Dog Daycare at Urban Pooch Training & Fitness Center
Staff 2017-09-20T18:06:13+00:00

What makes us special? Our staff!

Our passionate Management Team & Staff is one of our greatest assets enabling Urban Pooch to provide your dog with the utmost love and care around the clock. Their dedication and commitment help to make Urban Pooch one of the most special places on Earth!

Our team is a collection of the most amazing and talented people in Chicago. But what’s more; we have lots of them! This means better care and more attention for your little (or big) four-legged companions.

You’ll never find us trying to “do more with fewer people.” Our approach is unique in the Chicago market. Our goal is to always dazzle pooches and their parents with our incredible service, love, and care!

Management Team

Daniel Gaughan
Daniel GaughanCo-Founder
Dan is the co-owner of Urban Pooch Canine Life Center and runs the day to day operations. A native Chicagoan, Dan grew up in the Edgewater Glen neighborhood. He is the son of the late and great Marty and Kitty Gaughan and the youngest of 6 children. Dan had an incredible 21 year career working behind the scenes in local television news here in Chicago as well as in Arizona and California.

During his long career in broadcasting, Dan was in management roles overseeing staff and operations at many successful television news organizations. He began his broadcasting career at WLS-TV in 1989 here in Chicago and went on to play a key management role in launching CLTV. He went on to work for WGN-TV and eventually WBBM-TV following his return to Chicago from California in 2002. Dan won an Emmy Award for continuous coverage of The Chicago Bulls 3rd Championship.

For many years Dan had a strong desire for a career change and to do something completely different and more fulfilling. Then in July of 2007 he adopted Berwyn, an 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 helped him realize opening a doggie daycare facility was the new direction he wanted to take his career and life and that would most importantly make him incredibly happy. This began the long journey of accomplishing his dream of owning and operating Urban Pooch Canine Life Center on the North Side of Chicago.

Dan is very 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 pooch.

Ed is also Co-Founder of Brand Innovators Labs, 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.

Tatiana Chalita
Tatiana Chalita Operations Manager

Tatiana Chalita was born and raised in Colombia the daughter of Lebanese parents. While living in Colombia, Tatiana and her mother, Magaly, devoted their free time to rescuing and caring for animals in need. Tatiana’s late mother taught her the value of living a life full of love and compassion.

After visiting Chicago with her family, Tatiana fell in love with the city and eventually moved to the Andersonville neighborhood. After many years working in the medical field as a medical assistant, her life was changed forever when she received a dog grooming kit and tutorial video for her birthday. The gift inspired her to start work as a dog groomer at a doggie daycare and grooming facility in Chicago. There Tatiana spent 3 years grooming every kind of dog breed until a regular client approached her to run a new dog hotel in the Northside of Chicago called Stay Dog Hotel. During her almost 10 years at Stay Dog Hotel, Tatiana developed a reputation for dedication and creating an atmosphere of happiness and peace of mind for her loyal clients.

During her time at Stay, Tatiana helped to create Found Chicago, a non-profit rescue and rehabilitation facility where she was a board member. At Found Chicago, Tatiana and her team were able to rehabilitate homeless and broken animals, eventually placing them in loving, forever homes.

Tatiana is the proud mom to Tita Mae, a 9-year-old rescue pug who loves to go out to eat, take naps and swim in the lake. Tatiana spends her free time volunteering at Live Like Roo, a Chicago based non profit that helps dogs and their parents through a cancer diagnosis, as well as Chicagoland Rescue Intervention & Support (C.R.I.S.P.). We are thrilled to welcome Tatiana to Urban Pooch Training & Fitness as Operations Manager! Her impeccable customer service and depth of experience make her a perfect fit in the Urban Pooch family.

Berywn CEO
Berwyn loves being a pooch, and is living the dream as the CEO of Urban Pooch Canine Life Center!

He totally changed his Daddies’ lives – so much so that they decided to dedicate their lives to establishing a new level of service for dogs and dog parents by bringing state-of-the-art daycare and boarding to Chicago. Berwyn is involved in each decision both big and small. He loves to be the center of attention and sometimes growls when his Daddies pay too much attention to other dogs. But don’t let that growl fool you because he’s a softie at heart!

Daycare Staff

Alan Cabezas
Alan CabezasDaycare Manager
Our daycare manager, Alan is a Chicago native, born and raised in Chicago’s South Side. He’s worked in the training, dog daycare and rescue world for over 8 years. His passion for dogs motivated him to attend programs as a vet tech as well as animal behavioral specialist.

He’s certified for animal behavior, training and enrichment as well as animal CPR. His goal is to pursue an “applied animal behaviorist” degree. Alan has helped to run and manage a number of dog daycares around the Chicago area including Wicker Park, Bucktown, Humboldt Park and Ravenswood.

Alan says that his, “passion is to enrich the lives of all the animals that I work with. Urban Pooch was the perfect fit for me because of my love and passion for pooches. I have been working for Urban Pooch for about 3 years now, and I love my job more then ever. Dan and Ed helped me grown as a person and a better leader.”

