Meet the amazing team that makes Happy Tails!
At Happy Tails, we do pet care differently.
The Happy Tails team is truly unique in the pet care industry. Our rigorous hiring process ensures that all staff have directly relevant credentials and experience – although loving animals is an important requirement, our staff must also demonstrate the practical skills and knowledge required to conduct themselves to the Happy Tails standard of care. After a robust screening process and interviews, those selected to be hired undergo an intensive 2-3 week training period during which they are personally guided and taught by Veronica and/or our in-house trainer(s). Staff are given the appropriate tools for their positions (leashes, long lines, etc), and trained on their proper and efficient use.
Training doesn’t stop after the hiring process is complete. Our staff consistently updates their skills with regular hands-on training workshops and seminars, and are encouraged to develop specialized knowledge. In addition, all staff are required to have Pet First AID and CPR, to ensure they are equipped to deal with any emergency situation. As a result of our staff’s extensive training, we are the top selected company for giant breeds, special needs pets, show animals (dogs/cats/horses), and pets with behavioural issues.
You’ve likely seen the Happy Tails team helping at events for local animal rescues, hosting community events, and out and about in your area. We love engaging with other animal lovers, and being active in our neighbourhoods.
Happy Tails is a proud registered member of Pet Sitters International.
Veronica Malkova | Founder/Owner
Born and raised in Ottawa, ON, with family roots in the Czech Republic, Veronica always had a passion for animals big and small growing up. A summer camp inspired a love of horseback riding that eventually led – after a few years, and many falls – to competing with her own horse in a national Hunter circuit. In 2012, Veronica took her dog walking business full-time, and was quickly inundated with new word-of-mouth clients: Happy Tails was born. In her spare time, Veronica works with several dog rescues, attends dog shows, and volunteers with animal advocates. For her, animals are truly a lifestyle.
Highlights: Emergency Vet Camp with Honours (2006), Protection & Self Awareness Course (December 2008), membership with Pet Sitters International (since July 2014), Director – Dames Saving Danes Rescue (2015), and has trained top Canadian dogs and service dogs, and is a proud member of IPO Ottawa (since Nov 2016).
Languages: English, French, Czech
Jamie | Walker / Sitter
Jamie worked for two years as a Veterinary Technician in New Jersey, offering pet care services on the side. After moving to Ottawa to attend Carleton University, Jamie was thrilled to find a pet care company where her technical skills and enthusiastic love of animals could be put to good use. Jamie shares her space with 4 guinea pigs, a rabbit named George, and 2 somewhat-unstable cats. The love of her life is an adorable meatball of a girl named Ms. Jackson who unfortunately must live with family out of province while Jamie attends school due to Ontario’s breed ban. When Jamie visits home, she takes Ms. Jackson, an AKC Good Citizen and certified therapy dog, to visit local nursing homes.
In her spare time, Jamie volunteers for Pinups for Pitbulls, a group that advocates against breed specific legislation and works to educate people on bully breeds, and to works to eradicate the defamed reputation of pit-bull type dogs.
Highlights: Veterinary Technician, rescue mom, and Pit-Bull advocate.
Areas Serviced: Glebe, South Keys and Westboro
Brigitt | Walker / Sitter
Areas Serviced: Glebe and Westboro
Tabitha | Walker / Sitter
Tabitha grew up in a home full of animals, which she loving refers to as a “zoo”. She got her first pet when she was 6yrs old and has never been without. Now she is a proud Boston Terrier mom and isn’t afraid to admit how much her little guy lights up her days. If she isn’t hiking through the trails with Jackson, she can be found motivating clients in the gym. Her years as a personal trainer have taught her the value of regular exercise – for both two and four legged clients!
Rebecca| Walker / Sitter
Rebecca brought home her uncommonly handsome and goofy dog, Alfie, in March 2014, and life has never been the same since! In their spare time, Rebecca and Alfie like to chase squirrels, eat moths, nap, and lick tasty things off of people’s hands. Aside from that, Rebecca works as a ski coach for local racers.
Highlights: Harvard University graduate, professional ski coach, and professional athlete.
