Meet Our Ranchers
Everyone who works at the Dog Ranch is a thoroughly trained dog handler and cleaner, and all staff are educated and overseen by Karen. The Handlers are also guided by an Operation Manual and Employee Handbook covering all aspects of caring for dogs. Handlers, Trainers, and Groomers all have up to date qualifications.
Karen’s 20-year entrepreneurial business career in Toronto and Vancouver has always been paired with her love of dogs and being outdoors. As owner, managing director and co-creator of the Dog Ranch, she is responsible for all Ranch operations and overall canine and human satisfaction. Karen can jump into almost any role, and is tireless in her efforts to ensure the Dog Ranch delivers the highest quality, totally dog-centred boarding services in Greater Vancouver and Bowen Island. On Bowen, Karen and the Dog Ranch are enthusiastic participants in all kinds of community activities; the Ranch has made many friends on the Island, the North Shore and in Greater Vancouver.
Steve is a long-time Bowen Islander and, after a career in the city, took the big leap to get out from behind a desk and work on Bowen full-time. He has recently jumped in feet first to helping Karen oversee the Dog Ranch as General Manager, after spending the previous 2 years part time as a valued member of the Dog Ranch dog-handling team as well as overseeing the endless building and property work. Steve has a never-ending enthusiasm for our dogs, and they clearly adore him.
Ellen learned how to groom, show and handle dogs at a very young age. Her show-dog experience, particularly, deepened her skill and understanding of various breeds and cuts. Many people know Ellen from her years working at Capilano Pet Hospital in North Vancouver. A long-time Bowen Islander, Ellen is now Head Groomer and (always in the company of her pampered Pekingese pups) has become an important member of the Dog Ranch team. You will also meet her, and can talk to her about your dog’s grooming needs, when she drives the city shuttle and picks up all her new friends.
A born teacher and dog lover, Cheryl Barchuk is a Certified Dog Trainer and heads up our training program. She brings to her role at the Dog Ranch an impressive background in outdoor adventure leadership and training (including dog-sled adventure leadership) and has worked in a variety of kennels across Canada—and has a history for turning her passions into exciting life adventures. Cheryl graduated from the Brunton Canine Training Services and, combining her credentials with excellent instructional and dog-handling experience, she offers a wide range of obedience and behaviour classes at the Dog Ranch.
Stephanie Carruthers is our high-energy Hikes & Swims leader. Originally from Moonstone, Ontario, she has been hiking the West Coast mountains, both with and without dogs, since moving here 12 years ago. Stephanie’s passion for dogs, and vast experience in working with them, inspired her to partner with Karen Munro of the Bowen Island Dog Ranch to create this exciting new service. Steph has made Bowen Island home now, and it is a pleasure having her as not only part of the Dog Ranch team, but also a part of our island community.
A desire to be closer to nature drew Stefanie to Bowen Island, and an abiding love of creatures brought her to the Dog Ranch, and we are delighted she found us. Her previous roles as hair stylist and multi-tasking receptionist were ideal preparation for the challenges of handling the many jobs as a full-time dog handler, social media and video-making expert at the Dog Ranch—all grounded in huge affection for our dog guests.
Sophie grew up on Bowen, and worked with animals throughout her school years. On the island, she’s worked at The Cat’s Pajamas, our local cat boarding establishment, and as a stable assistant at Evergreen Acres, as well as at Crescent Stables in Langley. Before she heads out on her next school venture, we are lucky to have Sophie’s passion and experience on board to help us care for all the special pooches at the Dog Ranch.
Carey’s abilities in handling, caring for and teaching dogs is evident through her background in therapeutic counselling for children and adults, rooted in a Bachelor Science degree. With her special blend of energy, passion and sense of calm, she adds her considerable experience in animal care for Bowen families. As a member of the Dog Handler team, Carey is now helping us deliver the Dog Ranch’s trademark promise of providing the happiest place on earth for dogs.
Annabelle grew up with a love for animals, from babysitting parrots, to walking dogs all over Bowen. After high school she was lucky to find work with one of her favourite animals, dogs, and is now a part time dog handler here at the Dog Ranch. She has a soft spot for senior dogs, having two old pugs of her own. She plans to continue balancing her time with her love for animals, theater and film.
Quite simply, the Ranch wouldn’t exist without Tim! He assisted Karen through the original business plan, and helps design all aspects of the Ranch buildings, systems, landscaping and administration. In short, he is an invaluable advisor to Karen, bringing tremendous expertise, professionalism and valued friendship.