Melody has always had a strong connection with animals of all kinds. She started training animals with her local 4H program at nine years old, working with horses, sheep, goats, chickens, and roosters. She trained her pets to do tricks to entertain nursing home residents and was always bringing home strays. When traveling to visit her father in the summer, Melody brought along her two dogs and seven sheep!
Melody earned a business degree from Friends University and then worked as a social worker. She became involved in animal rescue as a volunteer in 1993 for Abandoned Animal Rescue and for Heart of America Humane Society. She was on the Board of Directors of Heart of America Humane Society from 1993-1997, and has also served on the Board of Directors of No More Homeless Pets. She became the director of Animal Haven (now Great Plains SPCA) in 1997. Wanting to experiment with a more progressive approach to sheltering that combined daily caretaking and training, Melody founded The Pet Connection in 1999.
As a positive reinforcement behavioral consultant, Melody especially enjoys working with the most challenging dogs and cats, including those who exhibit behaviors such aggression, anxiety and fear. She has worked with, handled or trained thousands of pets. Since 1997, she has fostered 2 - 10 pets at a time and spent each day of her life working with shelter and homeless pets in classes, shelters, boarding facilities, etc. The animals are her life’s calling and she can’t imagine doing anything else.
Melody’s personal pets include Hiro, a 5-year-old setter mix from Autumn Acres, Dory, a 5-year-old pointer mix from The Rescue Project, Blue, a 3-year-old whippet mix from SRL Rescue, and two cats, Sugar, a 13-year-old feral girl and Ang, Sugar’s 9-year-old son who has both behavioral challenges and multiple medical issues. Melody and her husband Jason live with many other dogs and cats at their home, which also serves as the TPC sanctuary in Beloit, Kansas. They care for an average of 30 dogs and 18 cats on a daily basis. Melody also serves on the City Planning Commission in Beloit, Kansas.