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, 2 dogs, and 3 kids.

Operations Manager & Behaviorist Jessica Ward

Director of Operations & Canine Behavior Specialist Jessica Ward, MA I/O, has worked professionally in the dog daycare and boarding industry since 2010, and as been with The Board Hound since 2012. She oversees all day-to-day and long term operations for The Board Hound in daycare, boarding, and training. She is also a dog trainer and teaches several group classes and training workshops with The Board Hound. Jess believes in using humane and progressive methods in all areas of animal care and has committed to bring innovative business knowledge and knowledge of dog behavior together at the The Board Hound. 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. Currently, she is studying toward her KPA CPT certification with the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training & Behavior. When she is not at The Board Hound, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, rowing, coaching, traveling, and trying new foods. Jess lives in Arlington with her fiancé, three dogs – Fizz, Kono, & Charlie Brown, and four pet rats – Clover, Lentil, Bean, & Chickpea.

Assistant Manager Michael Arevalo

Client & Public Relations Operations Manager Michael Arevalo joined The Board Hound team in 2014 and has worked with animals since 2006, 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. Michael works closely with the Director of Operations, overseeing customer service operations, and client relations. He is also responsible for our community events schedule, overseeing The Board Hound’s charitable contributions and partnerships, and growing relationships with local foster and shelter partners. He is currently studying for his Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a concentration in Public Relations (Candidate, Dec 2020) at George Mason University (Fairfax, VA). Michael enjoys being outdoors, reading, spending time with family, and trying new restaurants in and around the D.C. area!

Ray Blackiston

Daycare & Boarding Operations 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. Ray oversees day-to-day daycare, boarding, and facilities operations for our Shirlington and Old Town locations. He supervises all  including social-behavior evaluations, and works closely with the Director of Operations and Head Trainer on behavioral modification plans and assessments. He studied Video Production and Photography at The Art Institute of Washington (Arlington, VA) before finding The Board Hound. In his spare time, Ray enjoys graphic novels, anime, movies, video games, DC sports, asian food, and playing soccer.

Human Resources & Education Operations Manager Liz Brantley started with The Board Hound in early 2019 after gaining invaluable experience in dog walking and in-home pet sitting. Liz oversees all staff training, development, and education and assists the Director of Operations with employee selection and on-boarding processes. Liz is always looking for innovating training and continuing education techniques. In addition, Liz is a Training Assistant and working toward her Lead Trainer title with the Board Hound. Liz graduated with a Bachelor or Arts in English and Communication & Digital Studies in 2017 from the University of Mary Washington (Fredericksburg, VA).

Head Trainer & Canine Behavior Specialist Mary Crawford, CPDT-KA, has been dedicated to training dogs for over a decade. She first discovered professional dog training in 2006, when she started working part time at a local dog daycare and training facility while working towards a fine arts degree at NVCC. Fascinated by canine behavior, she spent the next six years dedicated to learning as much as possible about positive reinforcement training methods and canine behavior, eventually teaching multiple levels of obedience and puppy socialization classes. In 2012, she switched gears a little bit and began working as an Animal Control Officer for the Washington Humane Society (now Humane Rescue Alliance) in Washington, DC. Working in the shelter gave her valuable insight into the importance of open access rescue organizations and the positive effect education has on a community. Armed with this knowledge, Mary decided to dive back into dog training to help prevent dogs from ending up in shelters due to behavior problems or lack of training. Since this career move in 2015, Mary has dedicated over 1500 hours to private training, behavior assessments, and behavior modification. Mary has completed extensive requirements to receive her Professional Dog Trainer Certification (Knowledge Assessed) from the Certification Counsel for Professional Dog Trainers. Now, she works hard to continue expanding her behavioral education and stays updated on all the latest advances in dog training by attending webinars, seminars, and conferences. Mary trains using modern, science based, Progressive Reinforcement and Positive Reinforcement training methods. She is an advocate of Force-Free Training and does not recommend the use of coercion, force, or electronic collars for training. She currently specializes in body language, canine social behavior, and aggressive behavior modification. Outside of her passion for dog training and behavior, Mary spends her free time working in her garden, flying small aircrafts with her husband, and trick training with her 10 year old Border Collie mix, Memphis.