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Our Staff – Detroit

Liz Blondy

Founder and Owner
Liz Blondy Canine to Five
Liz is a long-time Detroiter who, after a decade in sales, decided to combine her love of animals and her hometown passion into a career. In 2005, she opened Canine to Five Detroit Dog Daycare in Midtown and in 2013, Canune to Five Ferndale. Both facilities offer daycare, boarding and grooming and the business also facilitates trainings and hosts events like pack walks and dog-friendly happy hours. Averaging upwards of 250 dogs per day between the two locations, she is next poised to expand her original facility in 2017.   Canine to Five is now recognized as a Detroit small business success story, and Liz has emerged as a staunch and prominent advocate for Detroit’s resurgence. Firmly convinced that small businesses are the key to true revival, she co-founded Open City Detroit, a networking group designed to encourage entrepreneurship, and participates in many initiatives to foster a strong grassroots business community. Liz resides in a renovated Eastern Market storefront with her partner Pat Deegan and her Great Pyrenees Argon. The couple recently purchased a vacant church in the North End neighborhood that will become their next home.

Sarah Burdick

Facility Manager

Joined Canine to Five Team in 2017

Pets: Misha and Everest, Siberian Huskies, Bobby Hill, a Pit/Boxer mix, April O’Neil, a Persian cat, and Zelda, a chunky orange cat

After working over 6 years at a Humane Society, Sarah has an extensive background in dog behavior, safe animal handling, enrichment, and training. She had the opportunity to educate staff and volunteers throughout Michigan. She also has a Bachelor of Science in Brain, Behavior, and Cognitive Science from the University of Michigan. Sarah’s favorite thing about working at CTF? “I love the culture…all of the customers (furry and human) and staff are like a big Canine to Five family. We care about all of the dogs as if they were our own pets.​” She currently lives in Wyandotte, and enjoys expanding her knowledge of animal behavior, bike riding, and spending time with friends and family outside of work.


Sally Barens

HR Coordinator

Joined Canine to Five Team in 2016

Pets: 3 African Spur Tortoises (Guinness, Dolores, and Louise), a Russian Tortoise (Ralphie), and a Red Foot Tortoise (Murphy), two cats named Puma and Sabrina, and an English Bulldog/Beagle mix puppy named Gatsby

Sally came to us with seven years experience in HR, we pretty much snatched her on the spot! She spends her spring volunteering at Kensington Metro Park.She enjoys tennis, writing, spending time with her family, and learning as much as she can about the brain. She’s also really into traveling; she’s been to 6 different countries, and can’t wait to get out there and see more!

When asked what her favorite part is about Canine to Five, she said “the culture, environment, and people. There’s a vibrant and genuine feel just when you walk in, and the team members truly have a passion and understand of the importance of a team environment, and exuding our core values on a daily basis. Also, that Liz is so passionate about growing her business and providing the best possible service.” Sally currently resides in Downtown Detroit with her boyfriend and his brother.

Jesse Miller

Employee Development Manager

Joined Canine to Five team in 2015

Pets: Two gorgeous Pit Bulls named Aaliyah Dana and Gator Marie

Jesse is fascinated by and enamored with dogs! Even outside of work she spends a lot of her time learning about canine behavior and psychology, as well as working (and playing!) with her own dog. Though she is an equal opportunity dog-lover, she can’t deny that she has a very special weakness for one particular group: our canine ‘senior citizens’. Other than dogs her favorite things are cooking and watching The X-Files. Jesse lives in Detroit.

Aubrey Gourd

Reservation Specialist

Joined Canine to Five Team in 2015

Pets: A German Shorthaired Pointer named Phil

Before Canine To Five, Aubrey went to school for Biology and worked in sales. She currently resides in Dearborn with her boyfriend, Jeff, and her dog. She says she has way too many hobbies like gardening, canoeing, practicing the violin, reading, traveling and more. When we asked her about why she likes to work at Canine To Five, she said, “Who wouldn’t love working with dogs all day?”

