Meet the Trainers

Jess Pombo & Sara Walchli

Sara began her adventure learning about dog behavior when she rescued her first dog Diesel. She had rescued him on a whim, not knowing about his behavior issues but just knowing she wanted to save him. She starting reading, learning and managed to transition some her knowledge from handling horses into working with dogs. She then got a job at a doggie daycare, started fostering dogs with different rescues and working with different trainers and behaviorists. After working with a variety of breeds, from hounds to herding dogs, Sara realized how drawn she was to the bully breeds. It worked out since most rescues couldn’t find fosters for them and Sara was able to step up and take adults, puppies or even full litters. With the bad reputation surrounding the breed, Sara was dedicated to adopting out every dog that came through her house as a breed ambassador as well as educating the public. She was well known in San Francisco for rescuing these dogs and rehabilitating the behavior cases. Sara ended up being contacted regularly for dogs in need of rescue, evaluations, or training. She then started Bay Area Bullies Rescue and San Francisco K9, for bully breeds in need as well as owners that needed help with their own companion. To further her education Sara was certified at the Michael Ellis School for Dog Trainers and later accepted an apprenticeship with Michael Ellis as well as Lisa Maze. Besides training, rehabilitating and educating, Sara enjoys hiking and participating in dog sports with the pack.


Jess started working with dogs when she was hired at a retail pet store in Los Angeles, having had dogs her whole life this seemed to be the perfect fit. Her passion for dogs grew immensely with all the questions she was receiving from her customers and wanted to help them more. She decided to take the next step and become a certified dog trainer. Jess attended Animal Behavior College where she graduated with honors. After graduation Jess continued to study under several trainers, helped regularly with training at local german shepherd rescues and stared her own training company based in LA that held classes geared towards bully breeds to help them become AKC Canine Good Citizens. Having always had an interest in bully breeds Jess decided to at last get her own puppy Moose to help educate those on how to properly raise the breed to be a productive member of society. Shortly after getting Moose Jess wanted to expand her trainer toolbox further to more than just pet dog training. Having studied strictly positive reinforcement training Jess decided to seek out a more advanced, balanced approach to her training style. She soon found The Michael Ellis School for Dog Trainers and decided to pack her bags, leave LA and head to the bay. Upon graduation Jess accepted an apprenticeship with Michael Ellis as well as Lisa Maze were she continues to expand her knowledge and skill set as a trainer. She also has worked as a dog walker, in doggie daycares, rescues and even in canine physical rehabilitation. With her diverse background Jess utilizes her knowledge to help every client become a breed ambassador. Outside of training Jess loves hanging with the pack and educating those who misunderstand bully breeds that it truly is a matter of how they are raised, trained and exercised.