Meet Our Pet Professionals
We have a wonderful relationship with so many professionals including veterinarians, trainers, breeders, shelters and rescues that we thought you'd like to meet some of them. Here's our latest contribution:
Crystal Cockroft has been running Canine Hope for Diabetics for almost 5 years. She and her team train diabetic alert dogs for type one diabetics. The dogs are trained to alert high and low blood sugar. Whether their owners are asleep or awake, they can alert their owners about an increase or decrease in blood sugar. Crystal and her team have made their organization to be as community oriented as possible, so that families can all get together and feel comfortable because they all have something very important in common. They can all get together to learn and gain knowledge of other diabetics, and the diabetic alert community. They put together outings, there’s a place where families can talk to other families that are just like them. As Crystal says; “It’s just become a fun, safe place where families can get together that have something in common.”
Frank Wisneski is a devoted father, volunteer and passionate photographer who was inspired by the animals and friends he works with. Frank’s 10 year old daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 7. Because of this, he looked into diabetic alert dogs, which brought him to his Black Lab, Major. Major is his daughter’s service dog who was adopted from a very abusive life. Major was just 35lbs when he was rescued and has made a 100% recovery thanks to his trainer at Canine Hope for Diabetics, and the love and compassion from Frank and his family. As Frank says “Major pays it forward every day” by being an inspiration, and amazing companion to Frank and his family.
Recently we lost a great friend to the dog community. Linda Arndt was the first person I interviewed for the blog articles and was very patient and helpful. We never got around to publishing this article, so in respect to Linda, we would like for everyone to know how amazing Linda truly was. 5 Kuranda beds will be donated to Linda’s favorite shelter.
Sharon Harrell is captain of the New River Rapids Flyball Club, based in Blacksburg, Virginia. New River Rapids has about 30 team dogs, in all stages of training for flyball. Each year the team competes in a dozen or so tournaments, mostly on the east coast. In 2012 they were the Division 4 Champions in the Can-Am Classic , the world’s largest flyball tournament, bringing teams from all over the US and Canada.
Rachel Thornton is a loving Mother who has a daughter that was diagnosed with type one diabetes about 7 years ago. Friends, family, and community raised the large amount of money necessary for a diabetic alert dog for her daughter, but, regretfully, all was lost, due to an unscrupulous company that sells dogs that could not be trained for service. Consequently, she and her daughter began teaching themselves - through intense research and through the valuable assistance of many others - to train a diabetic alert dog themselves. The success of that dog led them to share information and help others via their website http://www.diabeticalertdog.com.
Lisa McDonald, owner of Leader of the Pack Canine Institute, started her third year in business this January and says she will never go back to corporate America. Lisa spent twenty years as an assistant comptroller for a local business, but decided one day that pets were her passion, so she ventured off to become a very successful entrepreneur. Lisa started off by training under a local dog trainer, and then got her national certification for dog training. It started with just training, then quickly expanded to a kennel, day care, then grooming. Now she offers an all-in-one K9 facility, which is what she explains as part of the reason she has been so successful. An all-in-one K9 facility is just what her customers want, as they can bring their dog(s) to Leader of the Pack Canine Institute for a day, or overnight and get everything they want all in one place. Another large factor in her success has a lot to do with her staff; Lisa is proud of her staff and says that they make the business with their customer service. Lisa says that 75% of her business comes from word of mouth and referrals, due to her staff’s loyalty and devotion to dogs.
Jeff Campbell, of Campbell Boarding Kennels, is a small kennel owner with just nine runs who clearly cares about his customers, both the people and their dogs. His devotion to his kennel and dogs, keeping them clean well exercised and healthy, goes a very long way. Each of his runs has a Kuranda bed in it. “Before I had Kuranda beds in the runs, I would go check up on them and they would hear me and get up to greet me, but not anymore," Jeff says "The dogs are sound asleep on the beds and love them.”
A few months ago, I was visiting a shelter in Norfolk, Virginia when I saw this most beautiful Australian Shepherd. When I first saw it, it was outside in the visitor playground. A couple of young girls were sitting on a park bench throwing a ball to the dog. He ran off, fetched the ball and then immediately lay down under the bench that the girls were sitting on. The girls would then throw the ball again…. I waited until they brought the dog back to it’s stall and went home. I immediately called my wife. I wanted it! My wife, Rita calmed me down and talked some sense to me so I went home dejected, without the dog. I have thought about this dog ever since. This led me to a conversation with Kathy Givens. I asked her to tell me more about these beautiful dogs.
Kathy Givens grew up in San Fransisco and moved to Tahoe, in an area surrounded by ranches to get out into the wilderness. "The Basque people developed the Australian Shepherd from the Border collie years ago in Spain. They settled this area and when I moved here, I thought Oh my God, I'm in heaven, with all these Australian Shepherds everywhere." She's got 7 dogs of her own plus as many as 15 rescues at a time, getting about 2 adoptions a week. "I won't give a dog to someone who works 8 hours a day because if you don't give them a job, they'll find one." Kathy really encourages her adopters to teach their dogs to compete with sanctioned events. Agility training can be dangerous for dogs if you push them too far so these sanctioned events have set safety standards for dogs to prevent injuries. They have several venues for competing with dogs. These categories include Herding, Obedience, Agility, Tracking and Conformation. You can choose any one of these areas to compete.
There are several types of herding dogs, for instance Corgi's and Australian Cattle dogs usually do "pen work" while they use Border Collies and Australian Shepherds to go out to the great beyond to bring the cattle and sheep back to the ranch. While Australian Shepherds perform with amazing success in Agility Training, Border Collies are even better. "When I started competing in Agility Training, I found that the Border Collies were acing the competition." That's when Kathy began to take in Border Collies. You see, Kathy's a competitor herself.
Kathy owns sheep that she keeps at a local horse training facility. She can't keep the sheep on her own property because the dogs would be too determined to get to the sheep. This facility backs up to an open range managed by the Bureau of land Management. Often times, she'll take her sheep and let them loose on the open range and then set her more advanced dogs out to find them. "You should have seen me learn how to ride a horse to do this." You can't do all this on foot so Kathy follows her cows on horseback. Kathy encourages the people who adopt her rescues to train their new dogs with her. "You can't place a dog that has an instinct to do a certain job and not give the people a resource to do that."
Interview of Kathy Givens
Director, Australian Shepherd and Border Collie Rescue of Northern Nevada
2735 Clapham Ln
Minden, NV 89423