The History of Nona Paws
I’ve always been a pet-lover, but my career path didn’t initially take me down that route. After graduating from Grand Valley State University in Michigan with my BS in Psychology and M.Ed in School Counseling, I moved to Florida to begin my career as a School Counselor. I worked at Lake Nona Middle School as a School Counselor for 11 years and for many years was very active in the triathlon community competing in several half and full Ironman triathlons. This led to several injuries including hip surgery. I had to seriously rethink if my body could handle that level of activity anymore. One day after hip surgery my mom said to me, "You should go on a walk. A short walk. Like what normal people do." I told her that that was boring and I would only want to go for a walk if I had a dog to walk. And that is how it began.
While Nona Paws started as more of a hobby for me to stay active, it quickly transformed into my passion and career. I became Pet CPR and First Aid Certified and developed relationships with other pet care professionals. The more the business grew, the more I noticed the need for trustworthy pet-sitting, dog-walking and pet-care services for the Lake Nona community. This need combined with my passion has led me to expand by bringing on the most qualified pet-service providers to assist me. My team is comprised of first-rate professionals who have undergone extensive background checks so you can rest assured knowing your pets are under proper care. We understand that not any two households or pets are the same, which is why we offer customized services to fit you and your pet's unique needs. No matter your personal-pet care plan, you will have peace of mind knowing that your pet can stay in the safety and comfort of your home and maintain their routine while you are away.
Welcome to the Nona Paws family. We can't wait to meet you!
Founder & Owner
Our trusted team.
Your Nona Paws Pet Sitting Team
L to R Top: Sara, Rachel, Melissa G., Elizabeth
Bottom: Kelsey, Brenda, Katie, Sarah
Rachel comes to you with over 25 years of pet sitting experience. She comes highly recommended from past clients! As one client shared, “She is very detail oriented, reliable and so caring! My dog always loves when she comes to visit!!” She is knowledgeable with administering medications including pills and injections. When Rachel isn’t pet sitting she enjoys spending time with her husband, Mike of 28 years, daughter Morgan and their 3 dogs and 4 goats.
Kelsey grew up in Maryland and graduated from Salisbury University with a BS in Biology and BS in Marine and Environmental Science. She relocated to Orlando to work at Sea World where she helped train, feed, and assist in the care of sea lions, otters, sting rays, and fish. A previous employer shared, “Kelsey has always been one of my favorites. She really cares about the animals. When they are sick she really takes it to heart and puts everything she has into making them well.” Now a Lake Nona resident, Kelsey enjoys spending her spare time with her husband Roger, cat Raven, and dogs Summer and Tadashi.
Elizabeth grew up in Indiana and graduated from Butler University with a BS in Arts Administration - Music and Minors in Business Administration and Marketing. Elizabeth has always had a love for the arts as well as animals. She relocated to Orlando in 2014 to work in the Entertainment Department at Walt Disney World. Elizabeth, through the years, has fostered her love for animals through pet sitting and grooming. A previous pet sitting client shared, “Elizabeth is the most kind, warm and loving person. She is always positive and so upbeat. We always loved having her take care of our pets.” Elizabeth enjoys spending time with her husband Michael, cat Eevee, and 2 dogs Ella and Charming.
Sara comes to you with over 15 years of experience as a Registered Veterinary Technician! She is well versed in administering subcutaneous fluids, giving injections, manual bladder expression and medications. Sara also attends the University of Central Florida seeking to become a Physician Assistant. While she is originally from California, she relocated to Florida in 2008 with her husband who works as a Network Engineer at Advent Health. She enjoys spending her free time with her husband Michael, 4 cats (Gracie, Lily, Havoc and Roo) and dog Scout.
Melissa grew up in Rhode Island and attended Bryant University where she earned her BS in Finance. After college she relocated to Florida to work at Walt Disney in their Finance Department where she has been for 22 years (and counting)! As a lifelong animal lover, she has always enjoyed pet sitting for family and friends. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, crafts, traveling and spending time with her children Sydney and Ben, husband Chris, and their pets: Callie (German Shepherd), Freya (Great Pyrenees/Australian Shepard mix) and 2 kitties Sprinkles and Jellybean.
