About usManager: Brenda Olson
Brenda manages the daily operations at Canal Bark. She has three dogs, Gwen, a Jack Russell Terrier, Sydney, a Brittany, and Rane, a Norwegian Elkhound. She has shown her dogs to AKC titles in obedience and conformation and is a member of the Duluth Kennel Club. Brenda has over 25 years experience in working with animals, including management and training positions at equestrian facilities and kennel facilities. Brenda knows that your pets are part of your family and makes sure they are as comfortable as possible during their stay at Canal Bark.
Co-Owner: Andrea Schokker
Andrea co-owns Canal Bark with her husband, Steve Graham. They have a son named Aidan and 3 dogs: Siri the Norwegian Elkhound, Karma the Pharaoh Hound and JJ the Schipperke. Andrea oversees business strategy and planning and occasionally runs some of the training classes. She has over 30 years of experience with training horses and dogs. Her dog related experience includes training, showing, judging, breeding, and kennel design and management. Andrea is a past President of the Norwegian Elkhound Association of America and is a current Board member of the Pharaoh Hound Club of America. She also is a member of the Duluth Kennel Club. She has owned and shown Norwegian Elkhounds, Pharaoh Hounds, and Schipperkes. She has shown her dogs to AKC titles in agility and conformation. She owned/bred the #1 Norwegian Elkhound (All- Breed) in 2008, Best in Show, Specialty Best in Show, and National Futurity winners. She developed the business plan for Canal Bark based on the need for an upscale, conveniently located, one-stop pet facility in Duluth.
Co-Owner: Steve Graham
Steve was the proud owner of several Cocker Spaniels and many cats as a child. Since marrying Andrea in 1999 he has been immersed in many pet related adventures. Steve manages the website and all information technology services for Canal Bark. He is also the main hiker for dogs who sign up for our special hiking packages.
Maren K started with us as kennel staff in July 2015, but now primarily manages the front desk and has administrative duties. Maren loves the dogs at Canal Bark, and also enjoys assisting the human clients and seeing all their needs are met. She is excited by signing up new clients and facilitating in excellent first experiences for their furry family members! Maren has one dog of her own, a border collie/lab mixed named Houdini. Maren and Houdini love to go on outdoor adventures and eat ice cream together. Houdini occasionally partakes in day camp and likes giving kisses to all his doggie girlfriends. Maren graduated from the University of Wisconsin- Superior with a BFA in photography; she enjoys managing the Canal Bark Facebook page and taking photos of all the adorable guests that stay at Canal Bark.
Our Amazing Groomer:
Laura has been with Canal Bark since January 2017 and has over 20 years’ experience as a groomer. She has a gift with dogs and takes her time to ensure they have a positive experience during grooming. We are so thankful to have her at Canal Bark! In her free time, Laura loves antiquing dog figures.
Pet Care Assistants
Abilene A has always been a lover of dogs, so joining the Canal Bark team seemed natural for her! She has had dogs her entire life and has been designated to dogsit for various family members. Abby has a pup of her own, Eris, who keeps her busy with picking up stuffing and squeakers from toys. Abby is pursuing a Bachelor's degree focusing in studio arts, and she enjoys incorporating dogs in her artwork.
Andie B has three pups of her own and they are her fur-babies! She is from LaCrosse, WI and graduated college in Duluth from St. Scholastica majoring in psychology. Andie has been at Canal Bark since August 2017 and enjoys spending time with dogs as if they were her own. She understands how important it is for the pets staying with us to be in great hands and loves seeing the dogs we have grow in skills and socialization while they’re here. Andie and her dogs Boomer, Jameson, and Paislie love going to the lake to swim and play. Jameson is also very talented in agility, Andie adores watching him run the courses and seeing him shine!
Anna V started working for Canal Bark in November 2017. Already having worked at a boarding facility in the Twin Cities and as a dog walker, Anna had plenty of experience with animals before joining our team. Anna loves getting to know the dogs as individuals in order to make each dog as happy and comfortable as possible, it makes every shift so interesting and rewarding to her! Anna has two dog of her own, Grommet a Catahoula, and Bucket a Chihuahua/Terrier mix. Together they enjoy traveling around the state, visiting with lots of canine buddies, and hiking in the north woods.
Anne G from Buffalo, Wyoming has been one of our pet handlers since March 2017. She is a lifelong lover of animals of all shapes and sizes. She has had dogs her entire life and raises shelties. She currently has three shelties, Pepsi, Hades, and Artimes. Anne and her shelties compete in both agility and conformation. When she isn’t playing with the pups at Canal Bark, Anne and her dogs go for hikes, watch TV, and cuddle.
Betsy B. began working at Canal Bark in January 2017, part time as a pet care assistant. In the summer of 2017, she completed a professional dog training internship and began leading some of the puppy socialization and beginning obedience classes. Betsy has had dogs for 27 years, the last 16 years included a MinPin/Chihuahua mix and a kennel of a dozen Alaskan husky sled dogs, recreationally sprint racing 4- and 6- dog sleds and skijoring. Currently living without dogs, working at Canal Bark provides Betsy an opportunity to stay close to dogs and she truly enjoys caring for, and interacting with, the wide variety of dogs that come to Canal Bark. Betsy also instructs Pilates and enjoys year-round outdoor activities.
