Meet Our Staff
Annie first joined Paws & Pals as a Pet Care Specialist in the fall of 2005 and also worked in customer service. She now serves as General Manager. In total, she has worked at Paws & Pals for about five years. Before returning, Annie worked as a Veterinary Technician for seven years at the Animal Humane Society and a low-cost Veterinary clinic. She graduated from MSB College with A.A.S. in Veterinary Technology in 2008.
Annie has achieved her certification for understanding canine body language, pack behavior, and group play (Knowing Dogs 101 and 102) from the nationally recognized Dog Gurus. She also has obtained certification from IBPSA for the Basic Canine Specialist. Annie is Red Cross certified for Pet First Aid and CPR and is also a certified Instructor. Annie says, “I came back to Paws & Pals because I enjoy the positive experiences working with the customers and their happy-go-lucky dogs.”
Sara joined Paws & Pals in May 2015 as a Pet Care Specialist and is now Assistant Manager. She also leads our Preparing Your Puppy for Life socialization program. Prior to Paws & Pals, Sara worked for six years at a similar doggie daycare and resort in California.
Overall, Sara has 17 years of experience in the Animal Care industry including Veterinary care and working at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). Sara is a Red Cross certified instructor for Pet First Aid and CPR.
She has completed extensive training for understanding canine body language, pack behavior and managing Group Play (Knowing Dogs) from the nationally recognized Dog Gurus. Sara has also received training for Reiki healing and Tellington TTouch®. The bottom line is Sara loves taking care of dogs and knows her stuff! She says “I like working at Paws & Pals because I love watching the dogs in group play run and wrestle. Dogs bring a smile to my face every day even after all these years in the industry.” Sara lives in Burnsville along her rescue dog Ripley (Husky mix) and cats Rascal and Gubble Gun. Sara has the distinction of being the second person in Minnesota to achieve certification from the Professional Animal Certification Council (PACCC)!
PCS Supervisor/Puppy Coach
Jake joined Paws & Pals in March 2016 as a Pet Care Specialist and now serves as PCS Supervisor. He had previously worked at a pet food store so he has a good knowledge of dogs’ dietary needs and nutrition. He has achieved certification for understanding canine body language, pack behavior and group play (Knowing Dogs 101) from the nationally recognized Dog Gurus and is working towards his 201 accreditation. He is interested in getting more involved with our Training services and has been shadowing our professional trainer for several weeks while she conducts classes. He also recently began assisting in our new Puppy Socialization program. Jake says, “I absolutely love this job. Puppies are the best part of working here. No stress when there’s a puppy involved.” Jake has a 12-year-old English Lab named Melissa.
PCS Supervisor/Smart Play
Drew joined Paws & Pals as a Pet Care Specialist in January 2018 and has advanced to being PCS Supervisor/Smart Play. He has completed intensive training for understanding canine body language, pack behavior and group play (Knowing Dogs 101 & 201) from the nationally recognized Dog Gurus. He has also achieved his IBPSA Canine and Advanced Canine certifications as well as completing Pet First Aid/CPR training. Drew is a trained dog musher/sled guide and worked in that profession prior to joining Paws & Pals. He is currently a group coach for our SmartPlay program. Drew says, “My favorite thing about working at Paws & Pals is creating fulfilling connections with all the dogs, their owners, and my co-workers.” Drew’s own dog is an 11-month-old Black lab/Shepherd mix named Archie.
PCS Supervisor/Smart Play
Krista joined Paws & Pals in December 2018 as a Pet Care Specialist and is now PCS Supervisor/Smart Play. She has completed the IBPSA basic and advanced Canine certifications. She has also achieved her certifications for understanding canine body language, pack behavior and managing Group Play (Knowing Dogs 101 & 102) from the nationally recognized Dog Gurus. Krista recently graduated from St. Catherine University with a degree in Biology. She says, “My favorite things about working at Paws & Pals are getting to know the different personalities of all the dogs, continuously learning more about dogs, and working with great people every day.”
