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 Brad. 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 with her partner Brad (and their top dogs), and volunteers with animal advocates. For her, animals are truly a lifestyle.
Highlights: Emergency Vet Camp with Honours (July 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 with partner Brad Harrod (owner of Superior Obedience Solutions & Training), and is a proud member of IPO Ottawa (since November 2016).
Languages: English, French, Czech
Brad owns and operates Superior Obedience Solutions & Training. He came on board with Happy Tails Pet Care Services in 2015. He teaches regular training workshops to all staff members, and ensures our staff follow training best practices with all Happy Tails clients. His attitude and experience have helped our staff grow in their knowledge – watching him work is truly astounding! In his spare time, he can be found working top-dog Logan, training new up and coming top puppy Back Up, training service dogs, rehabilitating aggressive dogs, relaxing at home with Veronica and the dogs, attending dog shows, doing board and train’s for clients, and so much more. Veronica & Brad truly live animals!
Highlights: Professional dog trainer – has successfully put numerous Canadian championships on dogs and cats, his oldest Doberman Logan was (until he retired) the number one Doberman in Canada in virtually every dog sport, trains Service Dogs primarily for those with Autism and PTSD, rehabilitates dogs with very serious ‘histories’, is a proud member of IPO Ottawa (since November 2016), and more!
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
Sophie | Walker / Sitter
Since moving to Canada in 2003 from England, Sophie has made a big name for herself in the conformation ring as a junior handler. Although she had successfully handled hundreds of dogs, she has a soft spot for Border Terriers – her family has been breeding and showing them for years at Baytree Border Terriers. She has developed extensive knowledge of dog care, grooming, and training and it shows in every interaction she has with dogs!
She currently lives with her partner and 3 dogs (Lottie, Lamborghini & Lincoln) and 2 cats (Lux & Lorde). She really enjoys handling small dogs, group walks, and puppy visits, and she always fills up her schedule at Happy Tails.
Brigitt | Walker / Sitter
Areas Serviced: Glebe and Westboro
Shelby | Walker / Sitter
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
Stephanie | Walker / Sitter
Stephanie’s involvement with local rescues connected her to Happy Tails founder Veronica, who quickly realized that her large and giant breed experience would be an asset to the team. As a busy professional working to balance her job, family, and four-legged friends, Stephanie appreciated the Happy Tails approach. She joined the team in 2014, and has been helping clients achieve a work/life balance ever since! In her spare time, Stephanie supports local rescue groups, and participates in fundraising events/activities related to animals.
Highlights: Past board member for various animal rescues, extensive experience with medically fragile cats, and power breeds.
Areas Serviced: South Keys and Downtown
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
Amber | Walker / Sitter
Although she has lived with animals her entire life, Amber first worked with them in a professional capacity as a veterinary assistant while attending school for social work. She is active in the local dog/cat/horse rescue community and is a loving foster home to both dogs and cats. Amber joined the Happy Tails team in 2014 and has enjoyed working with dogs of all sizes and temperaments. She is particularly skilled at working with behavioral issues and medically fragile animals.
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.
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!
Meet Brad and I’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 | 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.
Highlights: Agility freak!
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…