K9 Connection Staff

Kim Kocol – Training Lead – Board and Train, Private Lessons, Group Classes

Kim has loved animals her entire life and has worked with all types of animals from birds of prey  to reptiles. Kim started out  in grooming , popped over to dog daycare and quickly knew that she wanted to get into training. When she saw an opening with us, she immediately took the opportunity to continue her education and sharpen her training skills. Her rescue dogs Johnny, KK, and Crush are her partners in crime! You can catch Kim and her pack out chasing titles in dog sport competitions such as barn-hunt, nose-work and agility! In Kim’s limited time away from dogs she enjoys Cheering on your BUFFALO WHAT?! BANDITS!, photography, hiking and swimming.

Chris Russell – Training Lead – Board and Train, Private Lessons, Group Classes

Stationed in Afghanistan, Chris was covering the gate guard when a random dog approached. After giving the dog some Cheerios and water, the two became fast friends and were able to hang out together during the duration of his time on that post. After finishing his contract in the Army, Chris found himself not knowing what he wanted to do. Taking a chance, he started out with a dog daycare job where he was able to tap into his love of dogs from childhood and the Army–and shadowing trainers who worked with veterans and their PTSD dogs. Next, Chris ended up as a manager of a dog daycare program in Connecticut. This brought him back home to Buffalo where he ended up finding K9 Connection and started in our Enrichment Daycare program. Chris studied hard, shadowed experienced trainers and graduated to training full time. Outside of work, Chris and his dog Scully enjoy camping trips and watching sports–especially Arsenal in the English Premier League!

Tracy Woodruff – Trainer – Private Lessons, Group Classes

Tracy’s childhood dog was a German Shepherd named Sarge, and as a quiet, shy kid, all of her time was spent with him! This is where her love of dog training began–as well as horses, cats, the kitchen sink! After an apprenticeship at K9 Connection in 2015-16, Tracy took time off to learn and came back to us as a CGC Certified Evaluator, currently studying for the Canine Fitness Certification, and has plans to become a TDI Evaluator. Right now, Tracy has her working rough collie I Know You Ryder, a black mouth cur Tennessee Jed, a redbone coonhound mix Scarlet Begonias, and a part-time doodle named Hudson. Throw two cats, Hank and Ernie, into the mix, and there ya go! Specializing in private lessons and group classes, Tracy loves helping to put the puzzle pieces together when it comes to your relationship with your dog!


Jay Margarucci – Trainer – Board and Train,  Private Lessons

 Jay has always had a great love and passion for canines and, by age 10, decided that his dream was to work with dogs professionally.  In college, he studied Psychology with a focus in the Human-Animal Bond. Jay has done dog training in shelters, with a service/therapy dog program for veterans, with border patrol and police K9s all which taught him a great deal about working with a wide array of breeds and temperaments. 

Jay’s working-line German Shepherd dog, Buck, competes in PSA, NACSW Scent Work, and NASDA Shed hunting. He is titled in the AKC Good Citizen program, NACSW Scent Work, Brewery Manners Dog program, and is an ongoing participant of the Harvard University Canine Brains Project – a study observing the brain structure and cognition of specialized working dogs. When not working or competing, Buck and I love going hiking, camping, and hanging out at home with our wide array of other pets.


Coy Treat – Enrichment Daycare Lead

A dog lover all his life, Coy is passionate about the physical, mental and social well-being of dogs. As a leader in our Enrichment Daycare program, he is always looking for new ways to improve the experience of the dogs in his care. He is especially good at getting more “introverted” dogs properly socialized and better adjusted to group activities. Coy is an avid football fan and likes to take his dog Bobby hiking all over Western New York.

 Ray Canfield – Enrichment Assistant    

Ray joined the K9 Connection Enrichment Team as a first step in his career in dog training. He knew that working with dogs in our structured program and the mentoring of our trainers would be a strong start his education in balanced training and dog leadership. Ray’s previous experience as a dog walker and his confidence in handling dogs of all types made him a great fit for our team! Ray is an avid sports fan and has recently started training in the martial arts. Ray loves the outdoors and he and his Presa Canario, Kali enjoy hiking all over the WNY area.


Liz Soltren – Client Care and Administrative Lead

Liz comes to us with many years experience in the pet care world. From grooming to veterinary administration, she has experience in several aspects of the  business making her a great add to our team! In addition to being our primary point of contact for new and existing clients, she is also involved in helping in all parts of the business. Liz also  brings both of her dogs, Tootie and Cleo (pictured), with her to work almost everyday to help welcome clients and there dogs.


Ashley Majewski – Groomer / Client Care and Administrative Assistant

Ashley has been grooming dogs of all breeds and sizes for over 17 years. In addition to being an awesome groomer, she is an indispensable part of our client care and administrative team. She loves what she does and enjoys working in an environment where she is continually learning. Ashley and her daughter, Lyric,  enjoy hiking and being outdoors. They also have a cat named “Taco flavored kisses”. Ashley is pictured here with Liz’s other dog, Tootie.