Feigel
- Rafi Fontan
- Christina Gorke
- Emily Grossheider
- Connie Johnson
- Mike Kaviani
- Trish McMillan Loehr
- Joe Long
- Aimee Sadler
- Kodi Sadler
- Annie Schupp
- Carly Shivers
Brian Bergford is a Certified Dog Trainer (IACP-CDT) with extensive experience as a practicing dog behavior specialist. He serves on the Board of Directors for the International Association of Canine Professionals and is the owner of Altitude Dog Training (www.altitudedogtraining.com) and Uptown Dog in Longmont, Colorado. His expertise is the interplay between dog behavior and human psychology, and his first book, Transformational Dog Training: Bring Out the Best in Your Dog by Bringing Out the Best in Yourself, emphasizes the critical relationship between personal development and the behavioral stability of companion animals.
Brian earned his degree in Psychology from the University of Colorado, taking particular interest in neuroscience, psychopathology, clinical psychology, and the principles of human psychology and personal performance. His passion for helping people and dogs drove him to expand his knowledge base by studying the principles of Canine Psychology and Behavior as well – a journey that helped him understand not only the human-canine bond but how each of us can maximize the peace and potential of our lives and share these benefits with our dogs.
Brian has been working with dogs since 2002. His ability to interpret canine energy, body language, and cognitive processes has enabled him to develop effective communication strategies to accomplish not only advanced obedience work with dogs, but effective behavior modification as well. Brian particularly enjoys working with packs of dogs and helping rehabilitate dogs with behavioral issues. It has been a great joy and honor for Brian to do advanced volunteering work with Longmont Humane Society’s Behavior Department for a number of years. Brian is also a Volhard Dog Nutrition consultant, and this additional specialization in nutrition and holistic health modalities adds greater depth and sophistication to his insight about canine behavior.
Having the opportunity to work with Aimee Sadler and the Dogs Playing for Life team is something Brian is tremendously grateful for. Traveling to different parts of the country as an instructor and assisting shelters with the implementation of off leash play groups has been an incredibly rewarding experience. He firmly believes in the mission of Dogs Playing for Life, and has witnessed time and again the transformational impact it is having on animal welfare through promoting canine enrichment in shelters, increasing live release rates, and helping educate staff members, volunteers and the public alike.
Sarah Clusman began working with shelter animals at Longmont Humane Society in 1999. At that time, she volunteered training dogs and also taught children to train shelter dogs. In 2002, she became LHS’ Volunteer Coordinator, growing their volunteer base from 35 to almost 400 weekly volunteers. It was at this time that Sarah met Aimee Sadler, DPFL Founder, and Sarah had the opportunity to work together with Aimee to build the LHS Training & Behavior Department. As T&B Coordinator, Sarah was responsible for establishing behavior modification protocols, instructing trainers and volunteers in training and learning theory, running dog play groups, while specializing in dog to dog aggression cases, and private in-home training. At the onset of 2012, Sarah advanced to Director of Shelter and Clinic Operations at Longmont Humane Society managing adoptions, admissions, kennel and animal care, volunteer and transfer departments, and both shelter and public veterinary clinics. During this time, Sarah advanced LHS’ overall live release rate to over 95% with a canine length of stay to two weeks, while remaining an open admission shelter accepting transfers of behavior, and non-behavior, dogs from around the country. Sarah also deployed for the ASPCA Behavior Team assisting the Field, Investigative and Response team with caring for abuse cases.
Excited to return working with Aimee and in support of Dogs Playing for Life mission, Sarah joined DPFL as Chief Operations Officer in August of 2017 managing operations at DPFL’s National Canine Center as well as DPFL’s other programs and services. Sarah has two amazing daughters, Cassie and Sam, and lives in Longmont, Colorado with her patient husband, Ray, and their three adopted dogs, Larry, Misu and Tali.
Tucker Eurman was born and raised in Santa Barbara, CA. His career in Animal Welfare began with his childhood German Shepherd, Cody. One summer, Cody caught a foxtail in his paw while tromping through brush. Over the course of a few months, and after many surgeries, the last trace of the foxtail that had travelle midway up his arm was finally removed. Tucker spent many evenings watching the Veterinarian with wide-eyes and intrigue. She recognized his interest, and at 15 years old, he was offered a job cleaning and prepping the hospital after school. He would ride his bicycle from school to the hospital, and spent every second he could watching and learning. After five years there, Tucker had grown from the Kennel Attendant to one of the head Vet Techs- assisting with surgery, taking x-rays, monitoring anesthesia, with his passion lying in the emergency cases that came in.
He decided that even with his love of animals, Law Enforcement was his true calling. He went to college to study Criminal Justice, and worked toward joining the local Police force, but always felt connected to the animal world. While applying for Police agencies, Tucker spent a year apprenticing with a busy farrier in the Santa Ynez Valley. He travelled ranch-to- ranch horseshoeing show and racehorses, taking the skills he had learned from the vet hospital and applying them with large, testy stallions and thoroughbreds.
