Our Team in Rochester

We are committed to improving and maintaining
your dog’s health one Ruff Break at a time!

Bert is the founder and owner of The Ruff Break. His philosophy for owning dogs is simple: Consistent exercise and consistent rules grounded in love
make happy and fulfilled pets. He is always looking for new ways to enjoy the outdoors with dogs and brings the knowledge and experience of proper exercise
and dog behavior along on every Ruff Break.

Melissa, Bert’s wife and manager of The Ruff Break, loves to walk and bike, and if she can have a dog by her side all the better! She is caring and patient and has a gift for motivating dogs through challenging situations.
She seeks out hills, stairs, deep snow, or whatever it takes to ensure the dog she exercises gets a great workout.

Hi, my name Kristofer Alvarez and the current Ruff Break manager. I believe every moment spent outdoors is a great moment. Whether it’s a leisurely stroll with a senior dog or a long run to drain a pups endless energy, I look forward to making sure every dog gets the best opportunity to enjoy some excellent exercise. I moved to Rochester in 2012 when I joined the Conservation Corps Minnesota and have a background in wild land firefighting.

Erica’s calm and gentle nature allow her to connect really well with some of our more fearful and anxious dogs. She has owned dogs throughout her life and currently has one dog, Chloe. She is a book keeper by trade and is fluent in both French and dog speak!


My name is Allison Schweighart. I graduated from Northwestern College in Orange City, IA. I am currently attending RCTC and I am studying to be a veterinary technician. I currently have one dog Sophie after losing her brother Spencer to cancer in June of 2015. I love animals especially dogs, cats, and horses. I really enjoy biking and hiking with Sophie.

Hi! My name is Phoebe. I can’t imagine my life without pets or playing sports. I work full time as a Quality Specialist in a clinical laboratory and like to stay active after work. I enjoy playing hockey, broomball, traveling, and fetch with my dog, Tundra. Tundra is a long time satisfied Ruff Break client. As a Ruff Break employee, I hope to blend my athletic abilities, love for animals and dependability into a satisfying experience for the dogs and give their humans peace of mind knowing their furry companion is being cared for by a responsible and capable dog enthusiast.

Dave Brandt, life long dog guy. My wife and I have worked with English Springer Rescue America for over 12 years as a foster home. We have specialized in working with special needs dogs. Endurance athlete, multiple Ironman triathlons and marathons. Retired climbing instructor and professional pilot.

Hi! My name is Alyssa Christensen, and I’m graduating from Century high school this June. I will be attending St. Olaf college. I’m a huge biology nerd. I love all kinds of animals, but dogs and wolves are personal favorites! Also, I love getting out and exploring, it helps bring peace to a busy mind.

Leah was born in Rochester, but headed west after high school to pursue her passion for climbing and mountains. Between backcountry adventures with her Newfie mix, Mr. Jackson, she got her culinary arts degree and worked at her wedding cake business for 10 years in Colorado, then lived in Montana and Washington as she ran her business selling her art along the way, before returning to Minnesota to welcome her nephew into the world and spend time with family again.

My name is Addison Luebbe and I will be attending my last year of high school this fall. I currently have two dogs and two cats. I have always loved animals, especially dogs, and I plan to pursue a career in biology. In the summer I love kayaking, camping, and hiking.

My name is Kelsey and I will be graduating from Luther College in December with a degree in Nursing. I recently moved to Rochester for nursing classes and clinical experience at Mayo Clinic. I enjoy biking, running, basketball, volleyball and golf. I grew up in rural Iowa with numerous dogs along the way. Tipper (photographed) is my favorite and she just turned 14! I no longer live with Tipper so this is how happy we both are when we see each other.

Gretchen joined our team in 2018.

Abigail joined our team in 2018.

Merissa joined our team in 2018.