Our team

The team I have surrounding me is nothing short of a blessing.  As you can see in the stories below they have all been working with me for quite a while, a fact that I appreciate each and every day. Our existing clientele know already and when you come to WaterWorkz you will see that you have a team of practitioners that is always “All about the dog”!
Tanya Vanderhammen
Wow, had you told me that one day I would be swimming in an indoor salt water hot tub all day with amazing, loving and trusting dogs, I would have said “Yeah right!”.  As the only water therapist at the spa for the first 3 years I can’t begin to count the hours I have spent in my dog pool but am sure the number is staggering since I began in 2009.  To say I have the best job in the world is an understatement, really.  One minute we are laughing and swimming and cheering and then the tenderness, love and trust that evolves between me and my dogs and their human while they float in my arms makes our hearts melt. 
I began my journey after selling a successful business deciding now was the time to finally do what my passion has always been, dogs. Researching how I was going to build my doggy daycare, grooming, boarding etc business with everything you need under one roof I “tripped over” a website and saw a human in a pool with a dog and thought “WOW!”  I added it to my plan. Everything under one roof, GroovyGroomers, HappyHikers and now add a pool service and call it WaterWorkz.  After my water therapy training I came home and said to my husband (the best pool man ever!)  “I don’t think I want to do all the other stuff now”. He was his usual supportive self and said I should follow my intstincts!  I have built the same concept of everything under one roof but with a Holistic twist. I still am active in the pool today with more hours logged in the pool than I can count since 2009.
Come join one of our three water therapists at WaterWorkz in our “warm water office” for the amazing journey that evolves for everyone involved.
Dr Shuli
Dr. Shuli came to the spa with her adopted older Chesapeake beauty named Tanner in 2012.  His rear left rear leg was amputated so  hydrotherapy was a good fit to help build the muscle.  Of course an enjoyable time in the warm water fetching the ball sounded like the fun part to Tanner!  We didn’t talk about the possibility of her coming to the spa to join our team as it was “Tanner’s” time.  When we did talk about the idea it was easy to see in no time at all that we have the same love of helping dogs and their humans.
We have the same intent:  give our clients trusted, caring  and loving care.  My dog has done very well with her Homeopathic methods of care.  Ear issues, gone after three remedies….rash issue gone after one treatment.  Of course every dog is different but I have to say the other clients she has respond very well and the parents are pleased with the result.  I have to say, she is a little “magical” and although hesitant at first I am happy I switched to Homeopathy from conventional medicine.  
As a the Roving Vet she will still do home visits for those who cannot join her at the spa but she enjoys having a home base to see her clients, the feeling is mutual.  
Dr. Shuli as we like to call her enjoys being active outside and is very busy with her daughter Aliyah while continuing to being a homeopathic Veterinarian. She also volunteers her time to those who need it. 
Dr Petra Rutz

Dr. Petra Rutz was introduced to me by the agility world and has been working at the spa since the spring of 2012.  She has three very high energy Border Collies, her son Ryan and a husband who are both just as energetic!  She is a canine chiropractor as well as a human chiropractor.  After seeing her for some neck issues I really was able to understand why her clients rave about her and the results their furry friends experience after just one session.  We have also noticed many of their hydrotherapy sessions are heightened after receiving chiropractic care.  When the dogs arrive for a “Dr. Petra” visit they come straight through the reception area and turn right into her room knowing they will enjoy a nice experience and of course a treat!

Jolena Kusac

I met Jolena when she came for a tour in 2010 with the Animal Massage Association and said she would be back in about a year and hoped I would have an opening for a massage therapist. Well true to her word she came back and joined us in the Fall of 2010. She has a calm demeanor that the dogs find soothing and how she gets them to relax and let her massage them I don’t know but I am glad she does and so are they! Jolena keeps herself busy with her WaterWorkz massage dogs as well as home visits her horse and dog clientele. She is an active part of the agility world offering massage at events to help the competitive dogs enjoy a break and a soothing massage. She has two dogs of her own, Linus and Selena both of which are rescues.


Kaia outside 3

Before Karen found her way to WaterWorkz she was studying energy medicine through Healing Touch for Animals and working as a Clinical Family Counselor at an Agency in North Vancouver. After scheduling a meeting with Dr. Shuli we met and Karen explained her goal to become a practitioner. Her infectious smile and kind heart made it easy to add her to our great team!  She is truly magical with the work she does.  She is an active volunteer with the Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue helping the kittens and cats recover from trauma, abuse and neglect (including we later found, my cat Rowley, who was feral and is now a normal bratty teenager cat) or she’s working on farms with goats, donkeys and horses. 

At the end of the day she comes home to her supportive husband and two cats, Curious and Tenderfoot.


Erika came to my water world when my conventional Vet, Dr. Richter began to foster Bella who was a paralyzed SPCA dog and couldn’t walk,,,fyi that was then this is now and she has made amazing progress living a happy life running in the country!  So Dr.Claudia sent little Bella to the pool with her new love and best friend Erika who volunteered her time to bring  BabyBella to the pool.  Erika was excited when I suggested she come in the pool and swim Bella with me…the rest is history.  Erika started on Sundays in 2013 then quikly became a full-time water therapist. It’s easy to see Erika loves the water and our furry friends, so with the two combined is a natural fit that she has become a part of the Waterworkz Paw Spa family. She has her Level two Reiki certification and a background as a Veterinarian Assistant. When not in the pool, she is out on adventures with her canine companions or busy whipping up some new tasty treats for them.

Tracy Rae

Tracy is one of a kind! I met her through Debra Taylor who had volunteered her Reiki services to our first SPCA dog back in 2009. Tracy helped me know how Corky would prefer I hold, support and swim him. He had so many issues that we wanted to be sure he was happy and I was maximizing the benefits he could receive from his hydrotherapy. She also works with energy. I
still to this day I have pendants on the spa. One is to bring the right healers to me….well I think we can say that has been accomplished. Yes of course my hard work and team spirit have been a big part of my success but there is more to the pendants. Along with the pendants you get her “ear” to rationalize life and business. I call her my Energy Life Coach and she is a keeper for sure!


After over 15 years in the software industry offering Customer Service, Karen was looking for a change. Not sure what that change was going to be until she met me and came to WaterWorkz. I had no job opportunities at the time so she kindly volunteered.  One month later, after seeing how valuable she was for the spa. on July 1st 2013 I hired her . She says it’s the Best job ever! She loves the clients but she love our spa dogs more (sorry humans). When she is not assisting me, helping the water therapists through their long busy day while spreading her sweetness and charm at the spa, she volunteers for AireCanada Airedale Rescue. She and her husband are “owned” by their two Airedales, Elliott and Gator who swim weekly at the spa….one is a rescue. Her passion for dogs and patience with us humans makes her a natural fit for the WaterWorkz family! Everyone, including me, loves Karen, her caring, sweet heart and bubbly personality.