Dylan M has been with Canal Bark since before we opened in August 2015. He loves working with all of the pets that come to stay with us for boarding and day camp. He is currently studying life science education at the University of Minnesota Duluth, while working at Canal Bark part time. Dylan has an English Shepherd named Charlie who enjoys participating in our day camp. Dylan and Charlie spend time together at the beach; one of Charlie’s favorite activities is frolicking through the water and digging trenches in the sand.
Haley N. joined us in May 2016. She’s from Superior, WI where she also studied art therapy at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Haley is currently set to graduate vet tech school from DBU in March 2018. She appreciates getting to know the personalities of all the dogs that come to play with us and learning how to better understand their needs. Haley’s knowledge of animal related medical needs and her artistic talents are invaluable to us! She is in the process of creating an amazing pet mural at our Airpark Blvd location. In her spare time, Haley enjoys taking walks, eating snacks, napping, watching crime shows, and baking with her 15 year old Golden Retriever/Aussie mix, Libby.
Jessica C has been part of our incredible staff since March 2016. As a very active pet care assistant, Jess is constantly learning about the needs of our day campers and has built relationships with all of the furry faces that come into Canal Bark. She is excited by working with the dogs to see how they mature and grow. Jessica served in the Minnesota National Guard for four years, and has implemented her outstanding work ethic from there to Canal Bark. Jess has two dogs of her own, Otis a Jack Russel and Luna a pit/lab mix. Outside of Canal Bark, Jess and her pups are quite active! They frequently hike together and take camping trips. Jess also is a self-employed house cleaner and attended University of Minnesota Duluth for early childhood studies.
Jessica L, from Wadena, MN, joined our team in August 2017 with previous animal experience from owning and operating her own in-home pet sitting business. She is currently pursuing a degree in Entrepreneurship from UMD. One of her favorite things about working at Canal Bark is being able to get to know, love, and make a difference in so many dogs' lives. She enjoys seeing the dogs and puppies grow, both physically and mentally, throughout their time here. She especially likes interacting with and giving obedience cues to the dogs because it really challenges them mentally and enriches their time spent here. Jessica values the experience that working at a boarding/day camp facility provides and hopes to own her own dog kennel in central Minnesota someday. Jessica has two dogs, Luna, a collie mix, and Penny, a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, as well as a cat, Sir Catselot. Penny loves to accompany Jessica in the car and on walks, and Luna loves completing the various puzzles Jessica gives her as well as going on bike rides.
Mandy K and her chocolate lab, Murphy, have been a part of our crew since February 2017. Mandy always has a blast at work and enjoys treating each animal with love and care. Working at Canal Bark for Mandy is a stress reliever; she adores all of the clients both human and dog and Murphy burns off a lot of energy at day camp! Murphy loves coming to day camp to see her best friend Otis the Jack Russell and her boyfriend Kooper Dash Robert, another chocolate lab. Mandy and Murphy also enjoy spending time together at the Jean Duluth Dog Park. Mandy is passionate about volleyball and plays for UMD, but her dream job is to be a probation officer for the mental health court. She is currently pursuing a degree from UMD for Criminology and Psychology.
Morgann G has been with us since December 2017 and she adores dogs! She thinks it is enchanting to see each dog’s personality come through at the kennel, each one is incredibly different! She enjoys making connections with owners as their pups open up and start to show off their character and spunk. And besides, who doesn’t want to work with adorable dogs all day?! Morgan has a pup of her own, Jetta. Jetta and Morgann love to play in the snow and find sticks in the woods while hiking. In their downtime they like to snuggle up and read their favorite books. They frequently play with housemate-pup Coby and their two cats. Jetta also likes to shred leaves in the fall and play chase. Morgann is also a certified SCUBA diver and frequents the Great Lakes Aquarium and has had the opportunity to research coral reefs in Belize. Her favorite vacation was visiting Puerto Rico where Morgann and her husband experienced a 6.5 earthquake! She is attending the University of Wisconsin-Superior pursuing a B.S. in Biology and Earth Science. Morgann hopes to see you and your pup soon!
Patty S has had many dog related experiences prior to joining the Canal Bark team in August 2017. She has three dogs and two cats pets of her own; Nooks a Pyrenees mix, Osa a Poodle/Bullmastiff mix , Brahms a Lab/Mastiff mix, Mendelssohn a domestic shorthair, and Schumann a Ragdoll mix. Patty’s grandpa is a dog musher, and she helps him out with races and runs the dogs on his land. She is excited to expand her dog knowledge while working at Canal Bark and observes the different play styles and body language of the dogs. Patty is also interested in dog training both with her dogs and the pups at Canal Bark.
Rochelle U from Lino Lakes, became one of our amazing pet care assistants in January 2018. She loves to engage and interact with all kinds of animals. Rochelle enjoys working with cats and dogs to train their behaviors and watch as they develop and grow. Rochelle has one dog and two cats of her own, Nelly a black lab, Tyga a domestic shorthair, and Xena also a domestic shorthair. They live close to Hartley Nature Center, where her and Nelly love to hike through the park. Swimming is Nelly’s favorite pastime and she loves to go for a dip any chance she can.
Theron S started as part of our front desk staff in August 2017. Originally from Hawaii, Theron has lived in a variety of places with his military family. He stayed in Duluth for schooling and has lived in the area for three years. Theron has had a plethora of pets including birds, lizards, an aquarium, slugs, cats, a Jack Russell, and most recently his Shelti pup, Laika.