About Animal Connection in Charlottesville, VA

Our Story & Meet Our Team


Animal Connection has been the premiere source for holistic pet supplies for Charlottesville and points beyond since opening in Fall 2001, thanks to a Chesapeake Bay Retriever called Ernie.


I'm Pattie Zeller, pack leader of Animal Connection. When Ernie developed cancer at the young age of seven, I decided to forgo traditional chemotherapy and drugs and became a student of Wendy Volhard’s holistic canine therapy and a faithful raw food chef for my dog.

Because I couldn’t find the raw food and supplements Ernie needed, I left a fifteen year advertising career and decided to use my marketing skills to help people find better resources for their animal companions. It’s a decision I’ve never regretted and my wonderful dog lived eight more years than the vets thought he would.

Ernie was a great companion and ran the store until he died at the grand age of 18-1/2 years. You can sure feel his welcoming presence when you come to visit our store. If you’re in Charlottesville and need a pet supply store, come give us a try!

If you're in the Charlottesville area and looking for a great pet supply store, come in and give us a try! We specialize in Southern hospitality and look forward to meeting you and your pets!f you're in the Charlottesville area and looking for a great pet supply store, come in and give us a try! We specialize in Southern hospitality and look forward to meeting you and your pets!





Meet Our Team

Pattie Zeller

Pack Leader
Pattie is the visionary of Animal Connection and the co-host of the weekly What's Barking Local show. When not saving the lives of Virginia's dogs and cats, Pattie can be found paddling Blue Ridge Mtn rivers or the Chesapeake Bay, clay shooting, fly fishing or enjoying Montana ranch time chasing cattle on her big grey horse, Ike. She loves football and cheers for the Seattle Seahawks.

Mark Mehlin

Store Manager
Mark keeps everything running smoothly in both retail and grooming. He's very involved in helping The HOWS Project building shelter and fencing for dogs who don't have great living conditions. He enjoys hiking the Blue Ridge and elsewhere and is a lover of all things Thai and Tex Mex!

Carole Heller

Senior Groomer
With many years of both grooming and vet tech experience, Carole is a technical expert in a wide variety of breeds. In her off time, she loves to bake cookies, cook (especially Italian!) and she's hugely resourceful when we need to know where to buy decorations for our many events. Her favorite breeds are Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers and Standard Poodles.

Maleah Short

Grooming & Retail Sales
Maleah is great with dogs who need a little extra love and her easy going manner makes them feel safe and comfortable in our grooming salon. She loves loves loves dogs and horses and has an entire pack and herd to enjoy when she gets home on the farm. She really enjoys the seafood from her home state of Washington but we're teaching her to love Virginia's Chesapeake Bay crabs!

What Customers Near Charlottesville Are Saying

At Animal Connection, we love all of our customers from local areas near us! Including, but not limited to, Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, Staunton, Waynesboro, North Garden, Scottsville, Zion Crossroads, Lake Monticello, Keswick, Barboursville, Gordonsville, Earlysville, Crozet, Free Union, Lynchburg, and more! 

Come visit our pet supply store in Charlottesville, VA specializing in quality food, treats, apparel, toys, gear, and supplies for cats and dogs.