Rikki Danley

Customer Service Supervisor
Canine to Five Ferndale Detroit Staff
Joined Canine to Five Team in 2015

Pets: A French Bulldog named Opie (aka Chunk)

Before starting at Canine To Five, Rikki lived in California and owned a Tattoo Shop. An avid welder, Rikki owns Danley Custom Wood and Iron where she creates functional art focused around metal and fiber. She also loves to spend time with her dogs, read and travel. She currently resides in Detroit with her french bulldogs, Opie and Floki.

Paige Gutholm

Customer Service

Joined Canine to Five Team in 2015

Pets: Two dogs named Leyland and Pooba

Before joining us at Canine To Five, Paige volunteered at the Animal Welfare Society in Madison Heights and worked at the desk at a tanning salon. When she isn’t working she likes to spend time taking her dogs on adventures and painting. When we asked her why she wanted to work at Canine To Five Paige said, “I’ve always known I wanted to work with dogs!”

Milana King

Customer Service
 Canine to Five team

Joined Canine to Five team in 2016

Pets: An Australian Shepherd/German Shepherd puppy named Pepper, and a LA-born rescue mix named Ochki

A former teacher at Denby High School in Detroit and Northwestern University near Chicago (Go ‘Cubs!), Milana came to join the CTF family with a serious love for cuddling puppies. Her hobbies include discussing education policy issues and playing practical jokes on work friends. She’s currently renovating a dilapidated house in Detroit with her husband, Kevin to turn into home sweet home! Milana loves interacting with customers and talking about their dogs, “Dogs have a unique way of connecting people as they’re a direct line to our hearts! Also, the people who work here make me feel happy and loved every day. They are truly a special bunch of people.”

Samantha Hillmer

Customer Service

Joined Canine to Five team in 2017

Pets: A Boxer mix named Charlie

If you look up “Dog Lover” in the dictionary, Sam’s picture will show up! With over 10 years experience working with animals, she’s gained knowledge working everywhere from grooming salons to vet clinics. She’s worked with border patrol K9’s, horses, and newborn puppies! Sam even runs her own website about – you guessed it – dogs! She’s even received her Dog Obedience Training certificate from Penn Foster. When she’s not at work, Sam loves taking pictures with her DSLR of dogs and her two adorable daughters, Hailey and Hannah. Her favorite thing about working at Canine to Five is “getting to meet new people and dogs everyday!” She currently resides in Allen Park with her husband, Matt and their two daughters.

Nicole Somoski

Playroom Supervisor
Nicole Somoski Canine to Five
Joined Canine to Five team in 2008

Pets: Azul, a Great Dane, Ruin, a Neapolitan Mastiff and Lyric, a Chihuahua

Nicole works at Canine to Five for a very simple reason: she loves dogs and all their different personalities. When she was just 10 years old, she began volunteering for a variety of animal-focused organizations, from Companion Pet Rescue to H-CAT (Hamtramck Cat Assistance Team). Her mom used to manage the Royal Oak Animal Shelter, where Nicole gained tons of experience. Nicole lives in Detroit. She loves to go on road trips, get tattoos, play video games, work on her reptile collection and shop — when she is not playing with your dog!

Cullen Perry

Playroom Supervisor
Cullen Perry Canine to Five
Joined Canine to Five Team in 2012

Pets: Dogs, Birdie & Beowulf, and Cats, Bosco & Beatrice

Cullen loves working with dogs, learning their different personalities, getting to know their unique play styles, and what motivates them. Cullen had been working with animals for two years prior to joining us at Canine to Five. When he’s not outside playing in our pools with your dog, Cullen enjoys hanging out with his friends, listening to music and being outdoors.