Languages: French, English, and basic Hebrew
Areas Serviced: Westboro
Melissa R. | Walker / Sitter
Melissa’s love of animals inspired her to take an animal welfare course in 2015, where she gained valuable experience handling animals, and learned about the complexities of animal nutrition. Both Happy Tails clients, and her own dog – a Chihuahua mix – have certainly benefited from all of her knowledge! She firmly believes that staying active is an important component of animal welfare, and can often be find playing, walking, or hiking with her pooch.
Highlights: Animal welfare course (2015), passion for sustainable and environmentally-friendly living, and vegan.
Languages: English and French
Areas Serviced: Findlay Creek, Glebe and South Keys
Melissa B. | Walker / Sitter
Melissa learned of Happy Tails while searching for a pet care company for her young, energetic Boxer, Aspen. She liked the services so much, that she joined the team in 2016. Melissa and Aspen are always out and about exploring a plethora or beautiful, dog-friendly places and trails Ottawa has to offer. She understands the importance of being able to trust the person caring for your pets and goes above and beyond to ensure your pets get the care they deserve. Melissa has loads of experience dealing with palliative care dogs and has a big soft spot for grey-faced seniors.
Highlights: Foster mom, rescue group volunteer, marathon runner, and fundraising mentor.
Languages: French and English
Areas Serviced: Centretown and the Glebe
Shelby | Walker / Sitter
Shelby started to develop a true passion for animals at age 3, when she began working with and riding horses. By age 10, her and her father were training hunting dogs. Now in her 20’s, Shelby has a beautiful country property in Kemptville with her boyfriend and two dogs: a working-line German Shepherd and a Rottweiler mix. Shelby has done competitive Barrel Racing up until 2016, and worked at a horse back riding facility as a Summer Camp instructor. She continues to trains hunting dogs, and truly enjoys working with difficult power breeds.
Sara | Walker / Sitter
Diane | Walker / Sitter
Diane’s passion for animals began as a child on her family farm in Ireland. Although she adores all four-legged creatures, dogs and horses hold the top spots in her heart. As a youth she rode and competed in the English style. Upon moving to Canada, she was convinced to try Western riding and quickly became hooked! Now she shows quarter horses regularly. Her active senior lab/husky mix Bree is always by her side.
Madison | Walker / Sitter
Madison loves spending quality time with her loveable lab mix. Neither her or her pup mind Ottawa’s lovely cold weather, and both enjoy frolicking in the snow. She is drawn to working with dogs with behavioural issues, and find satisfaction in putting all her training to good use to improve the the lives of both dog and owner.
Highlights: Has completed Pet First Aid (2014)
Jessica | Walker / Sitter
Bio coming soon!
Meet Veronica’s four-legged family:
Liška (S’ Liška Ot Vitosha) | DOB: December 2016
Liška was definitely a gift – she was born on Christmas Day! She comes from one of the top trainers in North America, two time world champion Ivan Balabanov’s Malinois kennel Ot Vitosha Malinois & Premier Protection Dogs in Plant City, Florida. Her name speaks to her heritage: her doggie mother Accola is Czech, and her human mother is too! Her name and commands will all be in Czech to honour this unique heritage. We are sure her phenomenally talented doggy dad Ebor approve. We have big plans for Liška! Her training is starting early, and Veronica plans to compete in IPO with her.
Logan (Ch Cresswell’s Rockin’ Good Times CGN CDX RAE) | DOB: March 2011
Back Up (Ch ConnQuest Let’s Start A Riot) | DOB: February 2016
Zeus CGN | DOB: June 2014
Zeus is a Yorkshire Terrier and was welcomed as a foster in August 2014. We quickly fell in love with him. The prospect of giving him up was too much, so we decided to keep him! We got him at a bare 9 weeks old, as an owner surrender, and he’s adjusted so well. He has a mighty personality – hence his name! And of course his cuteness gets all the attention from the humans.
Maggie | June 20 2001 – August 27 2016
Maggie was my inspiration for Happy Tails! Her entire life she was such a sweet and goofy soul. She loved to be a part of the pack, always out with all dogs big or small, and was absolutely fearless. She loved her pink sweater and hated the winter. Maggie, you were so, so loved. My sweet little girl…