PIWY Finalists

Finalists for the
Pet Industry Woman of the Year Awards 2016

Congratulations to all of those who were nominated for the
Pet Industry Woman of the Year Awards 2016!

Scroll down to view all of our amazing finalists!

NOTE: We use independent judges NOT in the pet industry – business leaders who select on our philosophies of giving, growing and connecting. I’m so glad I have nothing to do with the selection!
– Shawna Schuh

In no order:

Advocate Finalists

alisa Johnson_wipin

Alisa Johnson, Dog on Deployment


Our mission is to give military members peace of mind concerning their pets during their service commitments by providing them with the ability to find people and resources able to help them. Dogs on Deployment is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit providing a central network for military members to find volunteers willing to board their pets while they are deployed or have other service commitments, making them unable to temporarily care for their pets. No pet should ever be surrendered to a shelter due to a military commitment. DoD exists to help military members keep their pets by alleviating the need for pet relinquishment from military members due to the hardships of deployments. Additionally, Dogs on Deployment promotes responsible, life-long pet ownership in the military community by: Advocating for military pet owner rights on military installations; Providing educational resources for military members about responsible pet ownership; Granting financial assistance to military members for help with their pet’s care during emergencies; Promoting healthy pet lifestyles, including spay and neuter, insurance options and vaccinations; Connecting with community organizations to ensure Dogs on Deployment resources are available to military families Dogs on Deployment aids pets of all types that belong to active duty, reservists, guard, honorably discharged veterans and their families.

Click here for more on Dogs on Deployment

Twitter | Facebook

Dani McVety, DVM, Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice

Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice is one of the first services of it’s kind, and now a nationally recognized organization providing in-home, end of life veterinary care. Partnering with over 80 veterinarians around the country (and soon around the world!), Lap of Love is dedicated to making the most difficult time of a pet owner’s life just a little bit easier. Families expect veterinarians to save their pet’s life, but when that ultimate decision comes, they need the kind of doctor that will walk with them, hold their hand, and give them permission to let go when the time comes. The biggest gift we give our pets is the release from suffering, and the biggest gift we give the families that love them is the release from guilt.

Click here for more on Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice

Twitter | Facebook

dani mcvety_wipin

Eileen Lambert, Colorado Pet Pantry

Eileen the executive director of the Colorado Pet Pantry, a growing pet food bank in the Denver/Boulder-metro area of Colorado. Our mission is to temporarily feed Colorado pets, allowing families to increase their ability to care for pets with the goal of keeping them out of shelters and with their families.

Click here for Eileen’s Website
Twitter | Facebook

Marci Koski, Feline Behavior Solutions


As a certified cat behaviorist in a world full of dog trainers and dog behaviorists, I’m a bit of a rarity in the behavior consulting field. I created Feline Behavior Solutions for the benefit of cats and their people; my mission (even outside my business) is to keep cats out of shelters as the result of treatable behavior issues. Many people simply give up on “problem” cats, and have no idea that behavior issues such as litter-box problems, aggression towards other pets or people, or destructive behavior can be improved or resolved by having a better understanding of cats’ environmental and social needs. Which is what my business is all about! Most of the work I do is with cat guardians, diagnosing why their cat’s problematic behavior is occurring and providing them with education and guidance to implement solutions. I visit people and their kitties in their homes to get a first-hand look at the environment (I also do this through Skype for long-distance clients), then provide them with a custom behavior plan that explains why their cat is exhibiting inappropriate behavior, what the need for that behavior is all about, and how they can change the environment (or their actions) to give their cat an appropriate outlet for that behavior. Additionally, I provide both free and paid services that help people avoid or prevent behavior issues from happening in the first place. I offer “paws-on” training and in-home evaluations to identify potential problem areas, and I also give free classes locally on topics such as litter-box issues (“Thinking INSIDE the box”) and caring for senior cats. I also donate my time as a cat behaviorist to two animal rescue organizations, including writing guidance and designing activities for a cat socialization program at a local minimum-security prison.

