Special Care for your special petsPaws and Whiskers has been designed with your pet in mind

Paws & Whiskers Staff

Manager: Ian Rasmussen

I grew up in a family that has always had a dog and a cat. My parents bought me a German Shepherd of my own when I was 13 years old and that was the beginning of my involvement in the world of showing, breeding and judging dogs.

At a young age I was also involved in sailing until I became more involved in dogs and they finally took over. When I left school I got a job with the Commonwealth Bank and progressed to the position of Relieving Manager, but after 17 years with them I decided to leave to become more involved in the dog and cat industry.

I then became the National Sales Manager for a company that manufactured Dog shampoos and grooming products. A lifetime dream was to work for an American Professional dog handler and I spent some time living in America working for the highly successful American handler Peter Green. This gave me a lot of experience working with and grooming a wide variety of breeds of dogs and from there I began working at Paws & Whiskers.


Breeding and Judging Facts about Ian:


Senior Kennel Hand: Karen Barney

Karen is a fully qualified Veterinary Nurse who has worked in the industry for over 15 years. She does native bird rescue for the RSPCA and is a highly valued member of staff.


Cattery Hand: Maria Maturana

Hi, I am Maria and I was born in Chile, South America and I came to Australia with my family in 1988 in search of a better life. I grew up with animals – cats, dogs, chickens, rabbits – you name it!

I like all kinds of animals but I feel a special connection with cats. I have four cats of my own and I am very happy to work in the cattery at Paws & Whiskers in Brisbane. For me, my job goes far beyond feeding the cats and cleaning the cattery – it also involves patience and affection and lots of love.

Every day we have lots of guests in the cattery – kittens, adults, old ones and special needs cats. They all come with different needs but above all they need comfort and to feel safe when they are away from home.

I really love my job and during the 9 years I have worked at Paws & Whiskers I have made many, many, furry friends



Kennel and Cattery Hand: Henrietta Kikuchi

I grew up as a child on a 1,000 acre coconut and cocoa plantation on a tropical island in New Guinea called New Ireland. I come from a large family and we were allowed to own cats and dogs as pets at home plus we were also allowed to have pet pigs, as my father owned a piggery. So my connection with animals, be it in a natural environment or as pets has always been comforting, hence my love for animals.

Prior to working with Paws & Whiskers in Brisbane (I started here in 2012) I worked as a volunteer at the Logan City Council Animal Shelter on Queens Road. I suppose this really was the stepping stone in landing the job at Paws & Whiskers.

I have always had a weak spot for all creatures great and small but it never entered my mind that a career as a care taker for cats and dogs would turn out to be so enormously rewarding.

I am one of a lucky few who wakes up every day looking forward to work. The camaraderie here is very special, I feel like I’m part of a close knit family.

I am employed as a care taker for dogs of all shapes, sizes and breeds that bring with them personality plus! As I am in the kennel for the whole day I am able to observe how the dogs are settling so I can make any necessary changes to ensure that they are comfortable and having fun. There is always plenty going on to watch and bark at occasionally.

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of my career is handling dogs that come in timid, frightened and apprehensive. I think it is important, that with a little patience and a gentle approach that we can help them relax and start to enjoy themselves. When faced with this type of challenge, I tune in immediately as I have a sincere empathy for dogs that come in frightened. I find I can easily build a warm rapport with our anxious guests and they settle in very quickly.

Is it true that dogs speak and understand another language other than English? As many of our guests have owners whose first language is not English, I will try to find out what “Good Dog” is in that language. Dogs certainly response to familiar sounds so I find using a gentle approach and using sounds that they are familiar with helps them settle in very quickly.



Cheryl Barney

Part Time Senior Kennel Hand. Cheryl has grown up in an animal house so is very comfortable with the dogs. She fills in when any staff are away. She is also happy to lend a hand with most tasks around the kennels including our repairs and maintenance.