Happytails Pet Retreat

Clio Smeeton – President of the Cochrane Ecological Institute (CEI). 

Clio has operated dog-breeding kennels for over 20 years in British Columbia.  She has also trained and coursed Scottish Deer Hounds.  In addition she has provided injured and orphaned wildlife rehabilitation services for over 30 years in both BC and Alberta. She is a founding member of the Alberta Wildlife Rehabilitation Association. Clio is the owner of the 140-acre land that Happy Tails Retreat is located on. She is also the president of The Cochrane Ecological Institute and Wildlife Reserve (also located on the same property).

Please visit the CEI to see the work we do for orphaned and injured wildlife and endangered species!

Ken Weagle – Director

M.Sc. Biology. Ken has been involved with the breeding and boarding of dogs for over 40 years. He designed, built and operated Takkalik Kennels in Whitehorse, Yukon. A 12 space boarding kennel. He also bred and trained Siberian Huskies, in addition to cross breeding sled dogs. He was the President of the Siberian Husky Club of Canada for two terms. Takkalik Kennels was one of two boarding kennels operating in Yukon from 1976 to present.

We live on the property and you can therefore have a peace of mind knowing that your pet will be under 24 hour supervision!

Everyone thinks that some agency, probably a government funded one, protects and cares for wild animals in distress. This is not the case at all!  No government agency is responsible for the rescue, treatment and release of injured or orphaned wildlife. The CEI is a not for profit organization, and we rely solely on funding and donations from the public.  In order to be able to continue this important work with wildlife, proceeds from the kennel go to CEI’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Programs.
https://ceiwildlife.org/wildlife-rehabilitation/ for information.

YOU- as a customer are directly contributing to the future of Canada’s orphaned or injured wildlife!
To find out more about how you can contribute please visit www.ceiwildlife.org
You can also email CEI at cei@nucleus.com or phone (403)-932-5632

Clio and Deer HoundsKen

The Staff that keep it going.

Photo Taken as an employee for Instinct Animals for Film| Animal Actors & Wolves for film

Darby McPhee

Darby was born and raised in Alberta, spending her formative years living with, and raising animals on her family's acreage. Darby has a BSc. with a Specialization in Animal Biology, and has experience working with both wild/exotic animals, as well as domestic animals.

Darby is our main animal care technician, ensuring animals are well cared for, and monitoring animals that come in with injuries. She also works on research projects occurring around the property, and helps to monitor and set up trail cameras. She also assists at the kennel when needed, and is in charge of the various interns and volunteers we have throughout the year.

Christian Weagle

Christian was born in the Yukon and spent his early life helping with his parent's Siberian sled dog kennel.

At CEI he uses his Journeyman carpentry skills to help maintain, rebuild and repair the facilities. His knowledge of pet care is used to manage the Happytails Pet Retreat, CEI's social initiative, which pays for the Institute's day to day activities.

His experience in industrial carpentry and customer service ensures that the kennel clients are well served and that the facilities are well maintained.

Christian also acts as safety officer for CEI.

Catriona Matheson

Catriona grew up with wildlife, and has assisted with wildlife care since the 1970's.  Cat's has a B.A. in History and the Classics, and her day job is Recruiting for the Canadian Armed Forces.

Catriona assists with wildlife care and Happytails Pet Retreat  during evenings, weekends and days off.  Her contributions also extend into strategic planning,  facility development, and fund raising and facility promotion.


Tolstoy is our kennel manager.  He assumed the position at an early age, about 4 months, and has adapted to his two main duties very well.  The first duty is checking that all the dogs know who is in charge and checking that they are all inside at night.  The second is rodent control, which he preforms with exemplary skill.