Meet Your Team

Coleen Ellis

For Coleen, her foray into helping grieving pet lovers started in 1998 with a chance encounter with a pet parent facing the death of her beloved pet. It was the beginning of a vision of how to best meet the needs of pet parents in their desire to mourn, memorialize and pay tribute to their beloved pets when they die.  In 2004, the experience of the death of Mico guided her in starting the nation’s first stand-alone pet funeral home.  Soon, publications such as Kates-Boylston’s Pet Loss Insider deemed her the “most well known pet funeral director” and a true “pet loss pioneer.”

Two Hearts Pet Loss Center was founded in 2009 to guide people who wished to do the same in providing meaningful pet death care services in their communities. Two Hearts was also started to aid in being an educational resource in the pet grief discipline.  In 2009, she received the first Death and Grief Studies Certification specializing in Pet Loss Companioning by Dr. Alan Wolfelt as well as releasing her first book, Pet Parents:  A Journey Through Unconditional Love and Grief.  She is also Certified in Thanatology and is a Certified Pet Loss Professional.

By 2014, Coleen was ready to take her vision to a new level.  Joining Nick Padlo as managing partner and Chief Marketing Officer, they formed an acquisition company whose mission was to standardize and raise the service levels of the pet loss industry.  The Pet Loss Center strives to be the nation’s premier pet loss service, elevating the experiential component of pet loss and grief care across the country. In 2019, she shifted her position with The Pet Loss Center to an Advisory/Consultant role in order to focus more fully on Two Hearts and those demanding education, mentoring, and coaching in the pet death care space.

Coleen is an internationally sought-after speaker on the topics of pet loss and grief.  Through her delivery style, pet care professionals learn a variety of techniques immediately applicable to implement on how to companion families in their grief journey.  Furthermore, her talks to pet parents give them the permission they need to not only grieve but mourn the loss of their beloved pet.

Coleen is the founder and past co-chair of the Pet Loss Professionals Alliance and past president of the International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care, where she currently serves as an advisor. She is a native of Kansas where she graduated from Fort Hays State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing.  She currently sits on the Board of Trustees for Fort Hays State University, and is a recipient of the 2018 Alumni Achievement Award, the college’s highest recognition for graduates.

Dallas, TX, is where Coleen and her husband, Chris Burke, reside. They share their home with their four-legged kids, Crisco and Rudy.

Roberta Knauf

Roberta Knauf has been in the retail pet industry since 1982 owning and operating retail stores as well as a boarding kennel, day care, training facility.  She is an accomplished dog groomer, a member of the American Pet Dog Trainers Association, American Boarding Association, is accredited to give the AKC Canine Good Citizen exam, as well as an evaluator for Therapy Dog International Inc. is the chairperson for the Pet Loss Professional Alliance (ICCFA/PLPA). Roberta has volunteered for Canine Partners for Life which places dogs with people with disabilities. She coordinated and oversaw their Prison Puppy Program at five Pennsylvania Correctional Institutions. Her efforts have awarded her the 2006 Pennsylvania volunteer of the Year.

But what you’ll love most about Roberta, is her heart! You can hear it in her own words: “My life has been devoted to the health and welfare of pets. I loved starting the first prison puppy program in Pennsylvania in which prisoners would train puppies for service dog work. Throughout my career, my goal has always been to educate and help families take the best care of their pets.”

“I am fortunate to have come full circle in my career and I am proud to be helping our clients provide the best possible care for their pet parent in that difficult time of loss, as well as consulting with operations interested in adding a Grief Therapy Dog in their business.”