Happy Hearts programs were
developed to reduce the uncertainty of
bringing a dog home.

Meet Cheryl Caswell

Happy Hearts Founder and Professional Dog Lover

I have 18 years of dog ownership experience, 20 years of professional experience, and 12 years of volunteer dog rescue experience. I’m going to take everything I know about dogs, training, behaviour, adoption and rescue, and pour it into Happy Hearts Dog Adoption Services to help make the adoption journey better for both people and dogs.

My Own Dog Family

My first dog, Abby, came into my life as a puppy through a Toronto rescue. Abby was eventually promoted to big sister when Jackson joined our family. After our move to Ottawa, we welcomed Trey and Sura into our pack.

We have since lost Abby and Trey, but along came Thorne and Keisha who found their way into our lives and helped to make us feel whole again. Each of these dogs has brought something different to our family, including individual personalities, unimaginable happiness, companionship, and constant learning.

My Professional Experience

My experience with dogs shifted from personal to professional in 2001 when I opened one of the GTA’s first dog daycares, It’s a Dog’s Life. Dog daycare was a new concept at the time and I grew the business into a full-blown daycare, walking, grooming and training business. This led me to Ottawa in 2009 where I opened the area’s first kennel-free boarding and day camp, Dogs at Camp Ottawa.

These experiences have allowed me to care for dogs of every breed, size, age, personality and temperament.

My Love of Rescue

My passion came full circle when I began to foster dogs in 2009. Since then, I’ve fostered over 70 dogs and quickly realized that I loved the world of rescue. The joy of being part of a “homeless” dog’s journey to finding their new forever home is incredible.

As I learned about the huge need for rescue support in the community, I got more involved, joining the Board of Directors of Sit With Me Dog Rescue for 2 years. Through that position, I gained the inside experience of rescue and have seen the sadness involved with an over-abundance of homeless dogs.

Keeping Dogs in Their Homes and Out of Rescues

Dogs end up in rescue for a variety of reasons, most of which are not their fault. People don’t know what they don’t know when it comes to adopting a dog, and are so often unprepared for the reality of dog ownership and/or the breed or mix they adopted.

Through my programs, I will set you up for success when adopting, whether it be through a rescue or a reputable breeder.

Partnering with Rescues for Adoption Success

Over the two decades that I’ve worked with dogs and volunteered in rescue, I’ve learned so much about dog adoption and ownership. There will always be dogs needing a new home because despite good intentions, life can sometimes get in the way of a good plan. I’m working with rescues to partner with them on programs that will increase their adoption success and keep more dogs in their homes.

Setting a New Standard for Adopters

I’m excited to be setting a new standard for adopters through our Happy Hearts Certification process. This will become the standard recognized by rescues and breeders as better, qualified candidates for their dogs.

You’re In Good Hands

“Overall, I cannot think of another person who I would recommend as wholeheartedly to work with myself and my canines. Cheryl’s wealth of experience and desire to help dogs become their best selves makes her an ideal fit for anyone seeking assistance in adding a canine companion to their home. Her clients, as always, will be in the very best of hands.”

– Jessica Rutherford
Toronto

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In-Depth Guide

Cheryl's insights on What to Expect when Adopting a Dog.

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