Heather opened emBARK and began serving dogs and their owners in 2005, but the journey that led to this labor of love began long before that. In 1983, Heather stepped into a simple 4H project and began sharing life with an English Springer Spaniel. That special relationship became the driving force behind emBARK many years later. While Heather has a degree in Dietetics from UW-Madison, her love for all things dog conquered her career goals, and in December of 2005, she left the healthcare field to pursue her vision of working with dogs. The business, which has grown in the past 15 years from a single proprietor (Heather) to employing 26 dog care professionals, offers daycare, training classes, grooming, massage, and behavior consulting. It didn’t take long before Heather racked up dog training credentials: CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA, AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator, Living and Learning with Animals Applied Behavior Analysis course certificate of completion, is a certified level II Canine Sports Massage provider and hosts her own podcast. She is a member of APDT (premium professional), IAABC, Upper Midwest Flat-Coated Retriever Club vice president, Flat Coated Retriever Club of America and has served as a Learning Theory and Behavior guest lecturer at the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire and presented a lecture on body language to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
Heather is a steward of her farm and acreage in west central Wisconsin with her husband and her Flat Coated Retrievers. She is an avid hiker, a certified Master Naturalist, cyclist, mountain biker, backpacker, cross country skier, gardener, reader, and curious observer of the natural world. She has shown and competed with her dogs in multiple venues since the age of 13. Her passion for learning in all things is endless, and there is a huge force within her heart to do good for all creatures.