About Us

Reimagining dog friendly offices
We’re a team of human resources and pet care professionals who help companies create healthier, happier and more collaborative workforces.

Our Story

Coming together to create offices where we’d want to work

It all started when Jeff, our Founder, couldn’t find a dog day care that was well managed, convenient to work and affordable. So he did what any rational person would do. He transitioned from his job as Vice President at an investment bank to start a business that makes it easy for companies to be dog-friendly.

Okay, it wasn’t that simple. Jeff worked in human resources prior to his career in finance. He has experience designing, administering, and measuring the effectiveness of programs supporting thousands of employees. He’s now using his experience and collaborating with pet care professionals and business executives in order to bring together people and dogs in a mutually beneficial community.

Meet the Leadership Team

Jeff Skalka and Dog, Hudson
Jeff and Hudson

Jeff Skalka

Founder / CEO

Jeff Skalka is the Founder and CEO at Connected Canine where he leads our strategy and marketing efforts. 

He was the first employee hired into a Fortune 250’s Employee Retention and Engagement department where he earned his Six Sigma Black Belt by designing and implementing programs that measure and improve employee performance. 

Jeff’s data-driven approach to his work led him to a role in finance where he advised some of the largest companies in the US. Now through Connected Canine he is able to use his unique background to create an employee benefit that is valuable to companies of all sizes.

Jeff earned his MBA from Duke University, bachelors in business management from North Carolina State University.

Heather Lewis with her dog Luna
Heather and Luna

Heather Lewis, AIA, NCARB

Principal Architect

Heather has spent more than 20 years creating environments that bring people and animals together. She leads architectural design for Connected Canine with a focus on creating collaborative spaces that enhance the wellbeing of people and dogs.

Since 2000 Heather has managed the drawing production and construction administration of pet care facilities across the US and internationally through Animal Arts. She has received design awards from renowned organizations such as the American Institute of Architects and Veterinary Economics, and she has spoken on pet care facility design at local and national conferences.

Heather is a member of the Veterinary Economics Advisory Board and she serves on the advisory board of Fear Free, a non-profit which works to prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in pets.

Heather earned her masters in architecture from The University of Texas at Austin and bachelors in biology from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Ariel Fagen

Dr. Ariel Fagen, DVM, DACVB

Lead Veterinary Behaviorist

Ariel is 1 of 90 of the most highly trained veterinary behavior specialists in North America and a Diplomate of The American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. Her research and career has been devoted to studying animal behavior and helping others understand the relationships between an animal’s health, environment, experiences, and behavior which led her to establish The Veterinary Behavior Center.

Ariel’s understanding of animal behavior allows us to offer tools, resources, and programs specifically designed to facilitate a healthy and productive office environment for pets and people.

Her research is published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science and she serves on the advisory board of Fear Free, a non-profit which works to prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in pets.

Ariel earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Tufts University, Board Certification from The American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, and BA in comparative cognition from Wesleyan University.

Conor Blanchet

Dr. Conor Blanchet, DVM

Advisor - Veterinarian

In 2016 Conor cofounded Lacuna Diagnostics, the first company to digitize veterinary cytology and reduce the time it takes to diagnose sick pets from days to hours. In 2021 Lacuna successfully exited to a publicly traded veterinary diagnostics company.

Conor earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, MPA, MBA from Colorado State University and BS in biology from Colorado College.

Tim with his pups
Tim with DaVinci and Freya

Tim Davis

Advisor

Tim Davis recently retired as the Chief Human Resources Officer at Truist Financial Corporation (formerly BB&T), the 6th largest bank in the US. For 22 years Tim led the human resources division and 300+ HR professionals in the development and management of programs supporting 38,000+ employees. Under his leadership, the company was recognized as:

  • The top large bank among America’s Best Large Employers–Forbes;
  • The 29th “Best Benefits” company in the US–Money Magazine;
  • A “Fit-Friendly Company,” by the American Heart Association;
  • Achieving the highest possible score of 100 on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index.

Additionally, Tim’s passion for working with people and animals was recognized by the Governor of North Carolina who appointed Tim to the North Carolina Zoological Park Council to advise public officials on the state’s zoo development.

We handle every aspect of establishing and managing your dog friendly office.

Expertise

Our diverse team has years of industry experience in human resources and pet care.

Insight

Leverage our expertise to enhance flexible workspace in a dog friendly environment

Collie and office in circles
0 %
of employees who work for a pet friendly company would recommend their place of employment to others(2)

Learn more about our dog friendly office solutions