For Janette Wheeler, animals are important because they show unconditional love. “They don’t care about your guilt or shame. They just want to be there for you,” she said. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

For Janette Wheeler, animals are important because they show unconditional love. “They don’t care about your guilt or shame. They just want to be there for you,” she said. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

Inspiring women: Revelstoke pet groomer finds a beacon of light in animals

‘They don’t care about your guilt or shame. They just want to be there for you’

This article is from our series on inspiring women in Revelstoke for International Women’s Day on March 8.

Janette Wheeler visited Revelstoke almost five years ago to meet her birth dad. She fell in love with our quaint mountain town and one week later, he helped her move.

“There’s something so magical about this town,” she said.

Prior to Revelstoke life was not going well for Wheeler. She drifted in and out of hospital psychiatric wards for depression and anxiety. She attempted suicide multiple times and struggled with alcohol addiction.

“I was lost in the abyss of the mental health system,” said Wheeler.

Doctors misdiagnosed and over-medicated her, she said. Wheeler felt she was pushed into hospitals without hope and abandoned for years.

“I have a childhood of trauma.”

Wheeler married young and got pregnant with twins at the age of 21. Since she was struggling with mental health, Wheeler said she first needed to look after herself before others, especially children. Her older sister had always wanted kids, but was struggling to get pregnant. She took custody of Wheeler’s twins with open arms.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better scenario,” Wheeler said.

Her marriage fell apart and she left her husband. However, while two months pregnant, Wheeler was sexually assaulted. Her abuser was arrested and a long-drawn-out trial followed.

“It was a nightmare. I now know why women don’t report sexual assault,” said Wheeler.

The court case took five years, eventually ending with her abuser only getting sentenced to five months in prison.

“I was choked.”

In Revelstoke, Wheeler said her dad supported her through Alcohol Anonymous meetings, being four years sober himself. Slowly her mental health improved. For the first time, Wheeler had a support network.

“I began to learn who I am and be honest with myself.”

Wheeler accepted she was a lesbian and began coming out to friends and family.

“I’m doing the best I’ve ever done.”

When she moved to Revelstoke, Wheeler said her dad’s cat was a beacon of light, helping to lead her out of isolation.

She noticed many people were leaving Revelstoke for pet care. Realizing there was a gap in the market, Wheeler took a dog grooming course and opened Pawsitively Stoked Pet Spa in 2019.

For Wheeler, animals are important because they show unconditional love.

“They don’t care about your guilt or shame. They just want to be there for you,” she said.

“Dogs and cats haven’t let me down.”

Wheeler said it’s important to talk about mental health and by sharing stories, people might realize they are not alone. For Wheeler, life got better. Today, she is a thriving entrepreneur with dreams of expanding her pet care business.

“For a time, I didn’t want to live past the age of 27.”

Wheeler is now 28-years old.

“I’d fight for my life. I have goals. I am supported.”

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:



Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
67 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty people in the region are hospitalized with the virus, 11 of whom are intensive care

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison. Photo courtesy Conservative Party of Canada.
Kootenay-Columbia MP pans federal budget

Conservative Rob Morrison says budget doesn’t have a plan for long-term spending priorities

A view of the Jordan River from the trail in the area, during the summer. There are two new gravel pits up for consideration by the province. The area is deemed to be ecologically sensitive. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review)
LETTER: When did Revelstoke become gravel pit central?

Two new gravel pits are being proposed near the Jordan River

Morning Start: Why do dogs like squeaky toys?

Your morning start for Tuesday, April 20, 2021

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Kate Budau’s flat tire outside of Glenmore Elementary School on Monday. (Contributed)
Kelowna mom searches for Good Samaritans who helped her change a tire

Woman looking for two dads who helped her after her tire popped in the Glenmore Elementary School drop-off area on Monday

John Wekking, Merritt Road Report - Facebook
 Coquihalla Road Report
Wildfire sparks off Coquihalla in Merritt

The wildfire is located near the Dollarama off of Highway 5

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/ screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Most Read