Tucker began volunteering at his local humane society, and was quickly scooped up by their Large Animal Technical Rescue Team in 2012. He enjoyed rock climbing as a hobby, and with his experience with horses found rope rescue to be a great fit. He assisted with multiple rescues, including pulling horses from an overturned trailer and rappelling down a cliff face to rescue a horse that had slipped off a trail. Tucker was then offered a full-time position at the Santa Barbara Humane Society to help coordinate rescue trainings and work with the shelter animals. He worked with local emergency agencies to coordinate disaster and rescue trainings, as well as spent time researching and learning about Large Animal Rescue. In 2016 Tucker attended CMC Rope Rescue trainings in Oakland, CA and Bend, OR, and flew to Prague, Czech Republic, to represent the United States in a conference of Large Animal Rescuers.
Though he felt deeply connected to rescue, Tucker decided he could make more of a direct impact by dedicating all of his time to the shelter dogs. In 2015 DPFL visited the Santa Barbara shelter and its 80 dogs. He instantly became hooked with playgroups. He began leading playgroups five days per week, and enjoyed the positive impact they brought not only to the dogs, but also to the organization as a whole! With the blessing from the Executive Director, Tucker spent the 2016 summer assisting a local county shelter to build their playgroup program while also continuing to improve his own. He attended a DPFL Mentorship in Austin, Texas, and came back inspired to do more. Tucker worked to improve in-kennel enrichment at home, adding food puzzles, music, and even aromatherapy to the dogs’ daily schedules. He began mentoring with a local trainer, and started using positive reinforcement training as an enrichment tool to give a mental break from the kennels, eventually earning his CPDT-KA Certificate. DPFL was thrilled to have Tucker join our team as Program Coordinator in May 2017.
Tibor, originally from Hungary, has 15 years of experience as a dog behavior specialist. He began his career in New York City after moving to the United States. Tibor earned his degree in Biology and Physical Education from a teacher’s training college in Hungary.
During this time, he studied human psychology, zoology, and ethology (the study of animal behavior) extensively, which provided the foundations of his knowledge and beliefs in his field of expertise. After relocating to Florida in 2009, Tibor became an active volunteer at local animal welfare organizations.
He has volunteered countless hours at Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control; and assisted other rescues including Big Dog Ranch Rescue; Tri County Humane Society; Furry Friends Rescue; Okeechobee Humane Society; Coastal Boxer Rescue, and Forgotten Dog Rescue among others. Over the years, he has educated staff members and volunteers on proper handling techniques and common behavioral modifications. He has assisted shelters and rescue organizations in evaluating, training, rehabilitating, and re- homing canines. At Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control, Tibor has helped to implement the Dogs Playing for Life program and has seen the positive impact daily play groups have made in the lives of canines, volunteer attendance hours and increased adoption rates. In 2014, Tibor founded a non-profit organization, Zen-K9, Inc., with a mission to further aid and support the rescue, rehabilitation, and placement of abused and abandoned dogs.
Through a collaborated teamwork with the community, Tibor has helped save hundreds of shelter dogs from euthanasia. Tibor is very involved within the community educating the public on the importance of adoption and animal welfare. He regularly attends pet expos and community events to expand awareness. He has participated in “Countdown 2 Zero,” a community collaboration that has brought animal welfare organizations together to end the euthanasia of adoptable animals in Palm Beach County. In 2013, Tibor was part of a prison program at Moore Haven Correctional Facility.
He volunteered his time to educate inmates on how to handle and train shelter dogs. He has coached them on dog behavior modification, giving purpose and hope for both dogs and inmates for a second chance. Among his other accomplishments, Tibor was recently elected rescue committee member at Ballen Isles Wildlife Foundation and he is a Canine Good Citizen evaluator. Tibor is the owner of Zen-K9, LLC, which provides dog training, rehabilitating, boarding, and daily walking services. Ranging from puppy training to red-zone cases, he specializes in separation anxiety, self-confidence problems, fearful aggression, leash aggression, socialization and other behavioral issues.
Tibor officially joined the DPFL team in 2015 as an Instructor and provides enthusiastic play group support to many Florida shelters. Tibor currently resides in Palm Beach Gardens, FL with his family. He has a beautiful 5-year old daughter Laila, and a 2-year old mischievous son Remy, who are already practicing leadership skills among their pack of dogs.
Mike Kaviani began working with shelter animals at the Irvine Animal Care Center in California when he was 18. His “3rd Chance for Pets Program” received national recognition when IACC was given the 2007 Shelter of the Year award primarily due to this program.
In 2010, Mike became the Director of Training and Behavior at the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation. At SASF, he worked under the guidance of Aimee Sadler, and together their work resulted in the shelter consistently reaching one of the highest save rates in the country.
In the Spring of 2012, Mike joined forces with Dr. Ellen Jefferson and became the Dog Behavior Program Manager for Austin Pets Alive! APA! had already achieved a 90% Save Rate for the entire city of Austin, and Mike’s focus is to save the last 10%, which primarily comprises large dogs with behavior issues. At APA!, he conducts daily dog play groups, provides training and behavior modification, teaches weekly volunteer training classes, trains shelter interns, and oversees the Canine Good Citizen and Adoption Follow-Up Training Programs.