Click here for Feline Behavior Solution’s Website
Twitter | Facebook

Photo by Erica J Mitchell
tania isenstein photo

Tania Isenstein, Camp Canine

A lifelong animal lover, Tania had been a decade-long client of Camp Canine when she left her career as a lawyer on Wall Street to take ownership. She knows all too well the balancing the demands of a career and caring for a fur child can be challenging. Tania can often be found working to make Camp Canine the best facility in NYC, with a sleeping dog or two on her desk and a smile on her face.

Not only does Tania now run one of the most popular premier dog daycares in NYC, she also advocates for other dog daycares to open their hearts and facilities to a foster dog or two. At any one time, Camp Canine usually has 1-3 foster dogs living or coming to daycare at Camp Canine. She encourages her staff members to get involved with fostering as well and keeps “Foster Dog Manuals” from Foster Dogs Inc. at the front desk of the facility. Tania is a firm believer that other dog daycares and boarding facilities in NYC should do the same (sadly, most do not). Tania keeps herself and her business constantly involved in rescue through fostering, donations, events, and advocacy. Any foster dog that comes through the doors of Camp Canine gets a lifetime membership and all other dogs adopted from partner organizations come with a free year membership.

One organization Tania has worked with the most is Animal Lighthouse Rescue (ALR). ALR rescues dogs from the streets of Puerto Rico while promoting the spaying and neutering of the 200,000+ street dogs roaming Puerto Rico at any one time. ALR brings many of these amazing dogs up north to find loving forever homes. This both helps the dogs and Puerto Rico’s economy since these dogs (satos) are considered pests and have disrupted tourism. Puerto Rico’s euthanasia rates are around 95% (vs only 15% in NYC) and unfortunately because of the excess of dogs everywhere there are almost no adoptions. Camp Canine often has one or more satos from ALR living at Camp Canine. Tania and her staff also recently had a sato reunion of adopted ALR dogs and also raised $27,000 for the rescue during an evening cocktail party fundraiser (100% of everything went to the rescue).

Not only is Tania involved with multiple dog rescue organizations through Camp Canine, she is also a board member for The Hope Program which provides job training for those in poverty. Camp Canine often takes interns from this program as well to help give individuals the job experience they need to get back on their feet.

Recently Tania has also gotten involved with another organization, The Wild Tomorrow Fund, which is working to buy land in Africa for a nature reserve.

Click here for Camp Canine’s Website
Twitter | Facebook

Corporate Finalists


Alisha Navarro, 2 Hounds Design

2 Hounds Design manufactures the Freedom No Pull Harness as well as high end dog collars trimmed with luxury fabrics and ribbons, sometimes hand-embroidered or painted. All of our products are made in the USA with US sourced components where possible. We are proud to put that Made in the USA label on all of our products! We also work hard to help the pet community by donating to rescues and adoption groups worldwide. Our goal is to get people and their dogs outside, walking, and enjoying the world around them. We have grown from a single woman operation working in the spare bedroom of our home to a full-fledged business with 42 employees.

Click here for 2 Hounds Design’s Website
Twitter | Facebook

Debbie Hamill, iFetch

iFetch is a dog toy company that cares about pet health and creating a bond between pets and their parents. We want dogs to be stimulated both physically and mentally while enjoying themselves. Our first product was the iFetch automatic ball launcher for small to medium dogs. We made the product interactive by designing it with a funnel on top so that clever pets could be trained to place the ball into the machine and have it magically launch for their fetching pleasure. Next, we introduced the iFetch Too for medium to large dogs who fetched with larger (standard sized) tennis balls. We designed our most recent new product, the iFetch Frenzy, as another fetching alternative for dogs who enjoy the mental stimulation of ball activities as much as the physical. This product is a non-electronic, gravity-driven toy, which accelerates the ball out of 1 of 3 chutes at the bottom of the Frenzy at random. It is still interactive – just like our other iFetch products – in that the dog can be trained to place the ball in the top of the tower and play fetch to his heart’s content. We love the customer feedback we receive from customers who feel such pride and enjoyment watching their dogs interact with the iFetch toys. They are pleasantly surprised to find that playing with the iFetch is actually a bonding experience with their dogs and not the passive experience they may have been expecting.

