Meet the Wooftopia Team
Desiree Klippenstein (Dez), Owner
I’m Desiree (Dez) Klippenstein, owner of Wooftopia Dog Training & Recreation Centre. Dogs are my life, and my objective is to create positive relationships between owner and dog. I began pursuing my passion as a profession in 2013, starting my dog training and obedience company, Animal Instincts, and becoming a certified dog trainer. Opening a centre to operate out of was a natural next step.
My objective for Wooftopia is to provide customers a trusted source for their dog care needs, including: daytime care; force-free dog training; professional grooming; and holistic, local pet products.
The Wooftopia team is experienced in dog behaviour and health care. We work on the principle that each dog has specific needs; we strive to meet those needs through individualized attention and training. Our mandate is to support you, our customers, to raise a confident, well-balanced dog – our customized care will help achieve just that.
Outside of teaching obedience and running the facility, I’m still busy with the dogs! My husband, Kevin, and I have adopted four rescue pooches, Kali, Nanu, Harvey and Timber – we’re always teaching them new tricks and off exploring somewhere new. I’m passionate about dog rescue and animal rehabilitation; I volunteer my time as the Foster Program Manager with Manitoba Underdogs Rescue, as well, I donate my training services by working with behavioural cases. I play recreational soccer and will never miss a United game. My family and friends are near and dear to my heart; naturally they’re all dog lovers too.
I would love to meet you and your dog; come meet our team and view our facility. We’re here to support your dog care needs and demonstrate why Wooftopia is the best in the business.
- Certified Professional Dog Trainer – CPDT-KA
- Bachelor of Environmental Design Degree, University of Manitoba
- Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training & Behaviour – Dog Trainer Foundations
- Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) Member
- Canine Collaboration Club Member
- Behaviour Adjustment Training (BAT) Certification, in progress
- Pet First Aid, St. John Ambulance
Sarah Schellenberg – General Manager/Trainer/Pet Sitter
Sarah Schellenberg loves animals more than most. After 12 years of begging, her parents finally let her get a family dog. As soon as she turned 18 she adopted one of her own and now has added an additional pooch as well as 1 cat to her family. Sarah worked in a vet hospital for 2 years and decided that it wasn’t the career path that she wanted to take. She is much happier working at Wooftopia and participating in fun activities for the dogs rather than helping in vet appointments. Sarah has been volunteering for Manitoba Underdogs Rescue for the last 2 years and is a strong advocate for animal rescue. On top of working in the daycamp environment, Sarah is an obedience trainer and is apprenticing with Dez to learn more about working with problem behaviors. If you are looking for a place where your dog will get tons of love, snuggles, and fun, bring them down to Wooftopia, Sarah will make sure they get all the snuggles they need. Sarah also frequently takes dogs home to watch them while their families are away. For more information about our pet sitting service click here.
Trista Lemieux – Daycamp Manager/Pet Sitter
Trista began her animal journey as a cat lover but since her brother got a dog, she knew she was in trouble! She rescued her first dog at 18 years old, when her dad caved, and since then has had a unique passion for working with and helping animals. Once Trista moved out on her own she started fostering and recently “failed” with her Shepherd X pup, Grizzly. Trista’s passion for your pups quickly became apparent and she was made our daycamp manager. If you have any questions about your pup Trista is definitely the one to ask!
Nikki Carruthers – Professional Groomer/Pet Sitter
Nikki has been a dog groomer for 5 years and it is clear from her work that she loves what she does. She started out as a hairstylist and when she adopted two rescue dogs from a breeding operation Nikki realized that her calling was to make dogs look and feel their best. Nikki brings a lot to the Wooftopia team including her creative styling and outside the box thinking. She not only excels in hair cuts but also in coloring dogs with a friendly vegan fur product. She even won third place at her first ever creative grooming competition at the 2015 Manitoba Pet Expo. Nikki has attended the largest pet expo in North America and went through 7 days of seminars from the top groomers in the world and also recently became certified as a Canadian Professional Pet Stylist through the Professional Pet Groomers Association of Manitoba. Nikki loves to customize each groom to the specific needs of her clients or is more than happy to determine what will look the best on your pup. If you’re looking to pamper your pooch with a spaw day make sure to set up an appointment with Nikki today!
Ashton Fyke – Daycamp Attendant
Ashton has been a dog lover all of her life. She has always had dogs and her passion for them just grew stronger when she adopted 2 of her own from a local dog rescue. Ashton has loved training her current pups, Jax and Zira, and has done a variety of obedience and agility classes with them. When Jax became reactive Ashton knew she had to do something about it and started working with Dez to learn more about canine behavior and body language. Ashton previously worked in a pet store where she started learning about pet health and nutrition. She has worked with a number of species including dogs, cats, birds, small mammals, reptiles and more! You don’t need to worry when you hand your pooch off to Ashton when they come to daycare. She will be sure to love them like her own and maybe even teach them a few tricks too!
Orie Hochman – Daycamp Attendant/Pet Sitter
Orie has grown up with dogs all his life. It wasn’t until recently that he adopted his own rescue pup, Motley, and realized that he wanted to learn more about dogs. Although dogs aren’t Orie’s whole life, he is also working towards a Microbiology degree at the University of Manitoba, he loves learning about and taking care of all of your Wooftopians. You can often find Orie sneaking in some snuggle time with his favorite pups or even teaching them new tricks!
