Meet Our Team
Located in Fenton, Missouri
Our team at Sled & Breakfast are knowledgable in dog behavior and training, and are able to take a hands on role each day while working with your dog in daycare, boarding, or training.
As a lifelong resident of south St. Louis County, I am excited to be starting this new business adventure just a few miles from where I grew up. My family always had labradors, so after rescuing our first husky, I quickly learned that I was way out of my league. I went to a bookstore to find a “Huskies for Dummies” manual, and had the most serendipitous meeting with a sales associate who gave me Richie’s number. Seven years, and many more rescued dogs later, our families have become fast friends and now business partners. I was born a dog lover. My favorites are the big, slobbery, hairy, snugglers that think they are lap dogs. I have never met a dog I didn’t like and have always wanted to work at a place where I was surrounded by them. I feel very fortunate to now be able to co-own a business focused on the four legged friends that I love.
Since graduating from Mizzou, I have worked in small businesses and as an entrepreneur. Before having my daughter, I was co-owner of a family construction business. Now that she’s getting older, it feels like the perfect time to combine my business knowledge and passion for dogs into Sled & Breakfast. My other passion is scuba diving and all things in the ocean; my husband, daughter and I love to travel any chance we get. I’m sure you’ll get to meet them both along with our three rescue dogs, Hearty, Sparkle, and Bob around the daycare.
Growing up, my family always had dogs. There was Scooter the Pomeranian and Harold the Miniature Schnauzer. But our most influential family dog was a German Shepherd named Crash. He was full of energy and needed an outlet. When I was 17, I began rollerblading alongside Crash as we raced around our neighborhood. He loved it and anytime I touched my rollerblades he would begin barking with excitement. Out of curiosity, I began timing how fast we could make it around our “trail.”
By the time I turned 24 I was fresh out of college and looking to get a dog of my own. Enter: Koivu, the world’s worst puppy! Koivu, a Siberian Husky, completely changed my life. His dad happened to be the lead dog on a recreational sled dog team. I never wanted to have a sled dog team, I had spent 5 years in college learning how to edit movies. But Koivu’s persistence soon had me heading down the right trail. Before his first birthday I found myself back in school taking a course to become a dog trainer.
While in school I volunteered at shelters and rescue groups and saw all the dogs in need of families. I told myself if I ever DID start a sled dog team it would consist of all adopted huskies. Enter: Fleury, Spezza, Mandy, Chara, Roenick, Mikko, Cookie, Backes, Marleau, Kaiya, Bure, Juneau, Yashin, Teemu and Hossa. Their ages range from 2 (Hossa) to 14 (Koivu). Each dog has a story that is too long to type! Our “Breakaway Siberians” have competed in 17 sled dog races to date.
Professionally, I spent 6-months working at a dog kennel before leaving to help open a doggy daycare at a different location. For the next 5 years I managed the daycare and training programs. I left to pursue training full time but my friends had other ideas for me. They needed a place for their dogs to stay while they traveled and before I knew it, we had dogs boarding at our house! Melissa was one of those friends and we soon found ourselves planning our vision of what could be the best experience for dogs and owners alike! A place where the dogs are free to run and burn off that excess energy! And most importantly, a place where the dogs are always put first!
I met my wife Leah because of Koivu and we have two wonderful boys: Lucca and Brady. Koivu even helped deliver Brady – no joke!
Originally from Texas, I grew up in a home that went from no pets, to never having less than 4 dogs at a time. Dogs have always been a part of my life. After getting married, my husband Andrew and I decided to get a dog of our own. We adopted a blue lacy puppy and named him Rex. I quickly learned that Rex was incredibly smart and always one step ahead. He inspired me to begin my journey as a dog trainer. I became certified through Animal Behavior College and have worked with dogs for the past 5 years. My favorite part of the industry is meeting all the different personalities of each dog and their relationship with their owners. I have spent a large portion of my years in the industry working in boarding and caring for dogs and truly enjoy the one on one time that is developed when taking care of pups and finding solutions to make their stay as comfortable as possible.
Growing up in central Illinois, I’ve always loved dogs. I always said as a little girl, when I grew up, I’d either be a Jazzercise instructor or I’d work with dogs. And if you’re reading this bio, you can see which one adult-me chose!
I adopted a black pittie mix in 2015 named Zoe. She taught me how to care for dogs and has loved challenging me daily ever since. Two years later, we adopted a Golden Retriever named Moose. This pup is my heart dog, and you’ll never meet a sweeter, goofier dog out there.
I have volunteered at local rescues and shelters, taking portraits of adoptable dogs and cats looking for homes. Being a pet photographer has helped me find my love for dogs and has led me to where I am now. As office manager, I will work to ensure the pets who visit Sled & Breakfast are treated as family.
When I’m not at Sled & Breakfast, you can usually find me at home on the couch with my husband and sons, binge watching The Office or some other comfort show.
Growing up as an animal lover, I knew I’d always work with animals. From the dogs we had as family pets to owning my own variety of animals of all sizes. I graduated from the Veterinary Technology Program at Jefferson College in May 2020. I’ve worked as a veterinary technician for 6 years at a few different veterinary clinics around the area, but animal behavior has been my passion for many years.
It all started when I got my first dog, Bandit. A beagle/boxer mix that I got when starting the vet tech program. Bandit showed great potential as a puppy, a mischievous one at that. Bandit has been my right hand & best friend through life & medical changes over the years. Bandit has many different obedience & trick titles then eventually became my medical alert service dog. Then Riot came along, Riot is my black Labrador Retriever I got as my trial sport dog/service dog prospect, he is still young but definitely loves to work & dock diving with his friends on our team. He has shown great success in the time I have had him. I also have a mixed breed puppy that was dumped at a previous vet clinic I worked at. She was originally supposed to be a foster dog, well I guess you can call her a foster fail. Her name is Nelli & she is the cutest little girl & greatest addition to the family.
When I’m not working or training my own dogs, I enjoy spending time with my family & relaxing with a good book or movie. I’m looking forward to my adventure being a Dog Trainer at Sled & Breakfast and can’t wait to meet you & your fur babies!