Click here for iFetch’s Website
Twitter | Facebook


Deborah Turner, Dean Insurance Agency, Inc

Imagine going to work where every day you keep families together with their pups, save the lives of animals that would be PTS because they look like a particular breed. Or you save a dog who is in doggy jail for some infraction like saying hello to the neighbor who lost her balance and broke her hip. Does that really make that dog dangerous, according to laws in many areas, yes. Dean Insurance agency, is an independent agency, formed in 1994 as a partnership between myself and Ann Geisler. I am fortunate in that 99% of my business comes from referrals from happy clients. As a CPCU (Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter) we are expected to do research and share it with the industry. I adopted, Jazz a Mini Schnauzer, with a personality disorder in 2001 I became fascinated with canine behavior in 2005 I realized that the insurance industry as a whole does not understand how to underwrite dogs. I had started a research project, got busy, came back to it in 2010 when a comment changed my life and direction of this agency “I think this would make a good policy”.

Click here for Website
Twitter | Facebook

Gila Kurtz, Dog is Good


Dog is Good is an award winning lifestyle brand for dog lovers. We create original designs for a broad array of products including gifts, apparel, accessories, and home decor specifically for the human at the other end of the leash. We sell wholesale, retail, and license the brand to numerous manufacturers in the pet, gift, and home decor industries. Known for our clever use of humor and poignant sentiments, the Dog is Good brand is a favorite among dog lovers worldwide. In a survey conducted by Pet Age Magazine in January 2016, Dog is Good was recognized as the number one brand of choice among pet retailers in the “gifts for pet lovers” category. Dog is Good is also recognized for their corporate giving program, which has supported a number of causes, nonprofits, and organizations that highlight the positive benefits of the dog­human bond.

Click here for Website
Twitter | Facebook


Penny Johnson, Sturdi Products Inn

Incorporated in 1993 in Washington State, Sturdi Products®, Inc. has become a leading producer of pet carriers and portable pop up shelters for cats and toy to small sized dogs. Sturdi has gained an international reputation for designing unique, attractive, durable and adaptable products that reflect the needs of customers who travel with cats and small dogs. Sturdi manufactures professional quality soft sided SturdiBag™ pet carriers, portable pop up shelters, foldable water-tight boxes, orthopedic pads, corporate promotional products and other unique items geared to cats and small dogs. Sturdi now offers over 40 unique, top quality and innovative pet products. Products are developed with a focus on pet travel, emergency preparedness planning and pet show exhibition.

Click here to view Website
Twitter | Facebook

Entrepreneur Finalists


Carina Evans, Dog Rocks USA LLC

Dog Rocks USA LLC sources natural solutions for pet parents. We are passionate about innovation, sustainability, natural resources and ensuring that the joy and responsibility of caring for pets is enhanced by our products. Our portfolio is led by Dog Rocks (www.dogrocks.com) and complemented by Pet Remedy (www.petremedyusa.com), PetproBio (www.petprobio.com) and others. We source and manufacture products from Europe and Australasia and bring them to the US market. We sell mainly through distributors to big box and independent retailers in the pet, vet and gardening sectors.

Click here for Website
Twitter | Facebook

Dorothy Hunter, Paw’s Natural Pet Emporium

Business #1, Paw’s Natural Pet Emporium LLC is a 11,000 sqft pet supply store with pet adoptions. We only sell foods that are free of corn, wheat, soy, BHA BHT ethoxoqine and sourced from reputable countries. Our team is passionate about animals, The customer service that we give has a wow factor to our customers and we treat them like family Business #2 Bizacountability Bizacountability was an online ratings and reviews web site for business to business, to enable people to read ratings and reviews to enable businesses to choose reputable distributors. Unfortunately many retailers feared retaliation from distributors if they wrote a negative review, and were concerned that if they did the distributor would no longer serve them Instead of alleviating the issues.. The failure of this business taught me many aspects that I didn’t think about when starting it, I’m humbled and grateful for what I learned from this business failing. I feel that it was a process I needed to go through to make me better moving forward. Business #3 Paws @ Sea! This business has been in the making for 12 years. It is a concept chain franchise store on cruise ships, so families are able to purchase gifts for their furry loved ones that we’re left at home. Paw@Sea! Will be the first international franchise pet store on the high seas ever! 

