Meet the Mindful Mutts Team! 

We strive to offer our entire team a company culture of inclusivity, empowerment in their work with animals, and taking seriously the responsibility of educating our communities and ourselves in regards to animal, human and environmental rights. As a team and individually, we thrive on being outspoken about animal, human, and environmental rights. We encourage one another to continue the work of decolonizing our own lives as well as our industry, and putting those skills to work starting with our social media presence.

Each team member is important to us and we care about their safety, as well as mental and physical health as much as we do for that of your dog’s. Breaks are paid and self-regulated to ensure we are all mindful of the need to take care of our brains and our bodies. Imagine an 8 hour day full of barking, cleaning, and picking up poop around the clock! It ain’t all puppy snuggling 😉 We have been working on becoming a living wage company, and are almost back to where we were just when the pandemic hit us in 2020 which means that we are not too far from meeting that goal.

Interested in joining our team? We currently do not have any positions available but please do send us a resume and a little bit about yourself to if you’re interested in us keeping you in mind for future openings.


Stefania Butkovic - Owner/Operator - she/her

About Stefania

Stefania has been studying in many different avenues to learn all about dogs. She is studying to become a certified science based dog trainer through The Academy for Dog Trainers. She regularly attends seminars and courses in an effort to stay up to date in her field of work and to continue her education in the science behind your fuzzbutts! Her husband Jon is known for being the local Dog Taxi Service and is Pet First Aid Certified through Walks 'N Wags. They share Cassie the 14.5 year old minpin/chi whom they adopted 11 years ago, and Bruna a 12 year old pug/sharpei that they added to their home when each was around 1 year old. In November of 2021 they welcomed their first HUMAN PUPPY *wink wink* and named her Calliope Mae. Exciting stuff always seems to be happening around here for them!

Read More: Lack of Industry Standards

Stefania is a plant-powered advocate for animal welfare. Before diving into formal education as dog trainer, Stefania saw a need to speak up about the dangers lurking behind closed doors of dog daycares. After working in some gruesome conditions at dog daycares to gain hands-on experience, some things she has witnessed are:

    • Dogs with mouths muzzled shut all day for barking
    • Dogs being grabbed by the scruff of the neck and tossed angrily into kennels
    • Prong collars used behind owner’s backs
    • Even water boarding of animals when groomers got impatient was not uncommon

The lack of regulation is something that should  be taken very seriously. Stefania is working hard to make that message loud and clear to the public by educating her community on the physical and emotional damage that can be done to animals in these facilities. Conditions were terribly stressful and abusive mentally and physically for the dogs.

Educational info and seminar attendance:

Stefania continues to pursue her love of working with animals 5 years later.  She is a lover of community and entrepreneurship. After years of brain storming, she finally started “Mindful Mutts” combining all things dog in one place. She launched a pilot project of a Low-Stress Dog Daycare & Training facility in May of 2016 in an effort to boldly set new standards of care for the industry. In January of 2018, she opened the second location in the beautiful neighborhood of Downtown New West. <3

In Spring of 2020, Stefania started her journey in furthering her education in dog behaviour. She was accepted into The Academy for Dog Trainers and is currently working through the intensive 2 year program.

Stefania has been Pet First Aid certified through Walks ‘N’ Wags since 2014 and has been a Certified Pet First Aid Instructor for over 3 years. To date she has certified well over 200 people!  WNW is a national leader in Pet First Aid that is veterinary approved!

Stefania is a proud member of the Shock-Free Coalition, and as of July 2018 is volunteering as the Regional Coordinator for BC! Read the press release here.

Jelena Ukalovic (She/Her)
Trainer Assistant & Client Care Manager

Jelena’s passion for dogs has led her to Mindful Mutts, and has continued to encourage her to expand her knowledge about dog behaviour by keeping up with science based dog behaviour courses. More certification and seminar attendance details can be found below!

Thankful for the guidance and knowledge Mindful Mutts has given her, she has raised her own pup Duke into the loving goofball he is. Jelena hopes to become a school teacher in the near future. <3

Martha Bull (She/Her)

Martha has found her way into the Mindful Mutts family, and found she really loves the hands on aspect of working with the dogs. Education is important to Martha when it comes to animal care, it’s also something she can always use when parenting her two kitties at home.

While she may not know what she wants to do when she grows up quite yet, she is happy taking care of and enriching the lives of each dog that comes in to Mindful Mutts. Martha has completed Dog Safe, Low Stress Canine & Feline handling and restraint, and more info on Wrangler studies can be found below:

Laura Savaschi (She/Her)
Fear Free Cert Groomer/Wrangler

--->Laura has moved home to ROMANIA! 🙁

Laura has spent her life caring for each and every animal that had been dropped off on her doorstep, known as the towns baby healer in Romania, she nursed countless kittens and baby animals back to health. Growing up in Romania Laura grew up around a lot of stray animals, which sparked her interest in animal behaviour.

Laura believes that the mental well being is just as important as physical well being of a animal, and she puts that knowledge and understanding to use with her 18 year old Romanian stray dog, and her two cats everyday.

AJ Chapman (They/He)

AJ has a strong dedication to animals, having never lived in a home without a dog, this passion started young and still holds true to this day. Ensuring each animal has the respect and compassion to have a full and happy live is a top priority. 

AJ has completed the YWCA Off Leash Program and while AJ isn’t sure what comes next in the animal industry, they would like to continue to learn and grow their knowledge about dog behaviour. When they aren’t found at Mindful Mutts, AJ will be found spending quality time with their dog Laika. 

2022: YWCA Off Leash Program

Becca Lewis (She/Her)

Becca is driven by her passion for animals, she has had rescue dogs throughout her childhood and wants to see all animals prosper and living their best and happiest life. Becca is aiming for a career as a Marine Biologist, and spent the summer in the Ocean Wise Youth to Sea program. 

While Becca doesn’t have any dogs at this time she does have three cats named Spot, Dot, and Des. Becca loves to spend time with each pupper at Mindful Mutts and getting to know each individual personality. 

Beatrix Pascual (She/Her)
Seasonal Wrangler

Beatrix has been surrounded by animals her whole life, growing up with chickens, horses, sheep, cats and dogs! It’s fair to say that her love and passion for animals got a jumpstart pretty early on. 

Beatrix has always had a respect for wildlife and the environment so it was only natural that animal welfare and well-being became a main focus in her life. 

While Beatrix doesn’t currently have any animals of her own, she aspires to become a veterinarian. When she isn’t in school, you can find her spending time with, and enriching the lives of the pupperinos around her at Mindful Mutts.

Marina Yamada (She/Her) 

Marina grew up in Japan and attended an international Brazilian school. While growing up she had owned and cared for a myriad of pets including her mini dachshund, a snake and a millipede. This sparked her interest in learning about their individual behaviour and needs, and speaking up for those that can’t speak for themselves.
Marina aspires to become a researcher in the field of Neuroscience, as well as one day she hopes to train service dogs. She is excited to continue to grow her education within the animal industry and more.