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Profiles of Excellence: Mindful Mutts

Mindful Mutts is a low-stress dog daycare and training facility
Stefania Butkovic. Photo via Mindful Mutts.

Be the change you wish to see in the world.

For Stefania Butkovic, that’s a philosophy that informs her daily life, not just in the one-on-one care she provides at her business Mindful Mutts, but also in her advocacy and activism for animals in general.

Mindful Mutts is a low-stress dog daycare and training facility that also offers walking, pet sitting and boarding in New Westminster. Butkovic is passionate about the care she provides—but she’s equally committed to ensuring all dogs receive the same quality care.

“We advocate for humane, force- and fear-free training and handling of dogs and the welfare of all animals,” she says. “We also advocate for regulation within our completely unregulated industry. Anyone can call themselves a dog trainer or open a dog daycare with no prerequisites or formal education.”

The business has earned an incredible reputation and a loyal customer base since opening their doors six years ago in Sapperton and then three years ago in downtown New Westminster.

Butkovic jokingly refers to herself as the “head pooper scooper” at Mindful Mutts with a team comprised of two managers and five additional staff, all of whom are equally passionate about their work and animal care.

“Our customers experience a noticeable extra level of individualized care at our daycares. We try to offer a very human and personal experience so that clients can get to know who is caring for or training their furry family members,” she says.

And though the success of the business has been rewarding, the true joy is seeing the difference their efforts make.

“The best part of our work is absolutely seeing the difference that advocating loudly for the humane and kind treatment of animals can make, and seeing the difference in our community and clientele,” she says.

“It is incredibly eye opening to learn about reward-based training and passing this on to people who truly are in love with their pets is incredible.”

Butkovic says the Royal City has been an ideal home for Mindful Mutts, as the community is loyal and supportive to local small businesses, especially those that are making a difference in the world—which is exactly what she tries to do.

“Excellence to me is being the change you want to see in the world, and actively participating to make those good things happen,” she says.

“There are a number of businesses like ours doing a lot of hard work right now and I am glad to be a part of a revolution for the welfare of our dogs. They deserve happy, loving lives and to be treated with compassion and empathy.”

In an industry with no requirements for education currently, Butkovic is passionate about making sure she and her staff are knowledgeable. She is currently completing her Certificate in Training and Counselling, which is a two-year intensive science-based dog training program, and her team is always involved in adding more education and knowledge to their resumes.

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