Leash & Lead
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MEL HANNAN, Owner & Pet Care Specialist

Hi! My name is Mel!

I grew up in Richmond, graduated from Collegiate and then Auburn University, and have lived in Atlanta and South Florida. I returned to Richmond about 10 years ago and truly am happy to be back. In my spare time I volunteer with local organizations in order to give back to this community that I love!

My love of animals has been strong throughout my life. My family has always had pets (cats, dogs, fish) thereby fostering my love of animals. Early on I showed an interest in horses and riding. I was fortunate to learn to ride (both English and Western) and have been riding horses for 28 years. To me, animals make a family complete! I always cared for a variety of friends' pets - birds, hamsters, guinea pigs, dogs (small and large), fish, and cats. I have always wanted to transition into a career where I could work with animals. Leash & Lead is the fruition of that dream and I am so happy to be able to fulfill this need in Richmond.

I am the proud pet parent of a deaf 9 year-old German Shepherd. She was adopted from a rescue shelter. Along with all her predecessors, I have learnt a great deal about animal behavior. From puppy to senior, and all the issues in-between, as well as socialization, rehabilitating behavior issues and developing handi-capable dogs into well-adjusted pets, I have it covered! I believe that education and training never ends and working with pet and owner will create a successful and happy relationship for both.

I am American Red Cross certified in Pet First Aid.

Questions for me? Send me an email at mel@leashandlead.com

BLAIR POWELL, Pet Care Specialist

Hi, my name is Blair!

I’m from Franklin County, Virginia, but I moved to Richmond so that I could attend Virginia Commonwealth University.  I’m a junior at the University and studying to get my degree in Political Science. My career goal is to work in animal welfare advocacy as a lobbyist.

Growing up my family always had pets, making me the huge animal lover that I am today. Currently I have two cats, Violet and Fiona, and I am hoping to adopt a dog in the near future. I have had years of pet sitting experience back home, and now I’m very excited to have the opportunity to do the same in Richmond.

I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to work with Leash & Lead, and I’m very excited to meet you and your pets!

Questions for me? Reach me at contact@leashandlead.com

DIANE GUNTER, Pet Care Specialist

Hi, my name is Diane!

I am a Richmond, Virginia native, a graduate of James Madison University, and a life-long animal lover. I have had both cats and dogs as pets from an early age, and I have cared for the pets of friends and family members. I am currently Momma to two sweet cats, Squidgie and Jakey, 12-year-old littermates.


I also work in film production, and animals are present in my film career more frequently than I thought they would be.  Horses are used often on historical sets, and commercials and movies often feature or include pets. Families on renovation shows have had as many as 6 dogs, chicken, and geese.  Another time I had to find two look-alike cats with grumpy faces and long hair that were trained. 


When I am in between projects, I am psyched to spend that time helping take care of your animals!

Questions for me? Reach me at contact@leashandlead.com

LAUREN GRIGGS, Pet Care Specialist

Hi, my name is Lauren and I’m addicted to animals!

Oh sorry, wrong venue! That doesn’t make my confession any less true though.

I am a native of Richmond, growing up and still living on the south side of the river. I’ve had dogs all throughout my life and I am currently the proud mom of an 11 year old black German Shepherd mix named Roxie. I adopted her from the Richmond SPCA 7 years ago and have been completely in love ever since.

I also inherited a yellow-bellied slider turtle about a year ago – his name is Shortstack, I mostly call him Shorty.

I truly love all animals though; my goal is to have a career helping homeless/rescued animals.

I’m the girl at the party who you’ll find sitting on the floor trying to entice the cat to come and play or asking where the dog is so that I can love on it!

I’m excited to be working with Mel at Leash and Lead and even more excited for the chance to meet your pets!

Questions for me? Reach me at contact@leashandlead.com


MELANIE TYLAR, Pet Care Specialist

Hello! My name is Melanie!


I have lived in Madison County, Virginia, my whole life and made a jump to live in south Richmond to pursue more opportunities working with animals. Because I have no plans of ever NOT working with animals, I am also a distance student with San Juan College in their Veterinary Technician program.


My family has always had pets. Good 'ol cats, dogs, and fish. Unfortunately for them, my love of animals never faded and I somehow convinced everyone that goats, snakes, lizards, frogs, and rats all definitely needed to be included in our family.

My fluffy/scaled kids now include my rescue English Shepherd, one rescue Ball Python and one Kingsnake, a saltwater aquarium with a resident crab, and my third horse who is already thrilled with his new Richmond farm.


I am super excited to be a part of Leash & Lead and can't wait to meet all of your pets!

Questions for me? Reach me at contact@leashandlead.com


Mel with 'Leash & Lead!' is great with dogs and all animals. My pup is a big fan. I'm sure your critters would love her!


                                                                               - Meredith J.



We used Leash & Lead when we traveled over Thanksgiving weekend and could not have been more pleased. They took great care of both our lab puppy and our older dog. It was awesome knowing the dogs were in good hands while we were away.

                                                                                - Bill W.

If you are looking for a pet sitter who will love your pet(s) like you do...Leash & Lead is the right place to call.


                                                                               - Patricia H.