Meet our Staff!
Sharon Harrell - Owner
Sharon Harrell built the facility and opened Flying Fur in the spring of 2008. Sharon was previously living in Maryland and loved the dog daycare program that her dog participated in. At that time, there wasn’t any facility around here that offered those services. Sharon saw the opportunity and began Flying Fur.
Sharon has 5 dogs; Isaac, Dinah, Elijah, Isaiah are Border Collies and Danke is a Danish Swedish FarmDog. Sharon competes in agility and flyball with her dogs. Sharon is also the captain of the flyball team, New River Rapids. New River Rapids practices at Flying Fur weekly, competes nationally and puts on tournaments twice a year at the Blacksburg Rec Center. If you are interested in playing flyball with your dog, she’d love to get you involved! Visit the team’s website: www.nrrflyball.org
Becca Ratcliff - In Charge of Maintenance and Special Projects
Becca began working at Flying Fur in the autumn of 2008. She had just moved to the area, drove past the facility and saw the sign. Becca had a history of volunteering in shelters and wanted to make working with dogs into her career. In 2011, Becca completed the Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer Program and officially became a dog trainer. Becca has taught group classes and private lessons via her company, Sit Happens Dog Training.
Becca and her husband have 3 dogs; Cleo is a Shepherd mix, Bones is a Treeing Walker Coonhound, and Buddha is a Pit Bull Terrier.
Chuck Porter - Manager of Facility
Chuck was raised in the NRV. An unfortunate childhood encounter with a neighbor's dog left him with a crippling fear of dogs that lasted until his family adopted a beagle mix puppy when he was 18, and he never looked back. He began working at Flying Fur in the autumn of 2012, when he returned to the area after completing 2/3rds of the Pacific Crest Trail. He has loved it ever since! Chuck says that he loves this job because of the great people, amazing dogs and the privilege to work outside.
Chuck and his wife live in the country and are “fur-parents” to a Chocolate Lab rescue named Coco.
Stephanie O’Connell Wilcke – Manager of Operations & Trainer for Manners / Obedience
Stephanie began working at Flying Fur in July of 2014. After leaving her job in the non-profit world in D.C., Stephanie took a part-time job at a dog daycare and training facility in Arlington, Virginia. She loved it so much that she never returned to an office job again. Stephanie worked for 3 years at the facility in Arlington while simultaneously completing a 2-year apprenticeship to become a dog trainer. Her husband got the opportunity to manage the pet supply store Kibbles on Main in Blacksburg, so they moved back to the area. Stephanie teaches the Basic Manners classes at Flying Fur, as well as teaching private sessions. Stephanie is independently insured and CPDT-KA certified. CCPDT (Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers) is the leading independent certifying organization for the dog training profession worldwide. For more information about her training, visit her website: Barksburgdogs.com
Stephanie and her husband live with 3 rescue dogs; Riley is a small mix, Casey is a Treeing Walker Coonhound, and Wizard is an Aussiedoodle. Stephanie also competes in agility with Casey and Wizard.
Aubrey Leman – In Charge of Social Media & Training Assistant for Manners Classes
Aubrey began working at Flying Fur in March of 2016. Having grown up on a farm, Aubrey always had a love for animals and desired to work with them in some capacity. When the opportunity to work at Flying Fur presented itself, she jumped at the chance. Aubrey loves working with the dogs and says that this job has been a “clarifying” experience. She now knows dogs are her true passion! Aubrey assists Stephanie with her group manners classes here at Flying Fur and hopes to become a certified trainer in the future.
Aubrey and her husband have a large, mixed-breed, rescue dog named Huckleberry.