Hello! My name is Al (short for Alison) and I co-own CITIPETS' Playground with my wonderful mom, Barbara. Playground is my dream-come-true, and the culmination of my life's work!
I have been working with dogs in San Francisco for the past thirteen years. When I'm not taking care of things at Playground, I train and rehabilitate dogs, while helping their families better understand their dog's behavior, thus facilitating a good relationship with the dog and promoting and overall happy and harmonious household.
My specialty is working with dogs that have aggression issues, rescue dogs, and dogs that have been abused. I also am a consultant on home set-up, and can help with leash training, park manners, potty training, and any number of basic training issues.
My philosophy centers around structure, calm consistency, good communication, (which means listening to your dog as well as asking them to listen to you) and of course lots of love. Reasonable expectations need to be set, and time needs to be put in to help your dog meet these expectations. Of course, there is no one way of training that will fit every dog. Each dog is an individual and training needs to be tailored to meet the needs of that specific dog.
To say I love my work is an understatement. I have worked tirelessly to help families and their dogs understand each other and work together as a team.
For the past several years I've been running CITIPETS, which is a store that is focused on health, safe, and durable pet products. CITIPETS' Playground is the natural next step for me, bringing my hands-on work with dogs together with providing them with the very best that life can offer our best friends!
- Member of the Board of the FUDDP (Friends of Upper Douglas Dog Park)
- Member of the Fort Funston Dog Walker Coalition
- Volunteer with Niko Rescue Foundation
Working in rescue you come across many different dogs with many different issues. We know there is no dog Al can't hand and would trust her with any. She has dedicated countless hours working with some of our difficult dogs resulting in them getting placed in great loving homes. Without her patience and knowledge, it just wouldn't have happened. She takes the time to get to know the dog, and figures out what methods would work best for each individual dog. She is truly there to help dog and owner.
When I first brought my dog to Alison he was unsocialized and a nervous wreck around other dogs (because I was so nervous…) . He desperately wanted to play with them but didn't know how. Alison worked with him gradually enabling him to run with the pack three days a week at Fort Funston! Now I can walk with him at the beach off-leash, and he can greet the passing dogs and walk on with me. She has bar-none saved my dog's happiness and mine! I have never seen the likes of such a loving, fun, and committed dog walker. My son calls her the canine social worker, and I my husband and I call her the Miracle Worker.
The animal kingdom has taken me down a wonderful road, starting in the family as a child, then introduction to the magnificent Giant Schnauzer. As a breeder when they were first shown in the U.S., research and training classes enriched my life. (Especially the Tellington-Jones "Ttouch" techniques.) But more opportunities brought me into the world of horses: foaling, therapeutic riding for the disabled, and those wonderful sport horses - and always dogs present!
I'm excited about the many new directions and opportunities of CITIPETS' Playground - offering other people's best friends a safe place to enjoy. It is a return gift to the many dogs who have given me so much through the years.
I had two perfect Pomeranians while growing up. They taught me everything I know about love, loyalty and kindness. They inspired me to be a good person and treat others with respect and kindness. Dogs have great instincts when it comes to judging peoples true intentions. They don't ask for much other than genuine companionship and true dedication to living in the moment. That's something I value both in my professional and personal life.
I love dogs' combination of simplicity and complexity. Life in dog world is filled with simple pleasures. Yet, when you study dogs and their behavior, you find that they have a very complex mind as well and need to be understood as individuals in order to give them the best possible care.
The best part of working at CITIPETS is the cuddles! I love having a job where you get hugs and kisses every day. I never had a work day go by without being overwhelmed by happiness and gratuity of working with such wonderful beings. Another thing I really like about working with CITIPETS is that we have foster dogs. We help them rebuild trust for people and find new homes. There is nothing more rewarding than making a positive difference.
I'm passionate about learning about dog behavior. Every dog is special and has something new to teach us - and I'm a humble learner! I like to help dogs overcome their fears and insecurities. I guess you can say that I thrive on making dogs happy. If they're happy, then I'm happy.
In my family there have always been dogs around. At an early age I learned to understand how dogs communicate and that their needs are just as important as ours. Dogs often make me laugh. Their loyalty and good hearts never cease to amaze me.
The best part of this job is that you make friends with the dogs, so you basically get to spend every day with your friends. That way it never gets boring! I also like that this job allows us to be outside and active.
I like to help our foster dogs discover the amazing relationship that can be formed between a human and a dog. Of course I really enjoy the client dogs as well. It's always fun to introduce new dogs to the pack and watch them play and see how they look out for one another.
I had a Pomeranian growing up, who still lives with my family today. Getting a dog was something I always wanted, and begged my parents for one since I was little. Although a bit reluctant, my parents finally agreed to drive up to a farm where we picked up a Pomeranian puppy. It was the best day ever! I was 10 at the time but she really taught me the responsibilities of caring for a pet, and getting used to a daily routine that incorporated my dog as a part of the family. She was the first of many pets that I had the joy of taking care of.
I love dogs' goofiness, their unconditional love, and how each and every dog has their own shining personality! I think it is so cool how many different breeds and varieties there are, and there is just always so much to discover when making a new dog friend. At their core, dogs really just want to be loved and to be with their human, and that's why our bonds to dogs are so special.
Working at CITIPETS is always exciting welcoming a new playmate to the pack, getting to know them and seeing them make new doggy friends. I feel that Playground is such a great environment for dogs to socialize and discover their innate need to romp and play to the heart's content with other dogs. Working with people who are also passionate about dogs and their well-being is awesome as well!
I believe every dog that comes to Playground deserves a great and full experience. Every dog is different and has their individual needs, whether it be expending all their energy on playing, getting however much exercise they are comfortable with, or if it just enjoying cuddling, pets and human time. Some may be nervous upon their first day of daycare, or have special needs. Other than making sure every dogs' needs are met, my priorities at work are to see that they are healthy, happy and safe.
I grew up with St Bernard's in my early life, but somehow ended up with two small Chihuahua mixes. All have taught me to love just the same though!
I have always had a bond with dogs from an early age, and have kept that with every new one I meet! They always bring a smile to my face.
The best part of working at CITIPETS is watching the dogs (especially the pups!) break out of their shells and grow right in front of our eyes.
I love bringing each pup a happy moment every day I'm at work! They unknowingly make us all happy every day, and I can only hope they are happy to see me too! There's nothing much better than when the dogs come running up excited to see me when they arrive in the morning.
I grew up with Freckles! We got him when I was in middle school. He was severely abused before we rescued him. We have had to be extremely patient with him, but after having him for almost nine years he has become so much more locing and trusting.
Everything! Doggy kisses, the way they play, how loving they are, how smart they are, how loyal they are, their cuddles… everything!
The best part of working at CITIPETS is getting to play with dogs all day, getting to know new dogs and feeling like we’re all one big happy family!
I would love to one day own a house big enough to work with rescue/foster dogs. I love puppies, but I would want to help older dogs who have less of a chance of getting adopted. And I also always want to make sure that the dogs at the Playground are having the time of their life!.