Our Staff Midtown

Meet our team! Did you know? Each staff member is required to become Pet CPR & First Aid certified before completing their status as a Trainee. This helps ensure our Pack Leaders know how to handle any situations that may arise. We are proud to be surrounded by a team of dedicated dog lovers, some of whom have been with us for over 6 years! Read all about your dog's BFFs below.

our staff in midtown
liz-blondy

Liz Blondy

Founder and Owner

Founded Canine to Five in 2005

Pets: A Landseer Newfoundland named Clover

Liz is a long-time Detroiter who, after a decade in sales, decided to combine her love of animals and her hometown passion into a career. In 2005, she opened Canine to Five Detroit Dog Daycare in Midtown and in 2013, Canine to Five Ferndale. Both facilities offer daycare, boarding and grooming, and the business also facilitates trainings and hosts events like pack walks and dog-friendly happy hours.

Canine to Five is now recognized as a Detroit small business success story, and Liz has emerged as a staunch and prominent advocate for Detroit’s resurgence. Firmly convinced that small businesses are the key to true revival, she co-founded Open City Detroit, a networking group designed to encourage entrepreneurship, and participates in many initiatives to foster a strong grassroots business community.

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Benjamin Paga

Director of Operations

Joined Canine to Five Team in 2015

Pets: 2 dogs named Bonnie & Kiba, 1 cat named Oliver

Ben is our Director of Operations, and going above and beyond for our clients is totally his thing. Coming from a background in the rescue/vet world, Ben says doggy daycare is a completely different environment. "It has been so inspiring to work with a team that loves, adores, and truly wants to learn more and grow with each dog that comes through our door, as well as our clients that treat their pups as their own children."

Ben currently lives in Ferndale with his Shepherd mixes, Bonnie & Kiba, and long haired cat, Oliver. In his free time, Ben enjoys painting, wood burning, trail hikes with his dogs, gardening, and fixing his house. His favorite thing about Canine to Five is “The need to learn more. I love this company because we grow with the times. I love learning more about each and every dog and their individual behaviors, quirks and personalities and then being able to have a conversation with our awesome clients really just makes my day. Seeing a dog go from underconfident to giving that first booty bump to the owner walking in for the first time with a treat pouch is the biggest win for my staff and I. The ability to enrich all dogs' lives is my favorite thing about Canine to Five."

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Samantha Hillmer

Director of Marketing & Client Experience

Joined Canine to Five team in 2017

Pets: A Boxer Mix named Charlie & A Cattle Dog/Terrier Mix named Violet

Samantha is the doer of all things. As our Director of Marketing & Client Experience, she is behind all of our client communication and social media, she helps document and improve our processes, maintains our reservation software, updates our website, writes blog posts, and honestly - so much more.

Outside of having an knack for technology, Sam has over 10 years of experience working with animals! She has worked everywhere from grooming salons to vet clinics, working with border patrol K9’s, horses, and has even helped deliver newborn puppies. She loves working at Canine to Five because basically everything she does is also her hobby! Writing, social media, graphic design - it truly is her dream job. Sam also loves that Canine to Five is all about being positive and provides a healthy outlet for dogs who would otherwise be bored at home. "Working for a business that shares your same values and training beliefs is so great. I know my own dogs are happy and safe at Canine to Five, so it's easy for me to communicate the benefits to potential clients when doing my job."

Samantha currently resides in Allen Park with her husband, Matt, her two daughters, Hailey & Hannah, and her two dogs, Charlie & Violet.

Cullen Perry

Cullen Perry

Training Manager

Joined Canine to Five Team in 2012

Pets: 4 dogs - Birdie, Beowulf, Sabretooth, and Charlie, 5 cats - Elvira, Inana, Ishie, Lulu, and Flea, and a catfish named Salvador

Cullen is our dog guru. As our Training Manager, he makes sure all of our Pack Leaders are proficient in dog behavior and body language, and that all of our dogs are being taken care of properly and with positive techniques. When asked what his favorite thing about CTF was, he replied, "The dogs, obviously. I like that we have created an environment that can be healthy, positive, and enriching for so many different personality types. I love that our staff puts in the work to help dogs learn the skills they need to be successful. Our level of dedication and knowledge, matched with customer transparency and education, means that we can provide a beneficial service that is unique within the industry."

