Meet Our Team

Alex Tonner

Alex Tonner


Alex adopted a baby pitbull in 2009. She named him "Ziggy" because his tail zig-zagged; it was bent out of shape as the result of the abuse and neglect he had endured in a backyard before being rescued.

Alex's full bio...

Jon Grobman, Chief Operating Officer

Jon Grobman

Chief Operating Officer

In 2005, I was sentenced to a total of 190 years-to-life for nonviolent theft crimes. As someone who is formerly incarcerated, Paws For Life provided an extraordinary path to my own transformation.

Jon's full bio...

Dr. Zoe Ramagnano

Dr. Zoe Ramagnano

Medical Director

Dr. Zoe was born in Trinidad, Colorado and spent her childhood in New Mexico and Pennsylvania. She graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with a BS in Animal Bioscience and an honors degree in Veterinary Science in 2000. She received her VMD from the University of Pennsylvania in 2005.

Dr. Zoe's full bio...

Diana Mota, RVT photo

Diana Mota

Lead RVT and Medical Operations Manager

I graduated from Platt College in 2015 with an Associates of Science degree in Veterinary Technology. I then received my RVT license in 2017. My passion for horses drove me to work in the veterinary field. Through school I completed externships in equine medicine, small animal medicine, and spay/neuter surgery. I quickly learned that I really enjoyed...

Diana's full bio...

Jessica Krell Gilman, Director of Development

Jessica Krell Gilman

Director of Development

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Jessica possesses a passion for helping others and promoting humanitarian changes within her community. Growing up surrounded by dogs, her love for animals runs deep but it is the synergy between dogs and people that Paws For Life offers that drew Jessica in...

Jessica's full bio...

Photo of Rita Blackwell, Director of Shelter Programs

Rita Blackwell

Director of Shelter Programs

My first dog was a rescued pit bull, and when she passed away, I wanted another just like her. That began my work with rescues here in Los Angeles.

Rita's full bio...

Alyssa Benavidez, Adoption & Animal Care Support

Alyssa Benavidez

Adoption & Animal Care Support

Alyssa's full bio coming soon

Chris Murray, Director of Youth Programs

Chris Murray

Director of Youth Programs

Chris is the Director of Youth Programs for Paws For Life K9 Rescue. In his role as director, Chris oversees the training programs for the youth detention facilities. Chris brings with him 8 years of dog training experience, including training service dogs for military veterans with PTSD.

Chris' full bio...

Shari Summers, Program Support

Shari Summers

Program Support

After a 45-year career in corporate I am excited to be working at such an amazing place. Having the opportunity to work with and help these wonderful dogs find their forever home is priceless. As an added bonus, the people I work with are all helpful, friendly and truly love the dogs, they have already taught me so much!

Shari's full bio...

Tommy Yackley

Tommy Yackley

Dog Trainer, Playgroup Facilitator, Kennel Support Team

Tommy is a dog trainer and playgroup facilitator. He is proud to say that he has dedicated his life to helping others. While incarcerated, Tommy spent 15 years helping at-risk-youth to help give them guidance to have a better life.

Tommy's full bio...

Thomas Wheelock, Case Manager/Peer Advocate

Thomas Wheelock

Case Manager/Peer Advocate

Thomas is our Case Manager/Peer Advocate for the Returning Citizens Support Service Network (RCSSN), he helps individuals that are recently released make the positive transition back into society.

Thomas' full bio...

Marcus McJimpson, Trainer

Marcus McJimpson

Training Facility Manager

Marcus is a Facility Manager at the People and Pet Innovation Center. Marcus' role as manager is to oversee the group training classes, dog socialization groups and maintain a healthy work environment. Marcus spent nearly 7 years in the dog program while incarcerated, eventually becoming one of the co-leaders of the program.

Marcus' full bio...

Jensen Ramos

Jensen Ramos

Facility Manager and Lead Trainer

Jensen is the Facility Manager at the People and Pet Innovation Center. As manager, he oversees the daily operations and teaches group and individual training classes to the community. In Jensen's 7 years of dog training experience,...

Jensen's full bio...

Photo of Matthew Bleecker, Dog Trainer, Playgroup Facilitator, Kennel Support Team

Matthew Bleecker

Dog Trainer, Playgroup Facilitator, Kennel Support Team

Matt began his journey with Paws For Life K9 Rescue six years ago while incarcerated. As a dog trainer, Matt has experience training a wide range of dogs...

Matthew's full bio...

Albert Curiel

Albert Curiel

Apprentice Dog Trainer, Playgroup Facilitator, Kennel Support Team

Albert is an apprentice dog trainer and playgroup facilitator. He has been with Paws For Life K9 Rescue for over 1 year and continues to amass experience in all facets of animal care...

Albert's full bio...

Robert Martinez, Dog Trainer, Playgroup Facilitator

Robert Martinez

Dog Trainer, Playgroup Facilitator

This job opportunity has not only been satisfying because I am helping these beautiful dogs find a better home, but in turn these dogs have given me the therapeutic peace I need.

Robert's full bio...

Photo of Lucas Pedroza, Kennel Attendant

Lucas Pedroza

Kennel Attendant

Lucas started at Paws For Life K9 Rescue in 2022 as Kennel Attendant. Maintaining the kennels has proven to be a fulfilling job for Lucas...

Lucas' full bio...