Meet Our Paw Of Approval Experts
Because our dogs and cats deserve the best 🌟
Like most obsessed pet parents, we won’t give our cats and dogs anything unless we know it’s 100 percent safe for them. So when we’re sourcing products for our Paw of Approval program, we rigorously vet each product to make sure it meets The Dodo’s high standards for pet products before we start the testing process — especially since our judges are our very own Dodo cats and dogs!
To help us out, we selected a panel of dog and cat experts we know and trust to help make sure every item we test is safe and healthy. Our panel consists of vets, trainers and rescue pros who help shape our vetting checklist, are our go-to sources if we have questions about a product, and even recommend products they themselves use and love (keep an eye out for some of their picks coming soon)!
Find out more about the awesome work they all do below.
Founder & CEO, Wags & Walks
Lesley Brog, the daughter of a veterinarian, founded Wags & Walks in 2011 to help reduce the number of sweet and healthy dogs being euthanized due to overcrowding in LA shelters. Since then, Lesley has grown Wags & Walks rescue from a one-person operation to an organization with 26 employees, thousands of volunteers and its own 4000-square-foot adoption center that also hosts community and education events, often geared at children, and has saved over 7,000 dogs to date. Wags & Walks was founded with the goal of breaking the stigma that rescue dogs are damaged goods, and to help decrease the number of dogs euthanized in local shelters by showing people that you can find wonderful dogs of all breeds and sizes through rescue. That value has remained consistent as the rescue has continued to grow. You can follow Lesley’s work on Instagram for more.
Dr. Marci L. Koski
Certified Feline Behavior & Training Consultant, Feline Behavior Solutions
Dr. Marci Koski is a certified feline behavior and training consultant in Vancouver, Washington. She earned specialized and advanced certificates in feline training and behavior from the Animal Behavior Institute and established her business, Feline Behavior Solutions, in 2014. She also has a doctorate (PhD) in fishery and wildlife biology from Colorado State University, and worked as a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for over 10 years, where she was involved with the conservation and recovery of threatened and endangered species. She is also currently a member of the board of directors for Furry Friends, a no-kill cats-only rescue, and volunteers as their cat behavior expert who addresses concerns both in the halfway house and before and after cats are adopted. Dr. Marci has also worked with the Humane Society for Southwest Washington, where she helped connect under-socialized cats with inmates at a nearby minimum-security prison. Marci visited the prison every two weeks to teach the inmates about cat behavior and help them socialize cats (with whom they lived until the cats were socialized); the cats were then adopted out to forever homes through the Humane Society.
Dr. Marci’s primary mission for Feline Behavior Solutions is to keep cats in homes and out of shelters. She believes that the number of cats who are abandoned and euthanized in shelters can be significantly reduced if guardians better understand cat behavior, and learn how to work with their cats to encourage desired behaviors instead of unwanted ones. Through Feline Behavior Solutions, Dr. Marci teaches guardians how cats and their people can live their best lives together. You can follow her work on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube for more.
Dr. Zay Satchu
Cofounder and Chief Veterinary Officer of Bond Vet
Dr. Zaynab Satchu graduated with a doctorate of veterinary medicine from the University of Guelph in 2014, and with a bachelor's in biological science from the University of Guelph in 2010. She has spent the last 15 years in the veterinary space working in veterinary emergency medicine, equine medicine and small animal and exotic care. After receiving her doctorate in veterinary medicine, Dr. Satchu completed a prestigious medical internship at the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital before shifting to a busy small animal clinic in Boston, where she solved complex cases, performed surgeries and focused on building strong and positive relationships with the ultimate caregivers in animal lives: pet parents. Dr. Satchu decided to start Bond Vet in order to improve the culture of veterinary medicine, brainstorming with leading veterinarians around the world to inform better practice while designing the new facilities and integrating proprietary software into clinic workflows. Since then, she has worked to create and recruit a talented team of high-caliber medical professionals in NYC. You can follow her work on Instagram for more.
Senior Trainer & Founder of Shelby Semel Dog Training, Head of Training and Behavior at Animal Haven Shelter
A passionate dog lover since she was a kid, Shelby Semel decided to dedicate her life to working with animals after graduating from the University of Michigan in 2007. She is certified by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, and is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT). She is constantly keeping up with the newest developments in canine training and studies regarding dog psychology and behavior. In addition to training dogs for her own company, Shelby Semel Dog Training, Shelby is the head of training and behavior at Animal Haven Shelter, where she helps rehabilitate and place dogs looking for their forever homes. Her techniques are unique and flexible, as no two dogs are alike; each training session is tailored to suit each owner and dog. She currently resides in New York City with her Pomeranian, Taz, and Samoyed, Colby, who make sure she’s up to par on her training skills! You can follow her work on Instagram for more.
Dr. Andrea Y. Tu
Medical Director of Behavior Vets, Resident of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists
Dr. Andrea Y. Tu received her bachelor of arts in biopsychology from Barnard College of Columbia University in 2000. Afterwards, she spent six years researching developmental behavior at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and volunteering with human-animal bond outreach groups. Dr. Tu then received her doctorate in veterinary medicine from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2010, completed a small animal medical and surgical rotating internship at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, in 2011, then worked as a general practice and ER veterinarian in New York City for six and a half years.
Currently, Dr. Tu is the medical director for Behavior Vets of New York, the only practice offering veterinary behavior services in New York City. She also serves as a board member and veterinary consultant with PAWS NY, an outreach group working to preserve, support and nurture the human-animal bond for New York City’s most vulnerable residents. Dr Tu’s primary professional interests include behavior, surgery and promoting the human-animal bond. She has lectured nationally and internationally, published numerous research journal articles, been interviewed by various print and video media, and is currently working towards becoming a board-certified veterinary behaviorist. In her spare time, Dr. Tu, who is fluent in Chinese, enjoys fostering kittens for rescue groups as well as sampling the city’s various culinary offerings. She shares her home with two clicker-savvy, training-obsessed cats named Kahlua and Calisson and her not-as-well-trained husband, Mark. You can follow her on Instagram for more.