Click here for website
Twitter | Facebook 


Jennifer Williams, Cuddle Clones

Our flagship product is our plush Cuddle Clone, which is a 100% custom, handmade stuffed animal of YOUR pet. We match all the markings of your pet and you get to pick from several customization options such as position and the tongue showing. We have made all sorts of pet Cuddle Clones, from dogs and cats to goats, rats and even a spider! We have grown to include several additional products that are custom made to look like your pet, including 3D-printed sandstone figurines, ornaments and granite and bass-wood memorials with your pet’s picture etched into them. Please visit our website at www.cuddleclones.com and our photo galleries to see what we’re all about. Words do not do our product justice, you have to see the pictures!! We really try to capture the essence of someone’s pet in our custom products. From Day 1, we have been committed to helping pets in need and nonprofit animal organizations, and a portion of every sale goes to some animal cause. We find individual pets in need of funds via IndieGoGo or donate to such organizations as Dogs on Deployment and Pet Finder Charities. With our products, we help people cope with the loss of their pet and they have something to hold with our plush Cuddle Clones. Our vision for the business is to be the place to go for all things pet-related. While we have worked on the business for going on six years, our official e-commerce website is three years old in May 2016 and has grown from $150,000 in revenue in 2013 to $1.9 million in 2015. We are continuing to grow and have plans to add more unique custom products and potentially build a mobile pet game to foster community among our pet-loving audience.

Click here for website
Twitter | Facebook

Lesley Crosby, Pendleton Pupcakes

Located in the heart of downtown Pendleton, we are a first-class pet service provider. We offer pet grooming, a self-serve dog wash, pet boarding, day care, our own brand of homemade dog treats baked in house, as well as a variety of pet supplies. We live to take care of pets and their people!

Click here for website


Valerie Perlowitz, Small Dog Wonders LLC

Small Dog Wonders LLC develops products geared toward the small dog.

Click here for website
Twitter | Facebook

Rising Star Finalists


Jamie Rowe, Ello Pet Supply

Ello Pet Supply is a pet product distributor that provides USA-made only organic and natural products for mid to high-end pet boutiques. We aren’t your typical pet product distributor. We forage for USA-made only, natural and local pet products that give independent pet boutique owners a competitive advantage. We are the distributor with a personal touch. We strive to be the largest exclusive distributor of USA made pet products in the world. We are committed to making pets happier and healthier. Ello Pet Supply was created out of love and passion for pets. Not only do we demand excellence from our ourselves and our suppliers but we combine our passion for pets and a purpose to help pets be healthier so they can live longer with us and our families (two and four-legged families included!)

Click here for website
Twitter | Facebook

Jeni Halliday, Halli-Loo

The Halli-Loo is an automatic flushing dog toilet that easily ties into an existing sewer line. It solves the Pet Potty problem by taking the human element out of disposing of dog waste. It can be installed indoors or outdoors and can be installed anywhere there is a sewer line within a 100 feet. It flushes automatically with an auto sensor when the dog leaves the unit. It is sized to fit all dogs and will include a smaller size in the future for small dogs. Training a dog to use the Halli-Loo is the same process as training a dog to use a pet pad. The Halli-Loo is a huge help to those who are disabled or work outside the home and need to leave their dogs inside for long periods of time. There are many installation possibilities: homes, high rise apartments, airports, hotels, cruise ships, nursing homes, parks. Well, actually anywhere there are human toilets there need to be a Halli-Loo.