Cecilia Perry

Playroom Lead
Cecilia Perry Dog Daycare Ferndale
Joined Canine to Five Team in 2014

Pets: A dog named Garfunkel, a prairie dog named Lily, and two cats, Julius and Angelo

Cecilia resides in Dearborn and studies music at Wayne State. She enjoys working at Canine to Five because of its proximity to campus and the fun atmosphere. Besides supervising in our Playroom, you may also see Cecilia working at our desk as well as in our groom room! We are so lucky to have such a multi-talented member of our team!

Alex Eggersten

Pack Leader
Alex Eggertsen Doggie Daycare
Joined Canine to Five Team in 2013

Pets: Mack, a Catahoula Leopard Dog

Alex loves working at Canine to Five because nothing beats working in the pack. Alex finds working with dogs to be a greatly rewarding experience. She lives in Ferndale and is studying sociology at Wayne State University. Alex has been a dog owner her whole life. When she isn’t working Alex can be found out hunting for great new books to read, playing with her dog, riding her bike, practicing yoga or binge watching Netflix.

Jessica Merkle

Pack Leader
Jessica Merkle K925
Joined Canine to Five Team in 2014

Pets: A Pitbull named Samantha

Jessica works seasonally for the Detroit Tigers and is an art vendor at Eastern Market. After learning about Canine to Five from her neighbor and CTF founder, Liz, she knew she wanted to join the pack because “I’ve always loved dogs, have always owned one since 5 years old, and have always wanted to work with them.” Jessica currently resides in a penthouse loft in Eastern Market with her dog and three Detroit musician roommates.

Nick Whatley

Pack Leader
Nick Canine to Five Team
Joined Canine to Five Team in 2015

Pets: A Pug named Pudgy

Before Canine to Five, Nick worked at a salon as a hairdresser and manager. His hobbies include working out, playing pool and hanging out around town. Nick currently lives in Grosse Pointe Park with his dog. Nick chose Canine to Five because he loves dogs and being active, he gets plenty of active time here keeping up with our pack!

Ryan ChlebekDetroit Dog Daycare Pack Leader

Pack Leader

Joined Canine to Five Team in 2016

Pets: One cat, Stu

Ryan is a simple guy with simple tastes. In his downtime, he enjoys reading comic books, playing music, riding bikes, taking baths, but most of all, he enjoys eating. Ryan resides in Wyandotte with Stu and his mother, where he spends plenty of time watching movies and sharing food with Stu. When asked what he loves most about working with dogs, Ryan said he just loves making new dog friends everyday and giving them their own pretend voices that match their personalities.

Matt Somoski

Pack LeaderMatt Somoski Canine to Five

Joined Canine to Five team in 2016

Pets: A Basset Hound/Bulldog mix named Lloyd

We welcomed Matt to our Detroit team in May of this year. He’s a great guy, and lives with an adorable dog named Lloyd and his roommate, Dave. Matt is an avid thrifter, shoe collector, and hockey enthusiast. Matt’s favorite thing about working at Canine to Five is bonding with all the amazing dogs we have in our pack!

Denis Rochac

Pack LeaderDenis Rochac Canine to Five

Joined Canine to Five team in 2016

Pets: Two dogs named High Top and Punkin, and a cat named Kimchi

Denis lives with his girlfriend, two dogs, and a cat. Aside from working with us at Canine to Five, Denis is also a teacher! He enjoys making music in his free time. His favorite part of the job is working with the humans AND dogs.

Lauren Millard

Pack LeaderCanine to Five About Us

Joined Canine to Five team in 2016

Pets: A Pitty Mix named Rosie

Lauren is a resident of West Village who lives with her roommates Cara and Scott, and her adorable Pitty nug Rosie! She’s a former Sandwich Artist and Humane Society of Huron Valley dog walker, and has also worked with a semi-professional hockey team! Lauren is all about school and work – she attended Wayne for her Undergrad and currently working on her Masters. In her spare time, Lauren loves biking around Belle Isle with her dog and eating all the local food! She also likes trying to play Broomball at Campus Martius in the winter. Lauren’s favorite thing about working at Canine to Five is, “we have the best people, the best pups, and the best pup parents! AKA everything.”