Mike has been a DPFL Team Member and part of the program’s development throughout his work with Aimee. Mike is a DPFL Lead Instructor and assists with seminars and provides mentorships.
Trish McMillan Loehr is certified dog behavior counselor, an associate certified cat behavior counselor, and a certified professional dog trainer who holds a Master’s degree in Animal Behavior from the University of Exeter in England. She is also co-chair of the International Association of Animal Behavior Counselors’ shelter division. She trained and showed horses for more than a decade in a variety of disciplines before being lured into the dog training world through work with shelter dogs.
Starting as a shelter volunteer in Canada in the mid-90’s, Trish has been involved in a variety of shelter roles since then: as a dog walker, volunteer manager, and foster home coordinator. She was a behavior volunteer at the San Francisco SPCA, and also helped train volunteers and dogs at one of the first Open Paw shelters.
Trish managed dog daycares for a number of years in California, while teaching obedience classes and doing private training and behavior consulting work, and as always, volunteering with and fostering shelter dogs.
After grad school, Trish worked for more than three years as the director of animal behavior at the ASPCA’s New York City shelter, rehabilitating dogs from cruelty cases, training staff and volunteers, as well as making a couple of appearances on the reality show Animal Precinct.
A move to Illinois to work for the ASPCA’s Anti-Cruelty Behavior team brought the opportunity to assess and work with a fascinating assortment of behavior in animals from cruelty, hoarding and dogfighting cases, as well as in pets rescued from natural disasters.
In addition to writing for the ASPCA’s Virtual Pet Behaviorist and other publications, Trish helped create and present several very popular webinars on dog and cat behavior and handling for the ASPCA Pro website.
Since 2013, Trish has owned Loehr Animal Behavior, and currently does training and behavior consulting work with dogs, cats, and horses. She continues to do volunteer, foster, and consulting work with animal shelters, and has spoken and consulted nationally and internationally on animal behavior and sheltering topics.
Having witnessed the magic of Dogs Playing For Life at a number of shelters, and having completed an internship at Longmont in Colorado, Trish is very excited to be involved with Aimee Sadler’s team in promoting great shelter welfare and adoption matches.
Joe Long has held a number of leadership positions spanning over 25 years. The past 18 years has been focused in the financial services technology, digital channel delivery market place. He has held several positions in Fortune 100 organizations, including Fiserv and Intuit, most recently overseeing business development for a technology start up. His accomplishments include developing and deploying client engagement process automation, enterprise client engagement and application pricing and margin optimization, and revenue acquisition growth in excess of 50% annually. Long has contributed to the California and Colorado Down’s Syndrome Association, and consulted for several startup businesses in the food service, apparel, and charitable foundation verticals. He studied phycology, Business Law, and Economics/Business Administration at California State University at Los Angeles, and Business Management/Marketing at the University of Phoenix. Joe brings his financial expertise to DPFL as a result of his marriage to CEO, Aimee Sadler, and his subsequent enthusiasm for DPFL’s philanthropic work.
Kodi Sadler is proud to be one of Dogs Playing for Life’s Lead Instructors providing play group trainings to shelters internationally. His love of all dogs and his comfort working with large groups has been a prevalent part of his life since before he can remember. As DPFL Founder, Aimee Sadler’s, oldest son, his earliest memories include waddling around amidst the ever-changing large pack of owned and rescued dogs that cohabitated with the Sadlers while in training.
Kodi’s formal career in animal welfare began at the age of 17 when he started volunteering at the Longmont Humane Society. At age 18 he was invited to join the DPFL Team as an Instructor’s Assistant and fell in love with the work, inspiring him to complete his high school through a work study. While Kodi now travels full time teaching for DPFL, he considers himself to be a student of animal welfare. With the road as his campus and the dogs as his teachers, Kodi intends to continue learning as much as he can about the work that will be a part of his life forever. Kodi is passionate about play groups and the positive impact they have on animals and people.
Kodi currently lives in Longmont, CO with Sawchi, whom he adopted from LHS 10 years ago. Sawchi isn’t pleased with Kodi’s travel schedule and evidently is not as approving of Kodi’s career choice as he welcomes Kodi home with furious and jealous sniffing and snorting every time.
Annie began her animal welfare career as a volunteer for the Longmont Humane Society in 2009 by joining the Dog TLC program. Shortly after, she was hired as an Animal Care Team Member where she participate in all levels of care for LHS’ furry residents. In 2010 she began working as the Volunteer Department Assistant where she gained experience training new volunteers about how to safely handle shelter dogs, cats, and small mammals. In one short year, Annie was promoted to Training Specialist where she learned how to effectively and humanely use a variety of dog training tools and techniques through her work rehabilitating shelter dogs within LHS’ Training and Behavior Modification Department while supporting community dogs by teaching public training classes. Annie has joined the DPFL team as an Instructor for play groups seminars and mentorships. Annie graduated in 2012 from Colorado State University with a degree in Biology. She currently lives in Longmont, CO.