Front Desk Supervisor
Jill joined the Paws & Pals Customer Service team in July 2018 and now serves as Front Desk Supervisor. She has completed The Language of Dogs training for understanding canine communication and body language and will soon have her Knowing Dogs 101 certification for dog behavior from the nationally recognized Dog Gurus. Jill has always had a passion for working with animals and being in the animal care industry. She used to volunteer at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in the Mammal Nursery hand feeding baby squirrels, and also helped in the Avian Nursery with the baby birds, and the Waterfowl Nursery with the baby ducklings. Jill says, “My favorite things about working for Paws & Pals are getting to know the dogs and their owners and feeling like an extension of their family they can trust to take care of their fur baby.
Pet Care Team Leader
Krista has worked at Paws & Pals since August 2008. She currently holds the position of Pet Care Team Leader. Krista has achieved her certifications for understanding canine body language, pack behavior, and group play (Knowing Dogs 101 & 102) from the nationally recognized Dog Gurus. She also is IBPSA certified for Basic and Advanced Canine Care. She is Red Cross certified for Pet First Aid & CPR. Krista loves getting to know all the dogs and their different personalities. Krista says, “I love making owners feel their dog is in good hands and will be in the best care while staying with us.” Krista has a black Lab named Shelby and a 13-year-old Pug mix named Mugsy.
Pet Care Team Leader
Maddy joined Paws & Pals as a part-time Pet Care Specialist in September 2017 and has advanced to Pet Care Team Leader. She has completed extensive training for understanding canine body language, pack behavior and group play (Knowing Dogs 101 & 201) from the nationally recognized Dog Gurus. She now works full-time and has advanced to being Pet Care Team Leader. Maddy says, “My favorite things about working at Paws & Pals are that I get to experience something new every day, caring for all different types of dogs, and learning their personalities.” Maddy and her family have many animals on their hobby farm. She has three dogs, Zoey, Zip and Marley. They also have two pigs, a bunch of chickens, some ducks and three cats.
Shift Leader/SmartPlay Coach
Jenna joined Paws and Pals in August of 2016 as a Pet Care Specialist and is now a Shift Leader. She also works as a SmartPlay Coach. Jenna has completed Red Cross training for Pet First Aid and CPR. She has achieved her certifications for understanding canine body language, pack behavior and managing Group Play (Knowing Dogs 101 & 102) from the nationally recognized Dog Gurus. She is a past medal winner in the national Dog Daycare Games. Jenna just finished her freshman year at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She is majoring in Animal Science with a pre-vet emphasis. She says, “My favorite things about working at Paws & Pals are being surrounded by people who know so much about dogs and being able to constantly learn new information about dogs and how to care for them.”
Pet Care Specialist
Mariyah joined Paws & Pals in August 2017. She started as a front desk assistant and is now a Pet Care Specialist. She has completed training for understanding the Language of Dogs and is in the process of obtaining her certifications for understanding canine body language, pack behavior and group play (Knowing Dogs 101 & 102) from the nationally recognized Dog Gurus. She won a Gold medal for her dog handling skills in the 2018 Daycare Games (a national competition)! She says, “My favorite thing about working at Paws & Pals is the dogs and just being able to spend time with them.” Mariyah’s family dog is Gunnar, a 10-year-old yellow Lab. She helped foster Reeses (Husky) at her home, during his extended stay at Paws & Pals, before he was adopted.
