Derek and Christina met over two decades ago while working at the same bakery. They were only 17 years old, but knew that the immediate connection and familiarity they felt was special.
Within the year, they were working together on a city rooftop garden, raising a kitten together and dreaming of the future.
Derek attended Culinary school while Christina raised their two young children, and by age 25 they were the owners of their very first small farm. Naturally, they began filling the land with gardens and farm animals. Children, dogs, cats, chickens, rabbits, cows and goats filled their days with labor and joy.
It was during these years that they began learning about breeding animals - genetics, breed issues, health issues, proper health, breeding and training protocols.
Eventually Derek left the world of fine-dining and became a cattleman, while Christina continued breeding and raising Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles with the kids.
The family looks quite different from those sweet, early years. Settled down on their small Alabama farm, there are now three generations stewarding the land together and, of course, raising their beloved puppies.
Please continue below for individual bios and more photos from Sweethaven past and present.
Head Dog Mom
Wearer of many hats, Christina runs the show at Sweethaven. She is wife, mom, therapist, doctor, boss and best friend.
Christina believes in living in true authenticity without apology, that love will always triumph over hate and that true joy is found in the little, seemingly unremarkable moments of life.
Christina's Top Ten Favorite Things: Toddlers in pajamas; the smell of potting soil in spring; sheets dried on a clothesline; the smell of a wood fire on the crisp night air; things in nature shaped like hearts; her heart-dog, Valentine; holding hands; the pure innocence of animals; the smell of warm, dry hay; frogs peeping in the springtime evenings.
CEO of Farming, Beekeeping and Fixer of Broken Things
Derek is always working toward bettering the nature around him. Don't let his cool demeanor fool you. He baby-talks his favorite dogs, rescues spiders from certain doom and sincerely apologizes to the bees when he disturbs them. He is a gentle soul and epitome of loyalty.
Derek loves the dogs and can often be found doing much of the grunt work to make everyone safe and happy.
Derek's top Ten: Smell of alfalfa hay; Fall Sunrises; Sight and Smell of a Cattle barn; Yipping and growling puppies when they see for the first time; watching animals be content in a pasture; freshly grilled hamburgers; his wife's hand run casually across his shoulders; baby elephants; being told that he is loved; watching barn swallows fly.
Dog Trainer and Lover of all Things Wild and Beautiful
Growing up with a menagerie of animals, Anabelle knew they would be her life-long passion. After attending school for dog training, she partnered with Sweethaven to offer trained goldendoodle puppies to the masses. She is the resident head "Midwoof", welcoming every puppy into the world, personally.
She believes that you should never wait for the next "big thing" to be happy and strives to always see the beauty of her surroundings; wherever she may be.
A prolific artist since childhood, Anabelle spends most free time sketching and painting.
Anabelle spreads smiles and good vibes wherever she goes, like little sprinkles of fairly dust. Her inner light and sunny disposition are contagious.
Anabelle's Top Ten: The smell of Curry; Thunderstorms at night; Being outside; Smelling flowers; Kissing warm puppy bellies; Bundling up on a chilly day and painting all day; Hugs; Listening to nature; Swings; Driving with windows down and music loud.
University Student; Part Time Dog Snuggler & Puppy Sweet Talker
He is quick to laugh and slow to get out of bed in the morning, but always willing to help where needed. Personal "Dog Dad" to our Apollo, Zac showers his boy with love and affection.
Zachary spends most of his time in studious pursuits at University, but when he is home, he can usually be found snuggling one of our many loved dogs or whispering sweet nothings into the ears' of new puppies.
He enjoys working out, spending time with friends and talking about math.
Zac's Top Ten: The smell of Bread Baking; The way the cool night air feels/smells; When darkness feels a bit eerie; Complete Silence; Childhood memories of Gatlinburg and obscure hole-in-the-wall soda shops scouted out along the way; his bed; his momma......
All Things Grandma
All Sweethaven puppies come home with some bonus spoiling by our resident "Nana".
A nurturer at heart, she spends her days helping with ENS, play time, socialization. When she isn't helping with babies, she can usually be found in her flower gardens or perhaps on a porch swing with a good book. Personal "Dog Mom" to Pippin, Rosie and River, her house is filled with fluffy toys, dog bones and the really expensive treats that only a Grandma would buy.
Nana's Top Ten: Memories of her momma; The smell of pine trees and azaleas; Strong coffee; New flowers in the spring; Making friends; Puppy breath; Cooking for the people she loves; the sound of rain on a metal roof; hummingbirds; fresh summer tomatoes.
Sweethaven Kennels is proud to currently have Goldendoodle puppies all over the United States. We have Goldendoodles puppies in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, New York, California, New Jersey, Alabama, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas, Kansas, Nevada, Washington State, Wisconsin, Illinois and beyond!
We currently have Goldendoodle Puppies, Poodle Puppies and Golden Retriever Puppies for Sale.
We offer trained Goldendoodle puppies, trained Golden Retriever puppies and trained poodle puppies with 3 levels of training to choose from. Our puppies have gone on to become Service Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Emotional Support Dogs and some of the finest family companions around!
We offer very reasonably price Flight nanny delivery service to all major airports in the USA. Your new pup will fly in-cabin with a special puppy nanny and be happy and cared for the whole way! Pick-up at Sweethaven is always available as well.
Pick up here at Sweethaven is always free.