Owners: Jill and Jason Lydic
Jill Lydic 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 Lydic 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. He has assisted in the training of pygmy marmosets, golden lion tamarins, and a variety of bird species. His eight years of college education to the level of a Master’s degree in Biology provides him with a strong background in animal science and management. He has extensive zoo and aquarium experience and his attention to detail when it comes to caring for animals is meticulous. He is extremely dedicated to animals and was the brains behind the development of YOU WORK, I’LL PLAY.
Jill and Jason share their home with two nutty Jack Russell Terriers, Zipper (the ball obsessed) and ZigZag (a.k.a. Chicken Legs), pictured below.
Supervisor: 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 four dogs, ten 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 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!!
Jaclyn was locally born and raised in Candler and has been surrounded by animals all her life. Her family currently includes two cats named Mittens and Lucy, a poodle mix named Buddy, a chiweenie named Sprinkles, and a Papillon named Sammy, who is pictured with Jaclyn. Her passion for animals led her to YWIP, working part-time while studying pharmacy at Wingate.
Weekend Supervisor: Red Carithers
Red (not his real name) is a native of Western North Carolina, hopping around between Hendersonville, Fletcher, Leicester, Candler, Asheville, and now Waynesville. He and his wife Rhiannon have five rescue dogs: Buddy, Deegan, Charley Rose, Boone, and Keanu. Red is balancing work and school with the goal of becoming a social worker when he grows up. Red is shy at first but once you get to know him he really comes out of his shell (or crate). When he’s not working or in class, you can often find the Carithers out hiking with the dogs. Little known fact: Red is Larry Bird’s half brother.
Lisa was born and grew up in Raleigh but moved to Asheville to attend UNCA. She is studying Ecology and Evolutionary Biology but isn’t sure yet what she wants to be when she grows up! She has been around animals her whole life, including family dogs as well as working with and riding horses since she was 12. She worked at the stable where she rode for a couple of years and also completed an internship at the WNC Nature Center where she worked with goats, sheep, donkeys, birds, and deer. Lisa is pictured here with two of her loves: enjoying a horseback ride and hanging with her family’s beautiful Samoyed, Kira.
Anna is originally from Marion but moved to Asheville in 2017. She has an Associate’s Degree from McDowell Tech and has diverse work experience including two years in a veterinary office and six years as a tour guide at Linville Caverns. In her spare time she enjoys reading and hiking, and since she has no animals of her own at this time, she showers all of yours with all of the love that she has to give! Anna is camera shy so there is no picture of her…you’ll just have to meet her in person.