Photo: Breanna Nathorst

Dogs of Kelowna

Meet Mia, just one of the amazing dogs you can find living in the City of Kelowna

Meet the dogs of Kelowna, starting with Mia and her owner Jillian Dean.

Tell us about yourself, how your dog came into your life and your favourite thing to do in Kelowna?

My name is Jillian Dean (and my partner’s name is Dani Marshall). We’re both lawyers – I’m at Hergott Law and Dani is at Doak Shirreff. We found Mia when we were looking for a samoyed puppy. We were on some waitlists and a breeder let us know she had a one year old dog who had been returned to her – she told us the owners realized the kids were allergic. When we picked her up and in the coming weeks, we realized there was more to the story – she had been relegated to the garage because of the kids allergies and wasn’t even housebroken. She had developed serious separation anxiety. She hadn’t had any training. We drove to Langley to pick her up the day we found out she was available, and she slept in the back seat the whole ride home – ready for her new life. Our favourite thing to do in Kelowna is outdoorsy stuff – all three of us like hiking, cross country skiing, snow-shoeing, and canoeing.

Tell us about your Dog?

She’s about two and a half years old now. Her name is Mia but we call her Mimi, Mimz, Miyake-San, and Puff (usually Mimi more often than even Mia). Her favourite activity is sprinting alongside us while we cross-country ski – she LOVES the snow and she loves to go fast.

What has been your dog’s favourite adventure?

My aunt and uncle own Owlhead Creek Bed and Breakfast in Sicamous – a BnB perched in the middle of pristine forest with no other houses around for kilometres. When we’re up there, we hike twice a day and Mia can sprint around in the forest to her little heart’s delight and then spend the evening napping in the snow (the samoyed version of napping in front of a fire…)

Please share any challenges you have faced with your dog:

Samoyeds are very independently minded – they super friendly, but they don’t live to please like some breeds do! Training has been an ongoing adventure – Wayne, from Dogzies Canine School has been a huge help for us with our stubborn, mischievous kid. We also are still dealing with the separation anxiety issue – she still can get panicked when she’s left alone – and panicking means barking. We’re slowly training her to understand that we always come back and will never lock her up in a garage, but it’s a process.

How far has your dog come, with these challenges?

She was a menace when we first got her. She was always sweet and playful, but she had zero listening skills and seemingly zero socialization. Her goals upfront were just to try to outsmart the humans around her and get back to whatever mischief she wanted to get into. Wayne has been a godsend for developing tools for us to work on recall as well as general obedience stuff. He helped us understand that she would take some time to bond with us and trust us, and getting to the point where she’ll look me in the eyes and trusts me to be good to her has been so rewarding. She’s still the sweet playful girl she always was, but she knows that we call the shots and that we’re on her side.

Dogs of Kelowna is sponsored by: Dogzies Canine School and Doak Shirreff Lawyers.

If you wish your dog to be featured please contact: Breanna Nathorst at

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