Cullen currently resides in Detroit with his 4 dogs, Birdie, Beowulf, Sabretooth, and Charlie, his 5 cats, Elvira, Inana, Ishie, Lulu, and Flea, and his catfish, Salvador.

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Kaitlin Lulofs

Canine Concierge

Joined Canine to Five team in 2016

Pets: A Cocker Spaniel named Noah, and two delicate Millipedes named Thorne and Admiral Rodcocker

Kaitlin is a Pack Leader who joined our team in 2016. She previously lived in Denver, Colorado where she was a live-in care provider for a special needs Chow Chow and studied Mortuary Science. The very first day she moved back to Michigan, she was walking around her neighborhood and saw Canine to Five.. her eyes lit up! She knew she had to work with us.

Kaitlin currently resides in Ferndale with her roommate, her Cocker Spaniel, Noah, and her different species of insects! During her free time, she legitimately plans all year for Halloween, watches Law & Order, and is currently learning how to drive so she can get her license! She is also always trying to convince the world that leggings are pants. Her favorite this about Canine to Five? “All the dog kisses, duh!”

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Jenny Calabrese

Customer Service

Joined Canine to Five Team in 2019

Pets: Two cats named Tabitha and Toad, and a big ol' Pit bull named Gordon Ramsay

Jenny joined our team to be apart of our super positive work environment. Jenny used to work in the Records department of the Royal Oak Police Department and was looking for a big change. Working with dogs has always been a dream of hers, so she jumped at the opportunity! Jenny currently resides in Madison Heights with her husband, Paul. During her free time, she enjoys watching a whole lot of Netflix, and reading a lot of true crime books. Jenny's favorite things about Canine to Five are the amazing people who work here, and being able to run around with dogs all day instead of sitting at a desk.

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June Donnellon

Customer Service & Canine Concierge

Joined Canine to Five Team in 2021

Pets: A 2-year-old terrier/lab mix named Phoebe!

June joined our team at Canine to Five because she wanted the opportunity to work with animals. Before Canine to Five, she worked as a receptionist at the International Office at Wayne State. June lives in Midtown with her two sisters. She attends Wayne State University and studies marketing. In her free time, she enjoys exploring Detroit and going on long bike rides. Her favorite thing about working at Canine to Five is the positive environment and seeing cute doggies every day!

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Jessica Merkle

Boarding Supervisor

Joined Canine to Five Team in 2014

Pets: 2 Pitbulls named Alison & Denis

Jess lived next door to Canine to Five owner, Liz, for years. One day while she was walking her dog, Liz asked if she’d like to work for her. Jess’ boss at the time also happened to be a Canine to Five client, and suggested she worked here as well - They knew she would love it! Working with dogs is a true dream come true for Jess. She was in the retail and food industry and had always held a few jobs at a time, but a couple years into Canine to Five she decided to resign from everything else and dedicate herself fully to this job! Jess currently resides in Core City with her dogs. Her favorite thing about Canine to Five is the friendships – both human and dog!

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Megg Ellis

Pack Supervisor

Joined Canine to Five team in 2017

Pets: A Wheaten Terrier named Puck

Megg joined Canine to Five’s team because she has always loved dogs and was ready to look for more meaningful employment than the average retail or food service job. Before she started working with us, she was a full-time student at Wayne State in the music program. She’s almost finished with her Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance! Megg lives in Woodbridge with four roommates and a goofy cat named James. In her free time, she likes to explore Detroit and the surrounding areas, go to museums and street fairs, read, knit, and watch TV/movies. Megg’s favorite thing about Canine to Five is getting to be part of such a positive and cooperative team while building relationships with all of the wonderful dogs that come through our doors.