Click here for website


Judy Helm Wright, Animal Humane Connection LLC

At www.AnimalHumanConnection.com we like to celebrate animal life. We embrace and appreciate the lessons our pets teach us. This bond includes acknowledging that this shared life and death was meaningful both to the animal and their human partner. Many of us love our animals deeply and choose to welcome them into our hearts and homes. We try to take full moral responsibility for our relationship with them. We want to offer them the five freedoms that our mentor Temple Grandin talks about in “Animals Make Us Human.” 1. Freedom from hunger and thirst 2. Freedom from discomfort 3. Freedom from pain, injury, or disease 4. Freedom to express normal behavior 5. Freedom from fear and distress and we add 6. Freedom to have a “good death” Our business is online sharing with those who embrace the same values as we do. You are that like-minded kind of person. You are drawn here because we speak the same language and believe in kindness and respect for all creatures. You are going to discover today something in this walk around the dog park that will resonate with your heart. We have products and programs to strengthen and enhance your connections with your special fur family. Claim the many podcasts, eLearning courses, support, resources and Animal Information Guides that have been created just for you. Because you are a like-minded person, you will want to be a part of our “pack” or community. It is a WIN-WIN-WIN • You WIN because you get to hang out with other animal lovers • We WIN because we get to know you better • No Kill Shelters WIN because we donate $1 for every subscriber to our list. Join us today. You will always be glad you did. www.AnimalHumanConnection.com 

Click here for website
Twitter | Facebook

Kim Goldsworthy, HeyRex Limited

Heyrex Limited is a developer of innovative solutions & products for animal wellness. Based in New Zealand with a team of six employees, this innovative start-up is leading the charge in animal health innovation. Heyrex brands, HeyrexVet and Torus were either the first or only of their kind when launched into the global markets, adapting to pet and industry requirements as part of their product evolution. HeyrexVet uses wearable technology and customized software to monitor animals remotely. Used in veterinary hospitals, universities and for clinical trials worldwide. HeyrexVet has been used on Cheetahs in Zoo’s to dogs in their homes or hopsital. Modules are specific to the user and include weight management, treatment response, rehabilitation, compliance and more. Torus offers a hydration solution for pets and pet parents. We call it Smart Thinking for Pet Drinking. Torus bridges the market gap between a fountain and a bowl offering the features of both but at price that sits in the middle. Torus includes a range of consumables with replacement filters and more recently soluble animal health supplements that work in conjunction with the bowl bringing innovation to the category.

Click here for website
Twitter | Facebook


Rebecca Deveau-Greene, JBS-USA

JBS is the world’s largest protein distributor of all your beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and now pet needs. The pet division encompasses all material that goes into the pet industry out of all our USA plants. This includes fresh commodity products. As well as finished products that are ready to hit the store shelves. Today, have our own brand Copper’s Classics ( a tribute to my gluten free/red dye free Irish setter that I had from most of my teenage years) Our pet division is we best known for the private label work that we designed for some of the largest retailers in the world.

Click here for website
Twitter | Facebook

Solopreneur Finalists


Elyse Horvath, Natural Paws

Natural Paws is an Arizona-based business, dedicated to relieving the skin ailments which dog parents most commonly face, using natural solutions. Natural Paws offers 5 effective, holistic remedies, which have helped dogs across the US and Canada to keep paws, skin and ears feeling healthy without the use of chemicals or steroids. Our creative, sprayable products give pet parents high-quality resources for the issues which continually top the lists of reasons for unplanned trips to the veterinarian; ear infections, skin allergies, and skin infections. The Natural Paws story began with the original Sweet Pea’s TenderPaws, which was created for my own dog’s excessive licking and chewing of her paw pads. Once I recognized that there was a wider need for this solution, my desire to help as many dogs as I could brought me to create a hypo-allergenic solution in Sweet Pea’s GentlePaws, and the extra-strengthening Sweet Pea’s ActivePaws. EARoma thEARapy is the incustry’s first and only sprayable ear wash, which is an innovative breakthrough, allowing dogs’ ears to be cleaned without the invasive and messy flooding of the ear canal. EARoma thEARapy breaks the cycle of recurring ear infections in dogs. Our newest offering, Ditch The Itch, has been changing lives, relieving dogs’ itchy bodies safely, quickly, and without the use of chemicals or steroids. Natural Paws partners with veterinarians and animal hospitals to create alternative treatment plans for tough cases needing a combination of therapies. Combining our holistic approach with western treatments can give another dimension to the type of care that a western-practicing veterinarian can offer. Natural Paws is also committed to playing an active role in our local community, supporting animal rescue efforts as well as being directly involved with pet therapy groups such as Gabriel’s Angels. 

