About Us

Creekside Critter Care, LLC, is a family owned and operated business eatablished in 2004. We offer a variety of pet care services to assist you in caring for your animal family.

Maryellen Elcock, MPH, PhD, Pet Tech Instructor

Maryellen Elcock began training her family dogs as a young girl. She progressed to competing in Junior Showmanship and breed conformation shows until she graduated from high school. Maryellen attended Mount Holyoke College in Western MA where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biology. Subsequently, she studied Animal Behavior at Harvard University before completing a Masters in Public Health from Yale University. She also holds a doctorate in Epidemiology from the University of California, Davis. While at UC Davis, Maryellen studied under Phil Kass, DVM, PhD, a noted companion animal epidemiologist. She also actively trained her mixed breed dogs with the Davis Dog Training Club and was a local representative for NorCal Poodle Rescue.

In 2001, Maryellen moved to the Seattle area to accept a position with the Delta Society, a national organization focusing on the human-animal bond, first as Director of Animal Assisted Therapy, and later as Vice President of Programs. At Delta she served as project leader for the publication “Animals in Residential Facilities Guidelines for Success” and the most recent revision of the Animal Assisted Therapy Course for Healthcare Professionals. Maryellen is now the co-owner/operator of Creekside Critter Care, which represents her commitment to quality of life for all beings and is a natural extension of her professional public health career. In 2008 Maryellen completed Pet First Aid and CPR Instructor training through PetTech, Inc. and has been teaching pet owners and pet care professionals in the Seattle area. After working with groups of dogs for years in the dog daycare setting, Maryellen developed “DogBreath Yoga” a method of communicating with dogs using posture, breathing and intention.

Maryellen Elcock - Daycare, Boarding, Pet First Aid Instructor, Holistic Health, Training, Dog Breath Yoga
Maryellen Elcock – Daycare, Boarding, Pet First Aid Instructor, Holistic Health, Training, Dog Breath Yoga

Ann Ota – Skidmore College, BA psychology

As an adolescent, Ann was one of the top dog handlers in her age group. Participating as a Junior Showmanship finalist at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Ann has always had an affinity for larger animals and spent many hours in the riding ring when not showing her dogs. The Ota family has lived in Renton, Washington since 1990 where Ann and her husband Barry are raising three boys and tending to the various animals on their small farm including horses, goats and dogs. Ann was employed by the Kent and Tahoma School Districts for three years working with preschoolers and special education students. In 2004, Ann became co-owner and operator of Creekside Critter Care where she currently focuses on pet sitting and farm care as well as a growing dog walking program. Ann completed her certification as a Pet First Aid & CPR Instructor in 2008 and has trained with the Read with Rover Program. Ann can also be spotted in her truck driving dogs to and from the daycare facility in Auburn.


Ann Ota - Dog Walking, Pet Sitting, Farm Care, House Sitting, Training, Dog Transport Services
Ann Ota – Dog Walking, Pet Sitting, Farm Care, House Sitting, Training, Dog Transport Services

Jennifer Wonio (Jen)

Jennifer joined Creekside Critter Care in May 2010. She is Pet Tech trained and certified in pet first aid and CPR. Jen is involved with our pet sitting and dog walking in Renton, Fairwood and Maple Valley areas.
Jen is a retired Registered Psychiatric Nurse; she trained at BCIT in Vancouver BC Canada. She brings her medical background to our team as well as her lifelong devotion to pets of all kinds. Growing up in Canada her family raised Shelties. They would also care for strays cats and dogs and try to find loving homes for them. Jen moved to Renton in 1991 to raise her own family on a small hobby farm. The Wonio family is experienced in raising sheep and cattle, and have rescue dogs and cats of their own. When Jen’s boys were young they had aquariums with reptiles, various bugs, as well as hamsters, guinea pigs and fish. Jen’s Creekside clients continue to offer her a variety of pets and animals to care for daily.


Jen Wonio - Pet Sitting, Dog Walking
Jen Wonio – Pet Sitting, Dog Walking

Melissa Ripley – University of Hawaii, BA Journalism

Melissa obtained a degree in Journalism from the University of Hawaii and loves to spend time reading and writing. She also enjoys working with her three cats and dog, Connor.
Melissa and Connor compete in Canine Nose Work — a sport based on canine drug and bomb detection work. Her favorite aspect of Nose Work is that the dog is in charge! Because the team is relying on the dog’s ability to recognize and track odor, the dog is the expert. The sport requires the human to be able to read the dog’s postures and behaviors (and react accordingly) while the dog works. The dog’s goal is to locate a q-tip with minute traces of a specific odor on it. Dog and handler teams complete real world tasks, such as searching vehicles, containers and suitcases, interior rooms and outdoor spaces to successfully locate a hidden q-tip in each scenario.
Melissa teaches Nose Work classes and has taken her first T-Touch class. She is also studying Reiki and is a Healing Touch for Animals Level 1 Practitioner. She believes that understanding energy systems and body work will deepen her ability to communicate with animals and make it easier on them when their people are away. Melissa is also Pet Tech© Pet CPR and First Aid certified.


Melissa Ripley - Pet Sitting, Dog Walking, Client Support
Melissa Ripley – Pet Sitting, Dog Walking, Client Support