By Lisa Sutton, Torrance, CA
“Snow was originally found wandering the streets in Tijuana, Mexico. Lynne and Alan Sands, who had recently lost a beloved pet, were ready to open their hearts to a new family member and decided to adopt Snow. The “South-of-the-Border Collie”, as her new mom dubbed her was head-shy, hand-shy, terrified of the vet and too scared to take treats.
Lynne and Alan immediately enrolled Snow in Training at PetSmart, as they had with previous dogs. They took her through every course and with a great deal of patience, love and understanding, this once shy girl has blossomed into a social butterfly. She seeks out attention and loves meeting new people wherever she goes. Snow seems to have a special affinity for children and the elderly, gently leaning in for pets. Lynne says that training at PetSmart has been ’life altering for our pets, especially those with challenges. And the classes have taught us to be better pet parents.’”
By Sandy, Colorado Springs, CO
“Five years ago, I met my PetSmart trainer Shannon. It was the day after I got my Vizsla, Piper. What I didn't know that day was what a huge blessing Shannon was going to be for my family and myself. Piper immediately took to Shannon and her positive training style. Shannon is not only positive with the dogs, she explains things so it makes sense to humans. She helps us understand why our dog may be acting a certain way. Shannon took Piper from beginner to therapy-dog training. When Piper was three, we added a new puppy to the family, Cash, who we immediately enrolled in one of Shannon's puppy classes.
Unfortunately, about a year ago, Piper went blind, a real challenge for our family. Shannon has made suggestions and given me tips on how to rethink the way that I train Piper. Piper has responded so well to the new training and her quality of life has continued to improve and we have Shannon to thank for that. I tell everyone I know or meet about Shannon and that if they don't already know her, they need to take their dog to her for training.”
Kayne & Nealon
By Robyn, Mount Prospect, IL
“Sue Fisher is a volunteer Puppy Raiser for Paws for a Cause, a non-profit that trains service dogs. Sue’s job was to guide a young Labrador puppy named Nealon through puppyhood and adolescence, while training him to the best of her abilities to be a well-mannered young adult. After a year of training, Nealon would return to Paws for a Cause so that he could help a person with a disability lead a safer, happier, more independent life.
Sue and Nealon spent countless hours loving, laughing and learning in class with me. Nealon was quick to learn and he often participated in volunteer therapy visits with me at a skilled nursing facility, visiting young and old alike and bringing joy to all he encountered.
One day, I received a call at the store from a sheepish Sue, who asked when the next puppy classes started. When I questioned why she was asking, since Nealon was just about to start his Advanced lessons and would soon be leaving her care, she simply said, ‘I have a new Golden Retriever, Kayne.’
Right away we started doing group and private lessons with both Kayne and Nealon. Thanks to the great example set by his big brother, Kayne very quickly learned fun cues like ‘visit,’ ‘snuggle,’ ‘roll over’ and ‘tuck’. Since Sue also teaches at-risk youth, Kayne now uses these skills to bring smiles to her students. Thanks to the training, Kayne, Sue and her students all benefit.”
By Matt, Trainer
“I started having panic attacks when I was 25 years old. It felt like I was having a heart attack and a stroke at the same time. Chest pain, shortness of breath, sharp head pains—I thought I was going to die. They became more and more frequent and intense and doctors, meds and therapy really didn’t help. I gave up, withdrew from friends and family.
My now ex-fiancé was the only thing that kept me going. She suggested we volunteer at a local shelter walking dogs on my good days. I got hooked very quickly. I started watching positive reinforcement training videos and reading books. I found my therapy. We adopted Daisy, and she has completely changed my life. Daisy got me up walking every day and talking to other people with dogs. She gave me back my confidence and got me ready to go back to work.
I knew I wanted to work with dogs and applied for the overnight position at the PetsHotel. When I switched to days, I told them that I was interested in being a trainer. When the opportunity came up to go through the process of becoming an Accredited Trainer, I jumped at it! I’ve learned so much since I became a trainer, and Daisy has progressed so far because of it. She really is my best friend, and I'm so grateful that I get to bring her to PetSmart with me. She loves to work and show off. She's helped scared and nervous dogs find their confidence, just like she did for me.”