Our Team

Paul Whitehurst

Owner and Founder of Pooch Palace Resort

Pooch Palace Resort was founded in 2017 for other pet parents like myself who want only the best for their dog.   I have always been passionate about dogs and it has been a dream of mine to work with them.  My best friend of 13 years, a German Shepard named Zoey, passed away in June of 2016.  Soon after this loss, I decided that rather replace Zoey with another dog, why not replace her with hundreds of dogs and care for each of these dogs as I would my own.  Welcome to Pooch Palace Resort.  Your dog’s home away from home!

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Stephanie Tjalsma - Beck Lane Manager

I started at Pooch Palace in September of 2017.  In May of 2018 I graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Sciences with a concentration in Behavior and Well-Being.  I have loved animals ever since I was a little kid.  When I first saw Pooch Palace I was so excited about what Paul was doing and the amazing services provided here.  I am honored to get to take care of everyone’s amazing pups and hope to do whatever I can to make leaving your dog the best experience possible.

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Emily Barrick - Beck Lane Assistant Manager

Hi there! My name is Emily Barrick. I am the new administrative assistant. I was born and raised right here in Lafayette, Indiana. I’m working towards my degree in Human Services, but I have always had a huge love for animals, dogs especially! I have always grown up with Labradors and currently have a Chocolate lab named Ozzie.

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Grace Van Orman

Marketing Coordinator

I am a senior at Purdue University majoring in Public Relations and Strategic Communication with the Certificate of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. In the fall of 2019, Pooch Palace Resort was my client for my Entrepreneurship Consulting Capstone. While working with Paul throughout the semester, his passion for Pooch Palace Resort became contagious as I learned about the level of care and the attention to detail Pooch Palace Resort provides to each one of its guests.

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Mallory Roberts

Hello everyone! My name is Mallory! I am from the small town of Rossville that’s just east of Lafayette. I’ve always grown up around some type of animal(s) and a dog was always a part of my family. I had horses for the longest of time, cows, and some smaller pets here and there. Currently, my family now owns a deer farm (crazy, I know) and I have my Goldendoodle, Jack that keeps me on my toes.

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Chloe Morris

"Hello everyone! I’m Chloe Morris. I’m currently a junior at Purdue studying Veterinary Nursing. I have been around animals my entire life. Growing up my family always had cats, but in 2016 I got my first personal dog Max. I’ve always wanted a golden retriever and well I finally got one! I come from Klondike Kennels where I worked as a Kennel Attendant and Assistant Manager. The past year and a half I’ve also done pet sitting.

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Robin Smith

Hello! My name is Robin and I'm currently a sophomore at Purdue. I'm majoring in Animal Sciences with a concentration in Pre-Veterinary Medicine. I've always loved dogs and at my home in Fort Wayne I have a Boston terrier named Annie and a puggle named Jessie!

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Brittany Miller - West Lafayette Manager

Hi, my name is Brittany! I graduated from Purdue and have worked in social work and with children for 7 years. I currently decided to change careers, fulfill a lifelong dream and work with animals. I started at Pooch Palace in November 2019 while getting my Veterinary Technician degree.

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Summer Petrow

"Hi! My name is Summer. I started working at Pooch Palace in August 2019. I am a current student at Purdue University and  my major is Animal Sciences with a concentration in Biosciences. I am hoping to go to graduate school once I get my bachelor's degree to pursue some type of research to benefit companion animals. After I started my freshman year, I quickly realized that something from my life was missing, and that was puppy kisses!!

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Samantha Burns

"Hello! My name is Samantha Burns. I am a Junior at Purdue University majoring in Animal Sciences with my concentration in Behavior and Well-being and minoring in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. I got involved with dogs by being part of 4-H dog obedience and agility for 10 years. My interest in dogs and other animals I worked with in 4-H is what helped me with my decision to study animal sciences.

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Jordyn Price

Hi! My name is Jordyn Price. I'm a junior at Purdue Univeristy studying Veterinary Nursing.  I've been around animals my whole life, large and small. I just got engaged! Right now between at home and here at school we have 3 dogs, a I mixed breed, a cavapoo and a yorkie. I also have 3 cats, so they keep my on my toes! Before moving here, I worked at a grooming and boarding facility and absolutely loved it.

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Emily Brown

I started at Pooch Palace in January of 2020. I am graduating from Purdue University with a degree in Animal Sciences with a concentration in Animal Agribusiness in December of 2020. During the Spring 2019 semester I started a club called Project Pooch at Purdue - where we worked with the local shelters to teach manners to the harder to place pups.

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Alessandria Aikerson Russell

I have always had a love for animals. I remember spending summers going to Columbia Park Zoo for camp and when I was old enough, volunteering and completing an animal care internship. Taking care for animals is one the most fulfilling tasks I believe that I could do and I can not imagine doing anything else. In 2017 I graduated from Alcorn State with a BS in animal science (pre-vet) and I am currently taking more biology and psychology related courses at Ivy Tech before attaining a Masters in Animal Behavior. Afterward, I plan on going to vet school and specializing in zoo med and animal behavior. I look forward to meeting you all and providing a happy, safe place for your pups to play! 

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Emma Weber

Hello, my name is Emma! I am a sophomore at Purdue University studying Animal Sciences. Animals have always held a special place in my heart and knew that I wanted to have a job in the veterinary field ever since I was young. I have two dogs, Brandy (gold retriever) who’s 18 years old, and Winston (Yorkiepoo) who’s 3 years old.

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Hannah Leveridge

{Groomer}

"Hey, I’m Hannah! I graduated from Purdue in 2017 and recently moved back to the Lafayette area. I’ve always loved animals and wanted to pursue a career focusing on them. I hope to work with marine animals one day! I’ve got three pit bulls and a lab at home, and I love taking them on adventures!

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Nicole Miller

{Groomer}

"Hey everyone, I’m Nicole! I currently have a beagle named Kali, (who has been in my life since I was 7 years old) and a black cat named Felix that my boyfriend and I adopted just last February. I just recently started at Pooch Palace in August of 2019 and I can honestly say it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made.

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Whitney McGregor

{Groomer}

"I started at Pooch Palace in January of 2019 as a dog groomer.  Dogs have always been my favorite animal. Growing up, the dogs in my family have always been treated as our kids.  I have amazing husband who supports me in any thing and have two amazing kids. 

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Mandy Burris

{Groomer}

"Hey everyone! I’m Amanda Burris. I’m the proud mother to a perfect baby boy. I’ve been a huge animal lover my entire life and currently have 6 cats and 2 dogs. A Great Dane mix named Moe and a German Shepherd named Kona.

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Destiny Loft 

{Groomer}

"I have lived in Lafayette my entire life.  I have always been a huge animal lover and Grooming gives me an opportunity to work with something I have a passion for.  Currenty I have 5 cats and 2 cattledogs.  My pups names are Mylo and Copper.  I love seeing all the happy wagging tails at Pooch Palace everday!

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Alexis Paugh

{Groomer}

"Hi everyone, I’m Alexis! I’ve been an animal lover my entire life. I have 2 dogs, Chance and Wrecker and 1 cat named Tacoma. I’ve been grooming dogs and cats for about 6 years now. 

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McKenzie Henk

Trainer

McKenzie is a professional dog trainer who helps dog owners build and maintain a positive relationship with their pets. She uses a “balanced” training method and believes every dog and situation is unique and so the training for every dog should be unique as well.

McKenzie started training when she was eleven years old by competing in 4H and State Fair competitions with her dogs. In high school, she started working at a boarding kennel and assisting with puppy care, breeding, Conformation showing and training.

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