Owners:  Jill and Jason Lydic

Jill has been working with and training animals her whole life. Her desire to care for them led to four years of experience as a Veterinary Technician, providing her with extensive knowledge in first aid and preventative care. She was always most fascinated by behavior, though, and that interest led her to pursue a career in marine mammal training while doing some dog training on the weekends. For nine years, Jill worked with gray, harp, and harbor seals and Atlantic and Pacific bottlenose dolphins, gaining valuable experience in positive reinforcement training techniques. She also attended various training workshops involving walruses, sea lions, penguins, otters, and elephants. Training large mammals to participate in medical exams voluntarily requires plenty of patience, and Jill’s compassion for animals is obvious when you see her interact with them. As a Senior Marine Mammal Trainer, she had the opportunity to train three dolphins from birth, so she has the skills needed to work with young, naive animals. She enjoys watching the animals (and their humans!) learn and helping people bond with their dogs during the training process. Her own dogs are her children, so she understands the importance of having them in your life.

Jason has worked with numerous exotic and sometimes rare animals, including amphibians such as salamanders and poison dart frogs, large reptiles like crocodilians and anacondas, as well as primates, birds, hoofstock, and venomous insects.  His eight years of college education to the level of a Master’s degree in Biology served him well for many years in the field of animal care and it now serves him well in the art world.  You don’t see him at the daycare much anymore as he has transitioned to being a full time artist making metal sculptures of animals and plants.  You can find his work at

Jill and Jason share their home with two nutty Jack Russell Terriers: ZigZag (a.k.a. Chicken Legs) and Hopscotch, pictured below.






Jackie Novak

Jackie Novak has loved and worked with animals her whole life. She has worked quite a bit in the rescue field and has been a vital part of the YWIP team for many years.  She has been known to make special treats for the daycare dogs and is always showering them with love.  At home, Jackie takes care of their dog Daisy, numerous donkeys, and John, her partner in crime since 2006. (She readily admits that John is the hardest to care for and that she will never again adopt another human male!!)

John Novak

John Novak has worked with animals his entire life, starting with his work on horse farms in Kentucky which began with mucking stalls at age seven.  In his work at the stables, John groomed and hot walked Secretariat, assisted jockeys Pat Day and Willie Shumaker at the races, and even met the Queen of England!  He has also worked at dairy farms and animal shelters, so there aren’t many domesticated animals that he hasn’t cared for.  At home, he and Jackie care for their brood while Jackie does her best to keep John in line!!


Oxsana Stivers

Oxsana was born in Ukraine and has lived in both Ukraine and Russia.  She is a Sociology graduate and worked in the field for a couple of years before coming to the states in 2015.  Oxsana had dogs and cats her whole life, and has frequently volunteered at animal shelters in Russia. Oxsana then realized that she liked being around animals more than she liked being in an office, so she decided to try working for a dog groomer and she fell in love with the job. She and her husband Chris have one dog, a pit bull named Bella, who is very loved by her human parents and enjoys hiking with them, loves to swim, and play fetch in the backyard.  Oxsana’s dream is to continue learning how to groom and hopefully have her own grooming shop one day. She absolutely loves animals of all kinds and she is an enthusiastic and loving care provider.

Titus VanWyck

Titus was born in Michigan, spent some time in Wisconsin, and moved to Hendersonville in 2005.  His dad owns a landscaping company so Titus worked for him for five years but decided that wasn’t his thing and he’d rather work with animals.  His love for animals started at a young age when he created a menagerie of imaginary dogs in his basement, then he and his mom volunteered for the Carolina Raptor Center for four years when he was a teenager.  He toys with the idea of becoming a veterinarian specializing in birds, but he’s still pretty young so he’s got time to figure out his life!  He has a Golden Retriever named Raspberry and a mutt named Thorin, one of whom likes to roll in poop and the other likes to eat it…dogs, amiright?!  In his spare time, Titus likes to draw and write and play Magic the Gathering.

Liz Martino

Liz is from the Charlotte area but came to Hendersonville in 2003 since it’s prettier here.  They went to school at Blue Ridge Community College and Converse College for Theater Arts, so they may at some point put on a show for your dogs, or possible include them in the production!  In addition to working here part time, Liz and their husband, Nick, own an MMA gym in East Flat Rock that they started in 2018.  Liz also wanted to work with animals and since they have lots of experience wrangling kids at the gym, wrangling dogs wasn’t a big stretch.  Liz and Nick have a senior cat, who is the queen bee at home and would not tolerate a sibling of any kind, so this job is the only way that they could be around other animals!  Not that they have much of it, but in Liz’s spare time they like to play video games, read, and write short stories.  They are also working on a novel about an heiress of a railroad tycoon who gets kidnapped…can’t wait to read it!

Anna O’Neill

The Queen of the Corgis has returned!!  Anna worked for us from 2018 to 2021 then moved to Tennessee for a year but realized it’s better here and came back to us! She’s a big fan of the low riders and clearly the feeling is mutual!  Anna has a lot of experience with animals; in addition to her work with us she has also worked for a veterinarian, has bathed at PetSmart, and worked overnight shifts at a daycare in Tennessee.  In her spare time, Anna enjoys reading and seeing live music with her husband, Brian.  Anna has two cats, Lilith and Emperor, but we try not to hold that against her.