Meet the Staff

Owner Meg Long-Sappington

Owner Meg Long-Sappington is an avid dog lover who is particularly fond of homeless, scruffy mutts. She first embraced the benefits of Dog Daycare while living in Atlanta with her first dog, a somewhat challenging mutt named Bruno. Seeing the results of a dog surrounded by positive experiences whenever at Daycare opened her eyes to a new way of owning dogs. Upon moving to Northern Virginia, She couldn’t quite find just the right facility she and Bruno had become accustomed to. Thus the idea for The Board Hound emerged to bring Boarding and Daycare to another level. Meg has her PetSaver PetTech CPR, First Aid & Care certification. She received her Bachelor of Science in Information Management from the Dolan School of Business at Fairfield University. Meg lives in Falls Church with her husband Brandon, two dogs Bruno & Porter, and twins Bridget & Brennan.

Operations Manager & Behaviorist Jessica Ward

Operations Manager & Behaviorist Jessica Ward has worked in the dog daycare and boarding industry since 2010. She oversees all operations for The Board Hound. Jess grew up in Arlington, just down the street from a Veterinary office, where she spent a lot of time during her childhood. This grew her curiosity and, eventually, her passion for the proper care of dogs and animals alike. She now strives to make The Board Hound the best dog care business in the area. She has volunteered the with the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center as a Foal Watch Volunteer, and is an avid supporter of rescue foundations and second chances for animals. Jess earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Marketing from Franklin Pierce University (Rindge, NH) in 2009 where she began her studies of human and animal behavior. She then earned a Master of Arts in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (Washington, DC) in 2018. She also holds her PetSaver PetTech CPR, First Aid & Care certification, and is certified in Pet First Aid & CPR through the American Red Cross. When she is not at The Board Hound, she enjoys spending time with friends, rowing, traveling, trying new foods, and relaxing with her two rescue mutts, Taz & Charlie Brown.

Assistant Manager Michael Arevalo

Customer Service Manager Michael Arevalo joined The Board Hound team in 2014 and has worked with animals for over 10 years. He began his career with animals as a junior in high school working for a local veterinary clinic. He has worked in many areas of the animal care industry including grooming, daycare, and boarding before finding The Board Hound. Starting with The Board Hound as a daycare attendant he quickly advanced to part of our management staff. As our Customer Service Manager, Michael is responsible for overseeing account management, scheduling, managing email and phone calls, and overall customer relations. Michael enjoys being outdoors, reading, spending time with family, and trying new restaurants in and around the D.C. area!

Shirlington Site Manager Damaris Deras grew up with five dogs in her hometown of Puerto Cortez, Honduras and now has two of her own, Riley and Toby. Her experience and interest in dogs led her to take an Animal Science class in high school and volunteer at Fairfax Animal Shelter as a bather/groomer. At The Board Hound she has been able to further explore her passion for dogs and expand her knowledge of dog behavior. She holds her certification in PetSaver PetTech CPR, First Aid & Care. Damaris handles the day-to-day operations at our Shirlington location and can be found at the front desk in the evenings. In her spare time, she loves reading fiction (of the supernatural sort) and eat at her favorite local restaurants.

Ray Blackiston

Shirlington Morning Manager Ray Blackiston is a Washington, DC native with a passion for animals. He is an avid dog lover and started working in the animal care industry in 2016. He enjoys learning about different dog breeds of all shapes and size. He studied Video Production and Photography at The Art Institute of Washington (Arlington, VA) before finding The Board Hound. At the Board Hound, he can be found greeting dogs and their owners the front desk most mornings. He is responsible for overseeing daycare and boarding drop off, daycare operations, and new dog evaluations. In his spare time, Ray enjoys graphic novels, anime, movies, video games, DC sports, asian food, and playing soccer.

Emma-Hernandez

Assistant Manager Emma Hernandez always found herself giving fresh water to the strays that always wandered around in the neighborhood when growing up in Honduras. This quickly opened up a newly found passion that was able to be explored by several volunteering campaigns in her community. She became a volunteer for The Asociación Hondureña Protectora de los Animales y su Ambiente (AHPRA) which was founded with the support of Humane Society International. In Honduras, she supported efforts raising awareness on responsible pet ownership, animal behavior, care, and the importance of regular veterinary visits. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Psychology at VCU (Richmond, VA), and is always looking for new and creative ways to gain deeper knowledge of human and dog behavior. Her experience with The Board Hound has complemented her passion well. At The Board Hound, she manages playgroups and assists the front desk during the week. She also assists with customer service on the weekends. During her spare time, she enjoys taking her senior rescue dog, Isse, to the Shirlington Dog Park and takes plenty of pictures of her having fun!