Sarah is a home grown product of Lake Nona as she moved to this area when she was in 5th grade! As a student she attended Moss Park Elementary, Odyssey Middle School and helped open Lake Nona Middle School and High school in 2009! She remembers when Narcoossee Road was a 2 lane road with cows on each side. Sarah currently attends University of Central Florida majoring in Political Science and Sociology. After she graduates in 2022 with her Bachelors degree she plans to continue on with her Masters, then Ph.D to become a Professor of Medical Sociology. When she isn’t busy studying and pet sitting, she enjoys reading, biking, and knitting.
Jessica grew up in Saint Cloud, FL and currently attends the University of Central Florida majoring in English Literature. Her career goal is to become an English Teacher. In her spare time she enjoys nannying young children, cycling, kayaking, photography, and her 2 dogs and cat! A previous pet sitting client shared, “We miss her. She was always willing to go the extra mile. She always did whatever we asked- and did it flawlessly. She will be the first person we call when we get a new pet!”
Mandy grew up in South Florida and graduated from University of Central Florida with a Masters in Special Education. Mandy always keeps the team laughing and has a mean pickleball game! Katie plays with her often at the USAT! Mandy enjoys home schooling her 5 children, triathlons, camping, gardening, cooking, and spending time with her family and dog Gunner.
Makayla grew up in Hutchinson, Kansas and graduated with an Associates of the Arts degree from Hutchinson Community College. Makayla enjoys dance and teaching dance when she isn't pet sitting. A previous client shared, "Makayla is always so thorough. We love how detail oriented she is." In her spare time, she enjoys being with her Fiancee and cat Luna.
Meet Amy Louise!
Amy grew up on Florida’s Space Coast and graduated from the University of Central Florida with a B.A. in Hospitality Management. Amy enjoys home schooling her 3 girls, fostering children, cruising and baking/decorating cakes. In her spare time she enjoys being a part of the stage kids ministry at her church. She also loves playing board games with her husband Tim and snuggling with her dog Ginger.
Jamie grew up in Kissimmee, FL and graduated with a BS in Exceptional Education from the University of Central Florida. She has worked in the education field for 17 years and is currently a Behavior Specialist for Orange County Public Schools. Jamie enjoys training therapy dogs for Canine Companions for Independence and loving on her own 3 dogs and 3 cats. Jamie first started out as a Nona Paws Pet Sitting client then soon wanted to join the team! Jamie enjoys spending time with her fiancee Robert, son Miles, going to Disney, cooking and traveling.
Meet Amy Jo!
Amy grew up in Utah and graduated from Utah Valley University with a A.S. in Business. She relocated to Orlando 19 years ago due to her husbands job. Amy loves to travel, spend time in the mountains, photography, and has run several marathons and countless 1/2 marathons! In her spare time when she isn’t pet sitting or volunteering for the local schools and events in her community, she is spending time with her husband Kevin, 2 sons and daughter.
Nikko grew up in Colorado then moved to Hawaii to attend the University of Hawaii where she earned her BS in Family Resources & Consumer Studies. Nikko is a lifelong learner and always eager to learn and expand her horizons! She next graduated from the Tai Hsuan Institute in Hawaii where she studied Taoist Medicine. Just recently during the pandemic she earned her MBA from Regis University in Colorado. Nikko loves animals as much as she loves learning! She volunteered at a wildlife rehabilitation center in Colorado where she helped rabbits, raccoons, squirrels and birds recuperate from their injuries. Nikko relocated to Orlando and became a Nona Paws Pet Sitting client for her own pets first then was interested in joining our team! Nikko enjoys hiking, yoga, volunteering at her children’s school and visiting Disney with her 3 children and husband Tyson.
Kiara grew up in Orlando and graduated from Lake Nona High School and Florida State University with a BS in Media Communications & Information Technology. She will be attending the University of Hawaii at Manoa in August 2022 pursuing a MS in Marketing Management. Kiara loves swimming, spending time with her family, friends and cat Mochi.
Julie grew up in Miami then moved to Orlando in elementary school. She currently attends the University of Central Florida and is pursuing a BS in Biology. Her goal is to work in the veterinarian field. She is currently a Veterinarian Assistant and has experience with animal holds, injections and assists with surgeries. Her employer shared that she is a team player, critical thinker and extremely reliable. She enjoys volunteering at Pet Alliance, figure skating and spending time with her cat O’Malley and dog Chucky.