IT STARTED WITH WOLVES

My first professional canine experience was at Mission:Wolf, a non-profit sanctuary for wolves (unfortunately) bred in captivity, where I spent eleven months as an assistant animal caretaker.

Living and sleeping next to 36 wolves was an incredible experience that settled me in a world of nonverbal communication. Kent Weber and Tracy Brooks, the co-founders of Mission:Wolf, were instrumental in accelerating my ability to understand and communicate with the wolves. My duties included caring for the wolves, socializing new arrivals, leading wolf tours, and helping visitors greet the "ambassador wolves."  

My second professional canine experience was at Pulling Together, a youth program and racing kennel of 26 sled dogs in Acadia National Park. Over the course of a year, Meg Burden (the kennel director) taught me to mush, and I eventually helped to manage the kennel and train teams for the Can/AM 30-mile race.

 
Training for the CAN/AM 30-mile race

Training for the CAN/AM 30-mile race

 

This experience gave me the time to synthesize individual methods for training dogs. The wolves taught me about the intricacies of communication and pack structure, but it was the sled dogs that taught me about the training relationship. I worked with the dogs to overcome their fears, stop overly aggressive behavior, and to work together as a team. This meant I had to learn to be a leader they would trust and follow, whether over a thirty mile sled run or in the midst of potential danger (such as meeting unknown dog teams.) Over a winter I trained a team that placed 8th in the 30 mile CAN/AM race, among thirty teams from all over North America.

North by East Training is the synthesis of this canine experience with the tools I have learned from a bachelors degree in psychology and my work as a mediator in the Salem District Court. I love working with clients to help make them an expert in working with dogs. 

Animal connection is still a guiding force in my life.  You can find me in Portland, Maine, teaching yoga, playing violin, and greeting any dog I happen across. I love the ways dogs can teach us to be more human by opening us to our own roots as animals.