Meet The Team
Adam started walking dogs off-leash in 2014 in the mountains surrounding Anchorage. An enthusiastic trail runner, Adam noticed the dogs he ran with seemed happier and more playful when exercised in a pack out in nature, and thus the concept of off-leash Adventures was born. Since the beginning, Adam had big plans for this business. In the Summer of 2018, Adam had found his missing puzzle piece in Heather. Acknowledging his need for assistance in many areas of the company, Adam brought Heather on as a business partner. Heather stepped up to the challenge not only eager but motivated and focused to help Adam bring this company to new heights.
With a B.S. degree in Small Business Management, Heather felt prepared and excited to improve every aspect of the business. Together Adam and Heather are on a relentless pursuit of progress towards a more professional organization. Here are some of Heather's policies: Try to hire the right person, but if they end up not having a skill, find someone new or adjust the job description so they are able to meet your expectations. Unrealistically high expectations of employees leads to resentment from the boss and insecurity and stress resulting from the employee. Some qualities aren't optional. All our employees have above average levels of empathy towards others and especially animals. We have fired multiple employees not for making mistakes, but rather for not caring enough. We are in the business of caring.
A lifelong Alaskan resident, Samantha or Sam as she likes to be called, is a Natural Sciences college student who is enthusiastic to start a career working with animals. There is an obvious sincerity and integrity about Sam that is refreshing and uncommon. She takes her work seriously and it is clear that her focused determination will take her far in life. Her experience as a dog owner has given her a good foundation for understanding dogs. She has a chihuahua mix named Tucker and a Chow mix named Lexi. She also worked with dogs professionally as an assistant for a dog groomer before beginning with us as a trainer and runner. She has gained our confidence to the degree that we gave her the responsibility of starting a pack in Wasilla. She is comfortable working with dogs that need special handling because of fear or aggression.
Spending most of her life in Alaska, Darby loves hiking outside with dogs. Darby is wise beyond her years with a great deal of maturity gained from the challenges she has overcome in her life. She has a warmth to her personality that puts you at ease and an unassuming intelligence that instills an immediate sense of trust and confidence in her abilities. Watching her handle dogs portrays her many years of close contact with dogs, both her own and those she has worked with at the Midnight Sun Animal Hospital where she works as a receptionist. She is the pack leader for the "slow pack" who are composed of short-legged and senior dogs who like to move a little slower. With her exposure to the medical care of animals, she is a wonderful resource for questions on animal health. She has two of her own dogs, a chocolate lab named Bruce and a chihuahua named Sox.
Rashael has called Alaska home since she was 3 years old. She lives here with her husband, 5 year old son, and two dogs, Bear, a pug/chihuahua mix and a senior chihuahua named Tito. Rashael’s cheerful and positive demeanor wins the hearts of our clients and their dogs alike. Don’t let her sweetness fool you, she is also one tough little mama, beating cancer a few years ago with a renewed determination to embrace life enthusiastically. Rashael has her own pack of dogs in Eagle River and is currently accepting new members. She showed a natural affinity for animal training at a young age when she spent months taming a wild squirrel, and this determination shows as she has worked with a couple reactive dogs to enable them to enjoy off-leash adventures.
Darick moved to Alaska from Missouri in 2018, with his girlfriend, Lizzy, and their two rescues, Sophi a catahoula mix and Doug, a pratt hound/basset hound mix. They came to Alaska wanting to buy land and settle here, lured by the promise of beautiful hiking locations. And they have not been disappointed. As an employee his stand-out quality is how reliable, and conscientious he is. And being a very careful and skilled driver is a critical asset when transporting your dogs in sometimes hazardous driving conditions. He is very kind-hearted and gentle with the dogs, so we know they are in good hands. I never see him happier than when he is petting a dog. Darick has an excellent driving record, a clean federal background check, and is bonded and insured, so our clients feel more than comfortable giving him access to their homes and transporting their fur babies.
Lillianna is a young animal lover whom we hired to take over some of our our pet sitting jobs. She has had her own animals but is just starting out in professional pet care. A quality that is hard to find in young people, Lilli has a strong commitment to doing the job right. We don’t tolerate carelessness or poor communication with our employees and she has impressed us with her maturity and reliability. Adam still oversees all pet sitting jobs and fills in if necessary when she can’t go to a visit, which adds an extra layer of confidence that client's have when they leave their pets in our care. Lilli has completed vet assistant training, so she is comfortable administering medication, or caring for special needs pets.
Janelle is our most recent pack leader. In a short time, she mastered navigating the trails with a pack of dogs without getting lost and building strong relationships with each pack member. Her previous jobs have all been physically demanding, and this one is no exception. As an agile, quick thinking, Alaska born-and-raised tough woman, her common sense allows her to keep the dogs safe on the trail as they stick together and watch out for other hikers and wildlife. She has quickly picked up the training from Adam and Heather as they show her how to read a dog's body language and understand the difference between play fighting and aggression so she can manage the pack and report any issues that may need to be addressed with training.
Lizzy, as she likes to go by, is our Office Manager and Bookkeeper. When Darick told us that she was looking for a new job, we snatched her up because Heather was getting very behind in the office the busier she got in the field. Lizzy has been an amazingly quick learner and has overseen the implementation of several new systems that are increasing the professionalism of the business. Lizzy's level-headed competence is a valuable asset in the office as she handles everything efficiently, all the while bantering cheerfully with Caroline and taking breaks to love on the dogs. She works well under pressure, so we are very lucky to have found such a dedicated employee to manage the support activities of the business.
Caroline is our office assistant and doggy daycare mom. Florida born and raised, she recently relocated to Anchorage with her dog. Fostering dogs for a number of years, she finally adopted a dog of her own named Miss Deeds, a Pitt\Terrier who developed some severe behavior problems. After experiencing the transformation that a board-and-train program made for her reactive dog, Caroline became interested in the dog care industry. She worked for a doggy daycare in Florida for two years before bringing her experience and goofy personality up here to Anchorage. You cannot mistake her love of all dogs when you see her come into work and greet all the smiling faces and wagging tails and the dogs love her equally in response.
Dustin is our new dog training assistant who is working to earn multiple certifications in dog training. With a beautiful daughter to take care of, he is excited to start a new career as a dog trainer. He looks forward to rehabilitating fearful or aggressive dogs, and has a calm personality that draws dogs naturally to him. His sister runs a Dog Training Academy for police dogs, so her work inspires him to learn as much as he can about dogs and how they think. With excellent comprehension Dustin soaks up information like a sponge and quickly is gaining new skills in behavior modification and we will be cross training him to do pickups and dropoffs as well as run dogs as needed.