Meet Our Dog Walkers
It takes a team of brilliant, dedicated and knowledgeable dog people to make a business like The Sophisticated Dog run smoothly. Although most of our dogs are walked primarily by one person, exposure to different walkers who travel different routes and engage your dog in different ways is a very rewarding experience for your beloved canine friend. That is why most of our dogs are walked by more than just one of us. This system also helps ensure that in case real life gets in the way, such as appointments or an illness, we will always have someone at the ready to ensure your walks are never skipped!
Sit. Smile. Wag.
Jamie Marilyn Smith grew up in Cumberland, Ontario; a small village in rural Ottawa where she developed a love of nature and its animals. She first developed a passion for dogs when her family got a Corgi Shepherd mix, named Michaela “Kayla”. Jamie loved being outside with Kayla and enjoyed walking her around the village. After finishing school, Jamie moved to southwestern Ontario for work and she got Charlie Anne, an Australian Shepherd. Charlie was truly a best friend and companion to Jamie for ten great years. Charlie taught her about the unconditional bond that can exist between a human and a canine. Jamie then moved to Sarnia, where she began walking dogs for the Sarnia District Humane Society. She now permanently resides in Sarnia with Leo, a Shepherd mix. Leo was a rescue dog that came from Thailand in 2014. He had been hit by a motorcycle and left on the roadside paralyzed, without the use of his back legs. Jamie has been fostering Leo since he arrived in Canada and has nurtured Leo with fitness exercises, balanced nutrition and rehab strategies to get him back to a healthy life in society. He is permanently paraplegic but his back legs can be strapped into a set of wheels. You may see Jamie walking Leo around town in his set of rear wheels. Jamie has a kind and compassionate heart and Leo has taught her about patience and perseverance. He inspired her to direct her passion to an occupation working with dogs. The combination of her two degrees from Ottawa University- a Bachelor of Science in Human Kinetics and a Bachelor of Education, makes working at The Sophisticated Dog seem like a natural fit! With her calm and quiet disposition, Jamie transfers her teaching skills and caring to provide a consistent and positive experience for the dogs that she works with. Jamie looks forward to meeting and caring for your dogs!
Sit. Smile. Wag.
Sit. Smile. Wag.
Elaine Vrolyk is a farm girl at heart with a love for the outdoors. She became a dog walker for The Sophisticated Dog in early 2017 and was excited to expand her canine knowledge. Elaine has been a teacher for ten years, worked in the service industry, and has helped her husband run a vegetable stand from their home. Her outlook on pets is similar to her views on teaching students: show respect, be consistent, grow in knowledge and positive experience. Elaine considers it a privilege to get to know your dogs and values the trust given to her. She cannot remember a time when she did not live with dogs or cats. While growing up on a dairy farm, she fondly remembers “Peaches”, a St. Bernard that allowed several barn cats to nap on her. Presently, Elaine lives on a small hobby farm with her husband, three children, a dog, two cats, two hamsters, some chickens and a few ducks. Her 10 year old German Shepherd/Border Collie mix, “Lily” believes she is in charge of everything, exploring every acre, licking every animal, and is convinced that all visitors come to admire her. When Elaine isn’t tending to her own family, the two-legged and four-legged, she is thrilled to take care of your furry family members.
Sit. Smile. Wag.
Lori Marsh grew up in Rockport, Ontario; a small rural village in the heart of the 1000 Islands in Southeastern Ontario. Her love for all animals great and small developed from working at a neighbouring small farm; taking care of large Shire horses, pigs, and chickens. Her family got a small dog when she was 4 – a poodle and terrier mix named Tiny. They grew up together until he passed away at the age of 13. They also adopted a orange and black striped kitten which they named Tigger. She passed away at age 21.
Lori has completed her education at St. Lawrence College in Brockville, Ontario in the accounting and business field and has had a 30 year career in Management, Accounting and Finance. Lori moved to Sarnia in July of 2004 to be with her husband and worked for a small company as the accounting department manager until fall of 2014 when it was sold. After that she started a position with Pet Love, pet sitting and caring for a variety of pets until the business was sold in 2016. Lori currently works as a Accounting Clerk for Lambton Accounting Services. It is the perfect position to be able to do work from home and be able to go out to pet sit or walk dogs.
The first dog Lori brought into her life was an adopted 2 year old Black Lab named Hobo while still in college. His owner’s were moving and could not take him. He turned out to be a sponge for learning and she quickly ran out of things to teach him. This is where she developed a true passion for training. He was with her by her side as her shadow until he passed away at the age of 16. He is still very much missed.
In December 2013, Lori and her husband adopted a 7 month old, 72 lb Bernese Mountain Dog they named Dudley. He was a blank slate, not having had any previous training. She spent a lot of time with him teaching him to be the best canine citizen he can be! She is so proud of him for all he has learned! He is Lori’s shadow, always with her, and she takes him everywhere she can. He is now a 5 year old shy and gentle guy.
From Lori, “When a opportunity opened up for a dog walker with The Sophisticated Dog I was elated! My dream come true! I look forward to taking care of all the special furbabies!”
Sit. Smile. Wag.
Donna Johnston has always been an animal lover and takes every opportunity possible to warm her heart and soul by being surrounded by animals. After the loss of both of her beloved dogs in 2016 (12 year old Lucy-Fur and 14 year old Columbo), she reached out to family, friends and neighbours to walk and care for their pets to fill the void. She was referred by a neighbour to inquire with The Sophisticated Dog to see if they had any openings as a dog walker. She was in luck! Donna grew up with cats and dogs and while attending home parties and events recalls gravitating to pets first and then people. Her favourite saying comes from a coaster she received as a gift; “be the person your dog thinks you are.” Donna is a part-time Security Guard, and a volunteer dog walker, event assistant, and fundraiser for the Sarnia Humane Society. She has raised over $750 through sales and donations for her yummy cookies (for both human and dog). Her penchant for going above and beyond at whatever she does, coupled with her sheer enjoyment and love of animals, can be summed up in the reply to her very first emailed report on her first full day walking for The Sophisticated Dog. Tracy wrote: “Wow! It sounds like not only did you have a good time, you really went out of your way to give them all an exceptional walking experience. I hope the dogs all thanked you for your extra care!”
Sit. Smile. Wag.
Michelle Farrar was born and raised in Sarnia. She loved this area so much, she bought the house across the street from where she grew up! Michelle has always had some sort of pet companion, cats or dogs, and briefly fish, until the cat found them.
Growing up, she and her family helped train guide dogs for the blind. They helped socialize and expose the puppies so that they would be ready to guide and protect their human companion. Later, they would get their own full time family dog, named Pzam. Pzam lived a long life and after her family dog passed, and once Michelle was in college, she trained guide dog puppy for the blind on her own. This puppy was a sweet labrador named Wave. Michelle found it was incredibly rewarding and a great experience, but harder than she remembered to give the puppy back, and so she only did it once.
Michelle lives with her husband and their two children, and currently have two 12 year old golden retrievers, Hudson and Keeva, to make for a very full, and loving, home. Michelle is currently finishing her bachelors degree in business and looks forward to breaks from her school work to visit with your four legged family members. As someone that loves being outside and enjoys the company of animals, Michelle loves meeting your dogs, getting to know each of them and their personalities and spending time with them outside. Michelle believes in patience, kindness and consistency both in dog walking/training and in life.