Merritt Milam, founder and head trainer at Wags 'N Whiskers, Birmingham, Alabama

Merritt Milam

founder & head trainer

Merritt has always had a passion for animals and has been training for over a decade. She's a graduate of Birmingham Southern College and  is an ABC Certified Dog Trainer who has also successfully completed a marine mammal course. An active member of the Animal Behavior Management Alliance and the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, Merritt was a vet tech before pursuing her dream of opening Wags 'N Whiskers.

Alyson Hays

kennel assistant 

Alyson is one of our dedicated staff members who help keep the kennel clean, walk dogs and handle daycare. She is currently enrolled at Troy University with a major in Biomedical Sciences and on the pre-Vet track. Her love for meeting and working with the animals is a wonderful quality our pets and parents appreciate. Alyson has a miniature dachshund named Baby.


Kelly Darden

kennel manager 

Kelly helps with our Wags campers and the care of all our boarding pets. Her favorite part of the job is playtime with our furry friends. She loves seeing the dogs get so excited to come and play. Kelly majored in fine arts with a concentration in photography from the University of Montevallo and recently worked at the boarding stables in Oak Mountain State Park. Kelly's furry family includes a sweet cat named Kitten.

Anni Peyton

kennel assistant

Anni's trade mark is obviously her smile, but that's probably because she loves working with animals. At Wags she is responsible for making sure our friends are safe, clean, and happy. Anni is a psychology major and has experience in retail and the food industry. She says her favorite part of working at Wags is "seeing the rescues get a second chance." Anni has 3 dogs (Sam, Indigo, and Taco) one snake (Tyrion) and a bunny (Lil Flop).

Jill Sentenn, director of operations at Wags 'N Whiskers, Birmingham, Alabama

Jill Becker

director of operations & head groomer

In addition to managing the day-to-day operations at Wags, Jill founded and administers the Wags ‘N Whiskers Rescue. She is the proud owner of several rescue pets – Louise, Gucci, Stella, Squirts, Buddy the cat, and Gene Wilder a sweet poodle – and has wanted to be a part of the rescue and pet community since a young age. After graduating from Auburn University, she met Merritt while they were both techs at a local vet – the rest is history!

Natalie Johnson

assistant groomer/kennel assistant 

Natalie makes sure all our campers have a safe, clean, and happy experience during their stay at Wags ‘N Whiskers. She has completed classes at the University of Alabama and Jeff State as a theater major and her customer service experience is a real plus. She loves about her job at Wags Natalie and says, “I love being greeted by all the happy dogs and building a relationship with our regulars and newcomers.” Her own pets include 3 rescue cats, Pepper, Scarlett, and Atreus, a ball python named Manda, a corn snake, Aoda, western hoh nose snake named Choji, and a beta fish - Swim Shady.

Shaye Ferris

kennel assistant 

Shaye is one of our newest Wags family members, but she isn't new to working with pets. Her previous experience was as a kennel tech and that is great news for our furry friends. She "loves working with animals" and making sure they are happy as boarders and Campers. Shaye has a dog named Edith.

Courtney Brown

kennel assistant 

Meet Courtney, one of our wonderful kennel assistants who makes sure our furry friends are cared for and happy campers. Having worked at a pet supply store, Courtney is great with pets and paw-rents. When asked about what she loves about her job, Courtney says it's "helping socialize dogs who are shy and timid." Courtney has 3 dogs (Nora, Bean, and Mouse) and 4 cats (Prissy, Astrid, Oliver, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg).

Meredith Cosby

director of business development

Meredith manages our social media pages, helps with day care and boarding pets, and daily office duties. She is a Communications Management graduate of UAB, with a concentration in PR & writing. Meredith loves working with animals and the opportunity to be creative. Her pets include 3 dogs, 2 cats, and 2 tortoises…all rescued from different corners of Alabama.


Emily Daniel

kennel assistant 

Emily takes good care of our boarders and campers, making sure they have clean runs, lots of water, food, and especially that they're HAPPY. A graduate of Montevallo with extensive experience as a trainer for Love Them Train Them, she is a real plus for all our furry friends. Emily has also been working with a no-kill sanctuary in Jemison since 2014. Her own pets include dogs - Lucius, Pumpkin, Little Bit, Tiberius, and Brunneis, and one cat - Cabbit.

"LJ" (Lauren-Jada Whitehurst)


"Welcome to Wags" is the friendly greeting LJ gives with a smile as you enter Wags. But greeting our furry friends and their paw-rents is just part of her job at Wags. LJ also takes care of our suite dogs, from cleaning to helping with Day Care. Her experience is rooted in customer service, having worked in retail and restaurants. When asked what she loves about working at Wags, her answer is simple..."Everything". LJ's pets include 3 dogs (Lucy, Marshall, and Harvey) and 3 cats (Ramona, Joplin, and Vega).

Sharea Dugger


Keeping our pet friends looking their best is our groomer, Sharea. Sharea has been grooming pets for over 9 years and has an Associates Degree in Massage Therapy. Sharea was also a finalist for Best Groomer in Birmingham in 2018 and has been featured on Fox 6. She enjoys working at Wags because "everyone works together and helps each other. Sharea has one dog named Cookie.


For your furry friends, there’s only one way – The Wags Way!

The Wags Way is our promise that your pets will always experience positive reinforcement, compassionate care and a clean environment while with the Wags team! Your pets will be treated like family and we will never use force or intimidation tactics to modify their behavior. We will consistently foster a happy and fun atmosphere where our trainers and counselors are genuinely engaged and active with your furry friends! Safety is a top priority at Wags, and by utilizing a low counselor-to-pet ratio (1:5), we are able to devote more time to each animal while ensuring the safety of all.

Fetch Find Approved

Wags ‘N Whiskers is proud to be a FetchFind Approved business! This means all of our employees receive professional-level pet care education and continue to take classes throughout their career with us. All of our staff training is via FetchFind Monthly Pro, the premier educational resource for pet industry professionals. This science-based and animal-centered curriculum has been developed by certified experts with decades of experience in the field.


Hear what our Birmingham, Alabama clients have to say!  'We always feel confident that Wags 'n Whiskers will take care of our pets as their own.',  'It is so nice to have someone that I can trust with my pets.'


The Wags ‘n Whiskers facility is conveniently located in Birmingham, Alabama in the heart of Homewood and offers unrivaled comforts, state-of-the-art technologies and valuable conveniences for both our four-legged friends and their loving owners! Interested in seeing our facility? Come see us! We are always happy to give owners and guests tours. 

Our indoor facility is climate-controlled for comfortable temperatures year round and has plentiful skylights for a generous amount of sunshine!

Wags 'n Whiskers, Birmingham's comprehensive pet care facility, has an indoor, climate-controlled, canine grass play area.

Canine grass covers our animal play areas, providing a clean and safe environment for playtime.
Our plush boarding suites include spacious accommodations with soothing music and video monitoring so you can check on your pets while away!