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Matt Somoski

Pack Supervisor

Joined Canine to Five team in 2016

Pets: A Basset Hound/Bulldog mix named Lloyd

We welcomed Matt to our Detroit team in May of this 2016. He’s a great guy, and lives with an adorable dog named Lloyd and his roommate, Dave. Matt is an avid thrifter, shoe collector, and hockey enthusiast. His favorite thing about working at Canine to Five is bonding with all the amazing dogs we have in our pack!

Diamond Walters

Diamond Walters

Pack Leader

Joined Canine to Five team in 2017

Pets: Shih Tzu named Rocsi and a Lab named King

Diamond joined Canine to Five because animals are her passion! She first began bringing her dog to our grooming salon and noticed we were hiring. She jumped at the opportunity and now loves coming to work! Before working at Canine to Five, she worked at a factory called Ground Effects. Working at a factory is definitely not her calling… Diamond currently resides in Detroit with her mother, Tina, her Shih Tzu named Rocsi, and her Lab named King. During her free time she likes to eat and write. She is currently working on a book that will hopefully be done by the end of the year! Diamond’s favorite thing about Canine to Five is “working with so many happy and positive co-workers! When we are in the pack we are a TEAM! I’ve never had a job that I was so excited to go to everyday!”

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Nathan Byers

Pack Supervisor

Joined Canine to Five team in 2018

Pets: 2 dogs named Mack & Zoey, and a cat named Andy. His roommate has a little black cat named Bing Bing. Aka mayor Dave Bing.

Nate joined our team because he needed a job closer to home, and since he loves dogs, he thought there'd be no better place! Before Canine to Five, he worked in rough carpentry framing decks. Nate currently resides in midtown with his 2 roommates. He spends most of his free time at school and skateboarding. His favorite thing about Canine to Five is the dogs, and he thinks the people are awesome, too!

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sydney stefko

Pack Supervisor

Joined Canine to Five Team in 2019

Pets: A Husky/Shepherd mix named Luna, a Lab/Pittie mix named Jackson, a handful of rescue cats, and two rescued lab rats

Sydney joined our team because she has a passion for working with animals - especially dogs! She has volunteered at rescues, and working with animals has always been her most favorite thing to do. She absolutely loves and appreciates our team, all of our dogs, and our wonderful customers! Before coming to Canine to Five, Sydney was a direct care worker for adults with disabilities. She currently lives with her family and all of their amazing pets. In her free time, she mostly just hangs out with her dogs (AKA her two best friends in the whole world).

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Lora Winters

pack leader

Joined Canine to Five Team in 2021

Pets: An 11-year-old German Shepherd/Husky mix named Misty

Lora joined our team at Canine to Five because she has a passion for working with animals. She grew up around all kinds of animals - including a hermit crab, hamsters, and a bunch of dogs! Before Canine to Five, Lora worked at a clothing factory in the shipping department. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with her boyfriend and friends, as well as going on hikes with her dog Misty. Her favorite thing about working at Canine to Five is creating bonds with the dogs and watching our little puppies grow into confident dogs.

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Jamila Richardson

pack leader

Joined Canine to Five Team in 2021

Pets: A 3-year-old Australian Shepherd named Denim

Jamila joined the Canine to Five team because she grew up with animals and loves interacting and learning about dogs - making this a perfect fit! Before joining our team, Jamila worked as a chat representative for a car dealership. In her free time, she enjoys reading and listening to music. Her favorite thing about Canine to Five is the positive environment, and the great dogs and people she gets to interact with throughout the day!

