Jamie Hanel

I was raised in Winnipeg and moved to Calgary almost 20 years ago. As a child I loved to spend time outdoors and at the beach and some of my fondest memories are the time I spent camping with my family at Grand Beach, Manitoba.

I don't have a lot of spare time these days but when I do, I enjoy biking, swimming and running. Together with my husband of 15 years, Guy, I have also zip lined over the rainforest of Costa Rica together, down what is advertised as, the longest and highest zip line in the world; I can't say that I would want to do that again, but I can cross it off my bucket list. I have participated in triathlons in the past and would like to again in the future. Helping people and families has always been very important to me and I spent 35 years in Health care. After training as an RN I specialized in emergency room care, and eventually moved into management. A few years ago, I came to the realization that I missed working one on one with families and had been happiest when helping people in their time of need. I believe that everything happens for a reason and have always loved animals and so when the opportunity came to purchase Pet Heaven in May of 2015, I happily took it.

I understand what families are going through when they lose their pets because I recently lost 2 of my best pals myself, Tucker in 2015 and Tank in 2016. Pets are truly one of life's greatest gifts and losing them is very difficult. It is important to me that when the sad day comes for our clients that we are here when they need us and know that their pets are in caring hands. Kindness and respect are very important to me, and it is my dream to make the service that we offer here at Pet Heaven available to as many people as possible. Eventually I would like to be able to open a pet memorial centre, and perhaps one day a memorial garden, so that we can give our families a special quiet place where they can visit their pets after they have left this world.


Janice Leask

I'm a born and raised Calgarian and mother of two. I went to school at McDougal Elementary and I later attended Queen Elizabeth High School. Much of my childhood was spent vying for my parents time with my 6 siblings. My love of animals started at a young age with my first cat named Teddy. He was a much loved rescue, and had to be bottle fed as a baby. Today, I have 2 dogs Lux and Becky and I enjoy spending time at the dog park and snuggling with my 6 cats, Baily, Nala, McKenna, Huey, Wobbles and Lexi.

I devote a lot of time to animal rescue and support. I am extremely passionate about animal welfare and spend every moment I can volunteering wherever I'm needed. I'm the Cat Co-ordinator at ASNTF (Alberta Spay and Neuter Task Force) and volunteer with a variety of other rescues and fosters as well.

I really enjoy my work with Pet Heaven and finding it very worthwhile to be able to help families with the loss of their beloved pets. My own personal loss and love of animals makes this position a natural for me and gives me great satisfaction both inside and out. I find it deeply rewarding, to be a part of Pet Heaven, because I know the importance of having such a unique service available for families in their time of need.


Janet Nielsen

My passion for animals started at a very young age, where I could be found on the farm wherever the animals were. If I was missing, I could be easily found with the pack of dogs by the road side, snakes in the field or in with the Turkeys. After leaving Ontario and moving to Alberta, my bedroom was a sanctuary for any unwanted animal large or small. At one time in my room I had 26 hamsters, 3 mice, frogs, a turtle, and a salamander. My mom would eventually find these friends while looking for her missing bowls or containers I was using for “homes”. Plus, our home always had the dog or cat that was needing a home that I would just happen to find on my home from school or the park.

I attended Olds College where I graduated as an Animal Health Technologist- which is a veterinary nurse for those that don’t know what that is. I have worked as an AHT for over 18 years now, in emergency medicine, specialty surgery, and medical imaging for a radiologist doing ultrasound, radiographs, and cat scans. Once we moved out of town I did a mixed animal practice-where I can still be found some days. When I am not working I will volunteer my skills helping with the less fortunate animals in the world from here in Albera to Belize or Dominican Republic, educating the public, at spay/neuter clinics, and helping out shelters in the area.

I love animals but the important people in my life is my family. I enjoy spending time with my husband Rod, of 24 years, and his kids and our grandchildren- that give us the greatest joy. When we are not traveling, or at classic car shows, we can be found camping, riding in our razor, sledding, or just sitting by the fire enjoying family time in summer or winter. We currently have 5 furry children together as well-2 chihuahuas Gidget and Izzie, and 3 cats Elliot, Isaiah, and Benjamin.

I knew Jamie the Owner of Pet Heaven as a client and volunteer at the clinic in my town, and when she needed some help I knew this was something that I could love. I know the strong “family” bond and how important it is to cherish that between owners and their pets. I love being able to be there for them at their time of need and to give them proper care and compassion until we can send them back home to their family again.

Tammy Sawatzky

BIO to follow.

Merissa Wilkinson

BIO to follow.

Michael Pierson

I was born and raised in Calgary and still call it home today. My school years were spent in Calgary and I went on to attend Brigham Young University, and later received a Bachelors of Mortuary Science from the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science at Xavier University. Prior to Funeral Service, I worked at what is now Service Canada in Employment and while in University I worked at Berg Mortuary in Provo, Utah and at Witt, Good and Kelsch Mortuary in Cincinnati, Ohio. My family is very important to me, not only do I have a wonderful wife Kathleen and our two fabulous boys, I’ve also been blessed with great parents and siblings. I am very fortunate to be able to work with my family, a talented and terrific group of co-workers helping people go through very difficult times. Though I spent a lot of time at work, I try to make time for exercise, riding my bike, reading, cooking and travel. I also enjoy participating in many outdoor activities with my family, mountain biking, skiing, hiking or walking our dog, Bacco.

I believe in giving back to our communities and through the years I have volunteered for The International Avenue Business Revitalization Zone, in East Calgary, the International Avenue Arts and Culture Centre in Calgary, the Rotary Club of Calgary Downtown, The Calgary Boys Choir and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I enjoy Pet Heaven because I know it offers comfort to the families who lose pets. I don’t just say this; I know it’s true. Losing a pet can be as traumatic as losing a member of your family. In fact, 80% of pet owners consider their pet a part of the family. For many years I have had the privilege of helping families when they have lost a member of their human family and have always felt it was an honour to do so. It is wonderful to know that we can now help families with all of their losses, including their pets.

In five years I would like to see our family businesses offering the best service possible with the best prices possible, both at Pierson’s Funeral Service and Pet Heaven Crematorium. Right now we offer amazing service and look after every family well, but there are still more improvements to be done. My goal is to have every family receive the service they want and deserve. It has taken years to put together the right team of people with good systems to make sure this happens.



Chief Comfort Cat

I was found and rescued by a nice from the driveway of an acreage outside Calgary. Soon afterwards, along with my brother Lou, Pet Heaven adopted me and I we have been here happily ever since.

I love my work and I find helping families in their time of sadness when they lose a pet very rewarding. I'm quite inquisitive and have been known to knock over a cup or two while investigating. My families keep me quite busy during the day but I have really developed my skills as an expert fly catcher during my time off between naps.


Night Supervisor / Assistant Comfort Cat

My mother was found and rescued from where she was abandoned outside of Calgary before I was born. Luckily my sister Stella and myself were adopted by Pet Heaven soon afterwards and we have worked here ever since. It has been an extremely rewarding career, and I love the challenge of holding down the fort through the night while my coworkers are resting.

Working the midnight shift means that sometimes I am too tired during the day to assist with the families and so I spend quite a bit of time curled up and napping in the back.