I grew up with dogs. At a very young age I fell head over heels in love with the German Shepherd. My early fascination with the German Shepherd came from watching the stereotypical powerful and obedient "police dog" working with such obvious devotion. Their enthusiasm even today takes my breath away. I knew one day I would share my life with one, or many.
As an adult my first purebred GSD was an early wedding gift from my husband, Chuck. I attribute my current enthusiasm and success in dog sports to that dog, Dakota.
Cavaliers entered into my life almost as a dare. After hearing for years from my students and fellow exhibitors that it was totally different training and running a "little dog" in agility, and that I would not understand owning big dogs, the time came for me to add a little dog, not just into our home but to train for performance too.
Chuck was my high school sweetheart and still is my best friend. I am grateful to him, as I would not be able to compete, train, or be successful with our dogs without his continued support. He certainly had no idea when we got married that our home would be overrun by dogs, but he is great as their playmate and permanent pooper scooper!
Our home currently consists of our teenage son Clayton, my husband Chuck, and our 9 dogs.
Pictured top left to right; Tilt, Trinket, Clay holding Treasure & Tizzy, Taboo.
Bottom left to right; Hemi, Swindle, Hurri
I have always been very active in rescue. I've been a volunteer for Michigan Humane Society, Kalamazoo Animal Rescue, and am currently a volunteer for Adopt A Friend for Life of Southwest MI and Lucky Star CKCS Rescue. Since 1995 I've served as President of German Shepherd Dog Rescue of Michigan; evaluating, rehoming and training over 300 GSDs annually.
I am also registered as an AKC CGC Certified Evaluator, a certified agility instructor through Julie Daniels White Mountain Agility Instructors Certification, and endorsed by the NADOI (National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors).
I left my traditional job as an athletic trainer/aquatic therapist to train dogs full time, after Clay was born in 2001. Today myOver the years I have tited my own dogs, and client's dogs, in agility, obedience, tracking, herding, field and conformation, having put such advanced titles AKC and UKC obedience UDX, tracking TD, Conformation CH/GRCH, Agility Championships titles in AKC, UKC, and CPE, field titles and working certificates, the Canine Good Citizen, and a Schutzhund I. Two of the dogs earned their AKC CD at 6 months of age. Although I still do behavioral training, esp with rescue dogs and referrals from veterinarians, today my primary focus is on agility. I spend most of time offering competitive agility classes, private lessons, and seminars. Traveling all across the country to participate in agility trials and to further my training. My girl Trinket, currently has her MACH12, was not only the #1 Agility Cavalier, but also AKC Top MACH Dog in 2013, and was both an NAC and Inviationals Finalist in the same year.
I train dogs, and work with people to train and be able to communicate with their dogs, because I want others to enjoy life with their dogs. I find training and working with my dogs so much fun! I feel there is no stronger bond than what I am able to share with my own canine friends. I wish for others to enjoy that as well.
It with great pleasure that I am watching Clay also enjoy training and working with his own dogs.
We share our little country home with two very different breeds, German Shepherds and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. They are extreme ends of the spectrum in many ways, but we make it work and enjoy every moment of it.