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

ANNE HIGINBOTHAM, Pet Care Specialist

Hi, My name is Anne! 

I grew up in Suffolk, Virginia and have recently made the leap to move to Richmond! I've taken classes at the University of Mary Washington and am now taking classes a little closer to home to complete my degree. Unfortunately, my apartment building doesn't allow pets, but my future pet plans include at least a cat and a couple lizards.


I grew up with a veritable zoo of pets. Dogs, cats, lizards, hamsters, an entire ant colony... if it could be kept in a tank or within the fenced in back yard, I attempted to keep them. I've been pet-sitting for friends and family since I was 11. I have been unable to have a pet since starting college and miss having fury friends around. I would love to be able to care for your pets as I would my own and I can't wait to meet them!

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 

JADA BROWN, Pet Care Specialist

Hi my name is Jada!

I am a senior at Randolph-Macon College. I am majoring in Biology and plan on continuing my education by going to Vet school to become a Veterinarian. I have wanted to be a Veterinarian since I was six years old. I grew up always having a pet in the house, whether it was a dog, goldfish or even a hermit crab. I am a certified Vet Assistant. I have experience working in a dog day care, vet clinics, and last January I completed over 130 hours at a Large Animal Hospital. 

Right now, I currently have one dog named Angel who is a poodle and Jack Russell mix. My sister owns two big dogs that I take care of from time to time. One named Zion is a boxer and lab mixed and the other Luca is a Pitbull and Cane Corso mix. 

I have been an animal lover all my life, and until I become a licensed Veterinarian, I will be the best pet care specialist I can be and will spoil our clients' dogs like I do my own. 

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.