Cassidee Downs

Pack LeaderCanine to Five

Joined Canine to Five team in 2016

Pets: A Toy Fox Terrier named Harley, aka Hughie

Before joining the Canine to Five family, Cassidee was a hostess at Gold Cash Gold. She’s a huge fan of traveling because it offers different perspectives and a better understanding of how our world operates. She also loves making pottery, being outside riding her bike, watching movies, and spending time with her friends and loved ones. Cassidee is currently dual enrolled at Wayne State University for Psychology and Linguistics, and Oakland Community College for a certification in Ceramic Technology. She’ll graduate in May of 2017 with her BA! She resides in Midtown, and her favorite part of working at Canine to Five would be “building relationships with both the people and dogs I work with! Also, all the goodies customers bring in for us!”

Danielle Campbell

Pack Leader

Joined Canine to Five team in 2016

Pets: Two dogs

Before joining the CTF family, Danielle worked at Dick’s Sporting Goods. She loves sports and all things athletic, and puts her athletic skills to serious use running around with our pack! She currently resides in Harrison Township with her parents and two dogs. When asked what made her join the pack, Danielle said she “has a huge passion for all things dog.” We couldn’t agree more!

Steven Wagner

Pack Leader

Joined Canine to Five team in 2016

Pets: A dog and two cats

Previously employed at Sy Thai GO!, Steven resides in Midtown with his girlfriend, a friend, a dog, and two cats. Steven is all about anything he can do with his dog, and loves watching a ton of TV. Steven’s favorite thing about working with our pack is “learning every day how better to raise my pets and the ones I’ve gotten to know here.”

Stephanie Booth


Joined Canine to Five Team in 2011

Pets: A Catahoula Leopard dog named Peanut

Prior to joining us at Canine to Five, Steph had already been working with dogs for over four years. She’s loved dogs ever since she was a little girl, so it won’t surprise you to hear that her favorite thing about this job is getting to work with every different breed, size and personality of dog. Steph is always interested in doing volunteer work, especially helping to find foster homes for animals (even if it’s her own home!). Steph got married in October 2014 and she lives in Garden City with her husband and dog.

Lauren Blanchard

Lauren Canine to Five
Joined Canine to Five Team in 2015

Pets: A cute fat cat named Foxy and an Australian Shepherd, aptly named Aussie

Before starting at Canine to Five, Lauren groomed dogs for over 4 years in Macomb County. In her free time she likes to go camping, read books, and get drinks with friends. She currently lives in Warren. Lauren says she chose to work at Canine to Five because of the constant activity, and upbeat positive attitude of everyone that works here. She loves that everyone seems to truly love their job as much as she does!

Lisa Barnett

Lisa Barnett Canine to Five
Joined Canine to Five Team in 2014

Pets: A Boxer-Pitt named Peanutbutter

Equipped with over 2 years of grooming experience prior to joining the Canine to Five Team, Lisa brings a lot to our grooming table. Lisa lives near our past Ferndale location and when we asked her why she chose to join our team she said, “When I saw people taking their dogs in both the pets and the owners seemed excited. I got the impression that people genuinely felt good about bringing their business to Canine to Five. ” Lisa lives with her boyfriend and dog, Peanutbutter. In her free time she likes to craft, roller blade and read. She can also often be found at local venues listening to bands play.

Amanda Stanon

GroomerAmanda Stanon Canine to Five

Joined Canine to Five team in 2016

Pets: Three dogs, Lucie, Riley, and Stella

Before coming to Canine to Five, Amanda was a dog groomer for another facility. Although she claims to have no hobbies, Amanda loves working with animals, dogs in particular! Amanda’s favorite part of the job is working with the dogs!