Anthony Thomas

Anthony Thomas JR

Overnight Attendant

Joined Canine to Five team in 2018

Pets: A 3 year old Pit Bull

Anthony joined our team because he wanted a job he could walk into with a smile on his face. Before Canine to Five, he worked in production at a Automotive plant for 9 years. Anthony currently resides in Detroit with his dog. During his free time he is with his daughters, going to parks, movies, and watching his Semi-Professional Football games. Anthonys favorite thing about Canine to Five is the energy he gets just from walking in the door, and the co-workers he has met in passing.
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Lauren Blanchard

Groomer

Joined Canine to Five Team in 2015

Pets: A cute fat cat named Foxy and an Australian Shepherd, aptly named Aussie

Before starting at Canine to Five, Lauren groomed dogs for over 4 years in Macomb County. In her free time she likes to go camping, read books, and get drinks with friends. She currently lives in Warren. Lauren says she chose to work at Canine to Five because of the constant activity, and upbeat positive attitude of everyone that works here. She loves that everyone seems to truly love their job as much as she does!

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Lisa Barnett

Groomer

Joined Canine to Five Team in 2014

Pets: A Boxer-Pitt named Peanutbutter

Equipped with over 2 years of grooming experience prior to joining the Canine to Five Team, Lisa brings a lot to our grooming table. Lisa lives near our past Ferndale location and when we asked her why she chose to join our team she said, “When I saw people taking their dogs in both the pets and the owners seemed excited. I got the impression that people genuinely felt good about bringing their business to Canine to Five. ” Lisa lives with her boyfriend and dog, Peanutbutter. In her free time she likes to craft, roller blade and read. She can also often be found at local venues listening to bands play.

Steven Brzozowski

Steven Brzozowski

Groomer

Joined Canine to Five team in 2017

Pets: A Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Rudy, a Toy Poodle mix named Pixel, and a Ambilobe Panther Chameleon named Falcor

A former dog trainer, groomer, and nutrition specialist for Petco, Steven came to us with a ton of experience working with animals. He enjoys video games, tabletop games, and outings with his adorable dogs. He’s a huge fan of Magic the Gathering and other geeky tabletop games. He also enjoys collecting T-shirts and geeky collectibles. He’s also proud papa to a colony of cockroaches that he breeds to feed his chameleon. When asked why he loves this crazy place so much, Steven said, “I love that every day is a new adventure whether it is coloring a dog fun colors, giving them a fancy haircut, or just making them comfortable with a practical haircut. Every day is different and exciting.” This awesome guy currently resides in Hazel Park with a roommate and his pack.

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Cecelia Perry

Human resrouces Manager

Joined Canine to Five Team in 2014

Pets: 3 Dachshunds named Simon, Garfunkel, & Tazz, a mystery mutt named Lurch, and two cats, Julius & Angelo

Who's that lady walking 4 dogs at once? It's our HR Manager, Cecelia! In 2014, Cecelia joined our team looking to break out of the food industry. Her brother, Cullen, had already been a Pack Leader with us for 2 years and introduced her to Canine to Five. Starting out as a Pack Leader herself, Cecelia quickly moved up to Supervisor, then Facility Manager at our Midtown location, in just 3 short years! Between her love for animals growing up, and her managerial skills from working at Qdoba, we knew she would be a perfect fit.

Cecelia currently resides in Dearborn with her Husband, Chris. They share their home with Dachshunds Garfunkel, Simon, & Tazz, mystery mutt, Lurch, and cats Angelo & Julius. During her free time, she loves reading and seeking out live music. Her favorite thing about Canine to Five is the family atmosphere. From the staff, to the dogs, to the clients - so much love! ❤
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Lou Ray

director of finance

Joined Canine to Five team in 2019

Pets: Suzie & Blue Ray the Lab Mixes

Lou is a Certified Public Accountant who joined our team to provide our company assistance with accountability, metrics, and strategy development. Prior to Canine to Five, he owned and operated an industrial supply distribution company. When he isn't talking finances, Lou enjoys golfing, cycling, hiking, and traveling up north. He has owned dogs his whole life, and currently resides in Grosse Pointe with his wife and two dogs, Suzie & Blue Ray. Lou says his favorite thing about Canine to Five is our employees and their enthusiasm for the dogs in our care.