Click here for website
Twitter | Facebook

Laurren Darr, Intl Association of Pet Fashion Professionals

International Association of Pet Fashion Professionals is an organization created in 2013 to support designers enhancing human/ animal bonds through pet fashion. It offers educational and marketing tools for this purpose. Programs that are offered are the Pet Fashion Professional Acceleration Program that provides both business and mindset tools to grow pet businesses. The Unleashable Turbo Boost program is a ‘pet marketing conference in a box’ set of interviews with movers and shakers in the pet industry. One of the most popular tools is the Pet Business Planning Almanack that has pet holidays, odd holidays, marketing articles, pet industry organization, media, conferences, and events in list format for easy marketing planning. Coming in the next year timeframe are: Pet Fashion Industry Patterns, a hardcover business + coffee table book on trends to look out for in the pet industry and the How To Produce A Pet Fashion Show Program. A large industry-standard-setting project in works is the Dog Breeds Encyclopedia Book Set that will have a book devoted to each dog breed group. Each book will contain two fashion illustrations of each dog breed, design considerations, and rating scales on size, shedding, and activity level. Each of the books that are produced for International Association of Pet Fashion Professionals is published by Left Paw Press, the publishing imprint that produces books such as the popular Pet Business Planning Almanack, pug children’s books, adult pet-related coloring books, medical books, and racing children’s books. Thus far in 2016, it has already published 15 books. Several books have been Amazon #1 best-sellers while Lipstick On A Pug won the children’s book of the year award from the Dog Writers Association of America.

Click here for website
Twitter | Facebook


Lisa Brambilla, My Eternal Family Tree LLC


My business was born from my passion for pets, love of people and respect for our planet. My journey began after suffering a devastating blow to my career. At 50, I found at a crossroads during the worst unemployment crisis in recent history. Rather than seeing myself as a victim, I decided to create a business that combines my creativity with my passion for animals, and My Eternal Family Tree was the result. Problem solving has always come naturally to me and when I noticed a growing collection of urns on my mantle, I saw this as both a problem and as an opportunity to create a solution that helps grieving pet parents, makes a positive impact on the pet industry while also being Eco-friendly. My mentor, Dr. Jack Stevens always encouraged me to tap into my love for pets when creating a product for the pet industry. He often said “create a product that helps a Veterinarian and their staff with a difficult aspect of their daily routine, and it will be embraced.” I used his words to guide me when creating BioUrn, and attribute the success of my business to his guidance. BioUrn has been embraced by the veterinary community and pet parents alike, and is seen as the trusted choice in pet memorials. Our website offers BioUrn direct to consumers & through affiliate partnerships with pet related businesses. We work directly with animal clinics & pet crematoriums through wholesale channels, and are actively involved in a successful client retention campaign with a pet insurance company. Winning numerous awards for creative product design and unique concept, we are making a difference in the industry and on our planet. We are a proud Veteran owned Certified Green American business with a product that is handmade in the USA.

Click here for website
Twitter | Facebook

Mary Oquendo, Pawsitively Pretty

I am a pet centric business that covers many mediums. From professional pet groomer, columnist for G2G magazine and Natural Awakenings, top educator at professional pet educational conferences, blogger, and energetic practitioner. My focus is always on the pets, as we’ll as the pets support network. I mentor other women to maximize their potential within and outside of the pet industry.

Click here for website


Mona Straub, Just Fur Fun

Founder, Designer

Dressing up can be so much fun! Now when you accessorize so can your furry friends! Just Fur Fun® has a full line of unique canine, feline, human and equine hand-beaded accessories; so pairing together the perfect dog collar for them, with matching belt for you, will be fun and easy! Just Fur Fun® wants to help create that extra special bond between you and your animals because we believe expressing your individual style should continue through the leash! Our supple leather leashes and collars are adorned with beading handmade to match each other, as well as fun accessories for you crafted especially to match! Our Just Fur Fun® unique product line includes: pet collars, pet leashes, leather belts, and for the equine set; handmade beaded browbands, spurs and spur straps. All Just Fur Fun® items are 100% handmade in the USA. Be prepared for the oohs and ahhhs because now a walk in the park will turn heads with your matching beaded pet and people accessories!

Click here for Mona’s Website