Meet the Team
With over 34 years of combined experience, the Oregon Tails team is dedicated to helping dogs and their human companions live their best lives together. Each team member has a unique background, experience and leadership style to offer our diverse Pack of dogs; but at our core, we all believe in the practice of patience, kindness and mindfulness.
Owner, Lead Handler and Educator
Jonathan grew up in a small town in Southeastern Iowa, with an unbroken stream of family dogs from Great Pyrenees, Lhasa Apso’s, Shepherd mixes, Terriers and Labradoodles. After visiting his sister (founder of Oregon Tails) in 2009, with a backpack and $75 to his name, he made Oregon his home. In 2010, he took ownership of Oregon Tails and adopted Juno (a Pit-Bull/Heeler mix), our first Pack member. Though Juno's behavior and energy were challenging, he is now a lighthouse of our philosophy.
Outside of working with dogs or his life-long practice of meditating, he's continuously developing his handling and riding skills with Merlin, his once-wild mustang.
Chief Operations Officer, Pack Leader
An Oregon native, Cole has lived the majority of her life with dogs. Her first experience training dogs was when she raised and trained four Labrador Retrievers for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Organization. In the fall of 2012, she joined with Oregon Tails to continue her work with dogs. Cole believe that she has and will always continue to learn; and this has been one of many things that has inspired her to continue work at Oregon Tails. There is so much room to learn, grow and enjoy.
Cole has her bachelors degree in art history and is also a certified yoga instructor. Her current K9 companion is Stitch, a deaf Cattle Dog she rescued in 2015. Stitch has opened her eyes to new ways of communication.
“He is the highlight of my days.”
Operations Strategist, Pack Leader
Raised between Oregon's forested coasts and Kansas plains, a passion for wildlife and connection to her canine companions growing up has guided Kate in pursuit of a playful and purposeful life outdoors. After studying Environmental Journalism at the University of Oregon, she left to work in Costa Rica and met Rafi, a shy and stray Shepherd/Rottweiler who became her constant companion. One year later, she relocated to guide rivers in the Pacific Northwest and, unable to bring Rafi to the United States, was inspired to adopt Rontu, a Shepherd/Lab mix. Rontu has continued to be her greatest teacher, friend, and mirror.
Kate found Oregon Tails in 2018 and is filled with joy and gratitude for the opportunity to learn, grow, and play alongside her skilled human and dog Pack members each day.
Merlin was caught as an ungelded Wild mustang in 2011 at the age of 7 from the BLM’s Paisley herd in Southeastern Oregon. Jonathan had just begun to ride horses before a friend reached out to see if he wanted to adopt him. Today, Merlin joins the Pack running and hiking and has been inspiration for the handling methods the Oregon Tails team applies to their teaching and handling of dogs.
Born in 2008, Juno lived an unstructured home life and had attacked cats and other dogs. When his previous human companions when his previous home had their newborn, they asked Jonathan if he wanted to adopt him. The answer was yes and since then, Juno has worked with Jonathan to exemplify what Oregon Tails stands for—Calm presence, balanced leadership, trust and enjoyment in each moment.
Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog
Stitch was rescued in 2015 and originally came to Cole as a foster with no training. This, in addition to him being deaf, made him a challenge to work with initially. Shortly after Cole adopted him out to a new home, Stitch ran away and lived wild for two months. 24 hours after he was found, Stitch was back with Cole and they've been companions ever since.
Labrador Shepherd Mix
Rontu was born in the fall of 2016, shortly after her mom was rescued as a stray. Since the day Kate adopted her, Rontu has been her greatest teacher and companion. Each day they work to overcome challenges, build trust in each other, and a find joy in a life of adventure and uncertainty.
The Dog Ranch
The Oregon Tails Dog Ranch is based in Scappoose, Oregon, just over 20 miles north of Portland. Hundreds of acres make up the ideal classroom and playground for our Pack. With stunning views of Mt. St. Helen’s, Sauvie Island, old growth cottonwood forest, open fields, wildlife and river access, we're able to give our Pack members the experience every dog deserves year-round.
We use the safety of fenced pastures to help dogs socialize, practice recall, and strengthen listening skills before giving dogs off-leash freedom.
Through the summer and fall, Pack members enjoy open fields for those moments we just need to run, embrace our wild side and explore a natural environment.
For the better part of the year, Pack members enjoy private beach and river access for cooling down, swimming, and building confidence.
For the moments we just need to run, or persevere through a rainy day, the Dog Ranch offers miles of well-kept trails for