Alan has rescued two pitbull mix dogs from Romeoville and “Rescue Me Clifford” located here in Chicago. He enjoys spending time with his wife, Monica, and his dogs, Luthe and Bella, as well as hiking and attending dog related events and training programs.

Andres Feliciano
Andres Feliciano Daycare Counselor
Andres (who goes by Andy) is 32 years old and a daycare handler at Urban Pooch Training & Fitness Center. Andy started working with dogs 7 years ago and loves keeping an eye on the dogs as they play during daycare. Andy has always loved dogs, and he and his partner have a two year-old husky whom they love. Andy loves to read and write in his spare time.
Matthew Barry
Matthew Barry Daycare Counselor
Matthew M. Barry aka Barry joined the team at Urban Pooch Training & Fitness Center in March predominantly working as a Training Assistant, but also filling in as daycare pooch counselor & pooch expeditor. Barry grew up in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago. As a child Barry had a frightening experience with a neighbor’s dog. When Barry was older, he decided to face his fears head on and began volunteering for a pit bull rescue group. Barry managed to not only overcome his fear of dogs but became very interested in dog training and an advocate against breed specific legislation as well as the rehabilitation and adoption of formerly abused or neglected dogs. Barry is about halfway finished with a Bachelor’s degree in social services. Ultimately he aspires to combine his passion for dogs with his education to help people suffering from substance abuse, mental illness and developmental disabilities.
Keyera Dupaty
Keyera DupatyDaycare Counselor
Keyera is a handler at Urban Pooch and has always been an animal lover. At one point she wanted to become a vet. Before she was old enough to work, Keyera volunteered at local animal shelters. Keyera says she has taken the knowledge and experience she learned from volunteering to become a better dog handler here at Urban Pooch Training & Fitness Center.

She hopes to one day open her own doggie daycare and dog bakery business. Keyera has a daughter who is now 1 year old. He daughter absolutely love animals and Keyera hopes when her daughter is older she can help run her dog business.

Erin Dashnaw
Erin DashnawDaycare Counselor / Welcome Ambassador
Erin first joined Urban Pooch as a client after adopting a dog-aggressive pitbull and says she was so impressed with the level of care and knowledge (especially from Trainer Mary Pat) that she immediately hoped to join the team. Erin says she has enjoyed transitioning from puppy cuddling in daycare to assisting training classes and loves to document all her adventures on her Instagram account dedicated to her dog, @DetectiveJetpack. Erin has started competing in agility with her dog, Detective, and hopes to continue to expand her dog handling skills here at Urban Pooch.
Alexis P.
Alexis P. Daycare Counselor
Alexis says that if she could be a dog, she would choose to be a boxer because she’s energetic, fun and silly! Alexis is a 4th year student at the University of Illinois at Chicago and spends most of her time studying or working. Alexis is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. When she’s caught up on studying, Alexis likes to go out and dance with friends on the weekends.

Alexis has 1 year of dog handling experience and says she has learned to handle many different types of dogs including dogs who are disabled, elderly, deaf and blind. While handling, Alexis works to reinforce training for dogs with behavioral problems or bad habits.

Since the age of 8, Alexis has been fascinated with dolphins and dreamt of becoming a dolphin trainer. Alexis recently became certified as an Open Water Diver and says she’s slowing getting closer to her goal of becoming a dolphin trainer. Ultimately, Alexis’ goal is to become a Canine Physical Therapist, but would love to have the experience of training dolphins. Alexis says that she hopes to use her time at Urban Pooch to further her functional understanding of the dog’s physiology and anatomy in relation to the way they play and live day-to-day.

Keith D.
Keith D. Daycare Counselor
Keith is 27 years old and says he’s been a dog lover as long as he can remember. Keith says his mom has been working in the canine industry for 15+ years and that it’s been a pleasure seeing her do what she loves best, loving and taking care of dogs.

Keith says he loves dogs because they’re the best friends a person could have! In his free time, Keith loves to sketch, write songs, dance and spend time with his two dogs, Lucas and Samantha!

Front Desk Staff

Josh Murphy
Josh Murphy Training Ambassador
Despite being a lifelong cat enthusiast, Joshua has been made a dog lover via his time spent working with man’s best friend. He joined the Urban Pooch team in November as a Handler and now works as Training Assistant. In his time working with dogs, Joshua has learned there is simply no substitute for a canine’s admiration.
Before he began working at Urban Pooch, he spent over a year cat sitting and dog walking in Evanston. He and his wife have two cats—Midna and Oscar—that take up most of their free time and have recently adopted an Australian Shepherd named Tesla.
Melanie Senum
Melanie SenumWelcome Ambassador
Before moving to Chicago a year ago, Melanie studied Marketing at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse where she got her bachelor’s degree. After moving to Chicago, she worked in the service industry before joining the Urban Pooch team. Melanie has one cat named Walter, and hopes to adopt a dog in the coming months. Melanie has been a dog lover her entire life, and was eager to begin a new opportunity working with dogs in a professional setting.