Hailey Chymy – Daycamp Attendant/Pet Sitter
Hailey recently graduated from the University of Manitoba with a degree in Environmental Sciences with a focus on wildlife conservation and biodiversity. She has always loved animals and grew up with multiple dogs and cats. She currently has two adopted pups of her own, Bowser and Violet, and through them she realized that she wanted to work at Wooftopia to learn more about training and behavior. Hailey has been taking obedience classes and looks forward to continuing on with tricks and agility training. Her favorite activities at Wooftopia include anything outside! She loves to be with the dogs in the yard and we even see her partaking in a quick game of chase once and awhile.
Kier Keating – Daycamp Attendant/Training Apprentice/In-home Pet Sitter
Kier has always had a unique relationship with animals. He grew up in a dog loving household and knew that he somehow wanted to use that passion to make a career in helping dogs live their lives to the fullest. Kier can bond with any pup no matter their issues. He is willing to put in the time to make a personal relationship with all of your Wooftopians, whether that means laying on the floor to make them more comfortable to come to him or bringing out some toys and playing fetch. He is currently Dez’s training apprentice and we are looking forward to seeing where this journey takes him.
Stacey Fortney – Daycamp Attendant
Stacey has always been involved in fostering cats and dogs and there was never a time where she was living without any animals. She finally adopted her own pup, Bosley, in 2014 and later began pursuing a career in the animal field. Stacey has experience working in other daycares and is now starting to learn about the behavior side of the job. Stacey is passionate about helping dogs with behavioral issues and watching them progress into becoming the best dogs they can be. One day you may even see Stacey doing some of her own training at Wooftopia!
Amber Doucette – Daycamp Attendant
Amber has wanted to work in a dog daycamp since she was just a little girl. When she saw Wooftopia was hiring she knew it would be the perfect fit! Her childhood best friend was her family’s Chocolate Lab, Java, who she loved for 14 long years. As soon as Amber was old enough she adopted her own rescue pup, Molly. Amber feels that dogs have the most unique traits and personalities and loves to see them flourish at Wooftopia. Whenever she is interacting with your Wooftopian you can bet that she has a smile on her face.
Joanne Knowles – Daycamp Attendant/Pet Sitter
Joanne started out as a client services manager for an insurance company before making her way to Wooftopia. She has always grown up with animals but didn’t realize how much she wanted to work with dogs until recently. Her current adopted pup, Fender, is full of energy and Joanne’s favorite things to do revolve being active with him. You can find Joanne and Fender doing agility, flyball and disc or performing with the W!ld Dogs performance team! If you’re looking for something fun to do with your pup, Joanne has experience in everything. She would be happy to help you find the perfect activity for you and your pup.
Orah Moss – Daycamp Attendant
Orah has been a teacher for many years and her passion for dogs became apparent when she started working on Baffin Island and saw so many dogs in need of help. Orah’s journey began when her most recent adoptive pup, Olive, became a Wooftopia regular at 5 months old. Orah became friends with Dez and started to foster with Manitoba Underdogs Rescue. She has fostered anything from adults with injuries to puppies! When Orah saw that we were hiring she jumped at the opportunity to make her dream a reality. Not only is Orah an extremely motivated and hard worker but you can see the love she has for each and every Wooftopian every time she is in daycamp.
Jacquie Andrusiak – Daycamp Attendant/Pet Sitter
Jacquie’s info is coming soon!
Jessica Rose – Daycamp Attendant/Pet Sitter
Jessica Rose met Dez and the crew when she started fostering for Manitoba Underdogs Rescue. She took on a difficult foster and had to work closely with Dez to make her feel more comfortable around new people and in new situations. She has since “foster failed” with Zelda and brings her and her furry brother, Seymour, to daycamp when she is volunteering. Jessica grew up with her family Pit Bulls and has loved taking care of animals ever since. She is also on our pet sitting team and loves having other dogs over and will care for them no matter what they need. For more information on our pet sitting services click here. When Jessica isn’t volunteering at Wooftopia she is the Technology Director at Celebrations Dinner Theatre. If she isn’t there or here you can find her biking with Seymour in the carrier and Zelda alongside. If you are looking for a fun environment for your dogs when you go away, Jessica’s is the place to be!
Michelle Thompson – Receptionist
Michelle Thompson realized her love for animals a little later in life. She adopted her first rescue dog from Manitoba Underdogs when she was 27 years old. Since then she has been passionate about helping dogs in needs, especially seniors, as Jake, Michelle’s first rescue, is 10 years young. She currently fosters for Funds for Pets and has “foster failed” with an adorable Boston Terrier/French Bulldog X named Theo. Michelle volunteers in the daycamp and is also one of our pet sitters. For more information on our pet sitting service click here. Michelle’s favorite activity is taking her dogs to Little Mountain Dog Park or hanging out on the porch in her hammock. Michelle’s “day job” is shaping young (human) minds and she applies this experience to shaping doggie minds. If you’re going away you have nothing to worry about leaving your furry family members with Michelle. She will love them like her own!
Jessica Hansen – In-home Pet Sitter/Photographer
Jessica Hansen has never lived a minute without at least one dog in her family. She currently has 4 dogs of her own and is the Executive Director and founder of Manitoba Underdogs Rescue. Jessica has not only worked in dog rescue for as long as she remembers, but she is an expert in flyball competing with her late Border Collie, Jersey. Jessica is joining our team as our resident photographer; you can see some of her amazing photos on our Facebook page. She is also one of our in-home pet sitters. For more information on our in-home pet sitting service click here. Here at Wooftopia we know how much Jessica cares for all animals and we would trust her to take care of our beloved pets and homes whenever we go away, heck she already has!