Stephanie joined Paws & Pals in March 2015 as a Pet Care Specialist. She has obtained her Knowing Dogs 101 certification for understanding canine body language, pack behavior and group play from the nationally recognized Dog Gurus. She is also Red Cross certified for Pet First Aid and CPR and has achieved her IBPSA Canine certification. Stephanie just graduated from St. Cloud State University with a biomedical science degree in hopes of becoming a veterinarian in the near future. During her days off from work she interns at a Veterinarian clinic in Bloomington. In her spare time Stephanie volunteers at both the Animal Humane Society in the surgical department and also with the MCRS socializing the rabbits in need of a home. Her favorite thing about working at Paws & Pals is “Getting to know the dogs and having them brighten up my day.” Stephanie has a cat named Buddy, and a family dog named Brooklynn (miniature pincher/rat terrier mix). She also has two rabbits, a female named Oreo and a male named Apollo.
Jen joined Paws & Pals in June 2019 after graduating from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She majored in Animal Science with an emphasis in companion animals. She has achieved her certification in Pet First Aid and Knowing Dogs 101 (Dog Gurus) and is working towards completing 201. She has one fur baby at home, a cat named Mika. She enjoys working at Paws & Pals because she gets to develop relationships with each dog and see them enjoy their time there.
Cherie has been grooming at Paws & Pals for three and a half years. Cherie graduated from cosmetology school in 1987 and was a stylist for many years. Her love for animals sent her in another direction, and that was learning how to groom. Cherie’s mom is a dog breeder so Cherie has cared for animals her entire life. She continues to develop her grooming skills and learn new techniques at industry leading educational seminars such as the Super Styling Session.
Cherie shares her home with her wonderful dogs Junebug (Lab mix), Lucy (Doberman mix) and Chica (Chihuahua) and Cherie’s horse Dixie. Junebug and Lucy were both rescue dogs that came from difficult situations and are now gentle and loving family members. In addition to dogs, Cherie also love horses and has ridden and trained for many years. Pictured with Lucy, Chica and Junebug.
Cassandra (Cassie) joined Paws & Pals as a Groomer in July 2014. She also helps take care of our 4-legged guests as a Pet Care Specialist. She moved to the area from Massachusetts where she worked for over three years in a grooming salon. The past two years of which she apprenticed under a professional Groomer. She has mastered most small dog grooms and is continuing to broaden her breeds and skills. Her career goal is to continue her education at a certified Grooming School.
Cassie has also worked at a doggie daycare and as a Veterinary Assistant. She has completed training for understanding canine body language and pack behavior as well as previously completing small animal management courses for grooming, anatomy, nutrition and veterinary technician. Cassie says, “my favorite things about working at Paws & Pals are that you actually have time to get to know the dogs and that everyone works together as a team.”
Jennifer is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and an Animal Behavior Certified Dog Trainer. Paws & Pals has partnered with her for the last five years to provide Puppy and Obedience classes as well as more specialized one-on-one training. As the owner of Unleashed Behavior and Training Services, she is dedicated to people and families building a fun and trusting relationship with their dogs. Her background includes a B.S. in the Social and Behavioral Sciences and she is always continuing her education in Behavior Modification through classes and seminars. Jennifer is an approved evaluator for the AKC Canine Good Citizen Title, a Professional Member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and a Supporting Member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Her specialties include aggression, anxiety and reactivity in canines.
Prior to becoming a full-time dog trainer, Jennifer worked 10 years for the Department of Corrections (DOC) in various positions and at different correctional facilities. She says, “I’ve always been interested in behavior so I decided to resign from the DOC and switch species. Canines are my passion. What I love most about my job is making adjustments that work for each handler and dog team. When I see someone proud of what his or her dog has accomplished, I’m a happy trainer.”
Konrad started the planning process for the creation of Paws & Pals in 2003, opened the Prior Lake location in June 2005. He has also enjoyed the title of Head Poop Scooper. “I’ve always loved dogs and know that they are important members of people’s families. I wanted to build a business that had a special purpose—to be a trusted place for owners to bring their pets to stay or play—a place where dogs would receive the best possible care while having a great time!” Konrad and his family have two dogs, Daisy a long-haired Dachshund and Mille a Mountain Cur mix. Daisy was the inspiration for starting Paws & Pals.