A few words about our team:

We strive to offer our entire team a company culture of Kindness, Positivity, Honesty,  and Respect. 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 your dog’s.

We start our staff above minimum wage, offering increases whenever the company can budget to do so. Breaks are always 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 😉

At Mindful Mutts, we also pride ourselves on providing continued education for our team. Requirements for applying at MM are stringent to ensure both hands-on and educational experience are relevant to our science-based operations.

Stefania Butkovic - Owner/Operator

About the owner:

Stefania has been studying in many different avenues to learn all about dogs. Eventually she would like to be a Certified Dog Trainer using Positive Reinforcement (R+) as her main tools. 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 11 year old minpin/chi whom they adopted 10 years ago, and Bruna a 7 year old pug/sharpei that they added to their home 6 years ago.

Lack of industry regulations:

After our big win (TWO awards) at the New West Platinum Awards 2016!

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. Sadly, the staff didn’t have it any better, usually never making more than minimum wage (if that) and being given ZERO training in animal behaviour.

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

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 - Operations + Client Care Manager
dog walker, dog walker vancouver, vancouver dog walker, dog daycare vancouver, vancouver dog daycare, new west, new west dog daycare, vancouver dog trainer, new westminster, new west dog trainer
Jelena (right)

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 becomes a school teacher in the near future. <3


Kurt Knoblick - HR +Community Liaison

Kurt (seen on the left) is a Jack of all trades, he is a stay at home parent to a wonderful 7 year old named Madison, a pet parent to a 16 year old cat, and a sassy 2 year old rescue pup named Fiona.

In his limited spare time Kurt volunteers as the VP of the New West Pride committee, he has a thriving Tupperware business and somehow still manages to find a few moments a week to put his exceptional customer service and HR experience to good use as our head of HR here at Mindful Mutts.


Nicole Humphry-Duval

Nicole is a aspiring Zoologist. She believes education is the first step to helping understand animals better, and to help create a better and kinder world for them to thrive. She has recently completed a course in Animal Rehabilitation.

While Nicole may not have any pets of her own at the moment she has owned a pygmy goat named Ike, and thinks of all our Mindful Mutts dogs as a part of her family.  More info on what she’s working on educationally specific to her job as a Wrangler can be found below:


Martha Bull

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:


Danni Smith

Danni came to Mindful Mutts in search of a place that takes into consideration the emotional and physical welfare of the animals in their care, as well as their staff. Danni spends each day surrounding herself with animals, if she is not at Mindful Mutts, you may find her volunteering at RAPS or caring for her own two cats Tupay & Solo. Danni looks forward to continuing her education in animal behaviour and growing with Mindful Mutts.

Laura Savaschi

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.

Sandra Stefanich

dog walker vancouver, dog walking vancouver, vancouver dog walker, vancouver dog training, dog trianing vancouver, dog daycare vancouver, vancouver dog daycareSandra has become a part of Mindful Mutts because she understands the benefits of education when working with animals. Ideally, she wants to continue to learn so she can better understand how to become a voice for those that don’t have one.  When Sandra isn’t working at Mindful Mutts she’s spending her time rocking out to Iggy Pop with her dog Iggy Pup, a black mini Schnauzer.

The first time Sandra heard of Mindful Mutts was when she completed Stefania’s Walks ‘n Wags Pet First Aid Course 2 years ago! When it was time to put her daycare experience to work a little closer to her home, she applied for the gig and was a perfect fit!


Taylor Atherley

Taylor has a passion for learning whether it is becoming a Behavioural Interventionist trained in Applied Behaviour Analysis for kids, or going to a seminar on Fear Free Grooming. Her love for dogs has brought her to Mindful Mutts where she wishes to expand her knowledge about animal behaviour, and utilize it with her 2 cats, and dog Ripley Von Schnoodle.

Education in the animal industry is important to Taylor because she believes that every living being deserves to be nurtured both mentally and physically, and educating ourselves is the best way to accomplish that.

Rachel Hatfield

Rachel’s love of animals started at a young age, having worked at a veterinary hospital she understands the value of low stress handling when it comes to animals, and making sure they are both mentally and physically cared for.

She looks forward to continuing her education and learning more about dog behaviour to better help each animal, including her own four rat ladies. When she is not working at Mindful Mutts Rachel is hard at work studying to become a massage therapist. 


Janice Lin

Janice is a certified dog trainer with International Academy of Canine Trainers, and wanted to work at Mindful Mutts so she could continue to grow her skill set by working and interacting with dogs everyday.

Janice believes that education in animal behaviour can help us better our relationship with animals, and uses her knowledge at home with her 4 year old husky Romeo and 20 year old Turtle Squishy. When she isn’t spending her time at Mindful Mutts, you can find her playing piano, crocheting, painting, or playing video games.