It goes without saying that the members of River City Dog Excursions are enthusiastic animal lovers and proud pet parents. We have over 20 years combined experience in the pet care industry and strive to keep an open dialogue with local veterinarians, trainers, rescue organizations, and shops to stay up to date on the latest trends and news. River City Dog Excursions is adamant about your pet's safety and well-being so we are licensed, bonded and insured as well as Red Cross certified in Pet First Aid & CPR.


April Poland

I have been a Richmonder for seven years now.  I started my career at Gloucester/Matthews Humane Society.  While there I rescued, rehabilitated, and re-homed animals.  At the young age of 16 I knew I wanted to make my love for animals my career.  I enrolled in Blue Ridge Community College's Animal Science program.  For the next eight years I worked in various animal hospitals learning valuable information and techniques.  The past seven years I have worked at a large boarding facility here in Richmond.  I started off as a receptionist but quickly moved to management then became senior manager.  I have loved caring for every pet that came through my doors.  I wanted to make it as much of a positive experience as possible for the pet and it's family.  I decided to start River City Dog Excursions because I wanted more one-on-one interaction with each pet I cared for as well as being out in mother nature with man and women's best friend.

You'll see me around in the various local parks with my two pups, Allen and Roxie.  Our favorite park is Wetlands at Pony Pasture, my Jack Russell loves to swim!

If you have any questions feel free to contact me!



Coleen Shockman

At a very young age my parents showed me the value of having pets and the responsibilities that came with caring for animals. When I moved to the east coast to attend college I found that I was lacking the companionship that pet's provide so I began to work part-time in the pet care industry. That simple choice ignited the path to what eventually became my full time career and passion. 

During my 10 years in the field I have fostered and placed several dogs through various organizations however there is one special foster pup that stole my heart. Izzy came into my life in 2009 when she was only 7 weeks old and we immediately formed a bond. She has been my partner in crime ever since. This goofy, expressive, talkative, mutt brings joy and laughter to my life on a daily basis.

In my free time I enjoy tinkering with my camera, listening to old records, and getting into a good graphic novel or book. As a native of the Pacific Northwest, I have a profound respect and love of the great outdoors. I enjoy traveling and exploring our country's National Parks as well as hiking, camping, and fishing.

If there is anything else you would like to know about me, feel free to ask during our initial Meet and Greet Client Consultation.


Shaleigh Howells

I am a New England native, born and raised in western Massachusetts and more recently having lived in Boston. I moved to Richmond 3 years ago and live in the wonderful Northside neighborhood of Bellevue. I grew up in a household that always had pets, and I learned at an early age the responsibility and love that comes from caring for animals. I am very active in the animal rescue and rights communities, fighting for those who don’t have a voice.

I thoroughly enjoy working with pets whenever the opportunity arises. Every client presents a new personality, adventure, and in many cases, challenges. I love working with each animal, learning their individual quirks and working with them to become the best version of themselves that they can be. Having a household with two dogs that have some particularly difficult “quirks” makes pet parenting that much more rewarding, and I feel the same way when I make a unique connection with each of my clients.

I currently work full-time in the higher education and non-profit community here in Richmond. My educational background is in History and Museum Studies. I volunteer much of my spare time to local museums and sports organizations. On any given day you will find me, my husband Matthew and our two dogs, Barney and Alvin, hiking or walking throughout the area. 


Alyssa Sicard


I am new to Richmond but not new to animal care. I'm originally from Florida where I've worked as a groom mucking stalls, feeding horses, and grooming horses for 10 years. I also have experience working at a pet day care and boarding facility for dogs and cats. I am passionate about animal care and have always found spending quality time with animals to be uplifting and rewarding. I always joke that Bailey is my youngest sister-- she is a lab mix that we adopted as a puppy from the humane society. She's currently living the life in Hawaii with my mom, and I miss her like crazy! So, I have lots of fun pampering all of our clients' dogs as is they were my own! 

My other passion is art. I recently graduated from the University of Florida with a BFA in painting. I paint a variety of subjects but one of my favorites is to paint portraits of our furry companions.  Check out my website at:

I'm looking forward to getting to know you and your pets!