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“Ms. Independent Drama Queen” Just let me at the stink-en raccoon. Okay I will accept your food then leave me to hunt that darn Skunk in the back yard.

Imagine- this is your first dog. You wanted a “relaxed and chilled out dog”, or at least, we did. Apparently the universe thought we SHOULD do better than that. We got Mika- two year old pointer mix, from a wonderful local rescue group. Once the “honeymoon period” was over and her doggy brain figured out that she had conned us into keeping her, she decided she was going to do her best to “impress us”. Mika turned out to be an intense hunter with a very strong will and highly independent streak. She is pure machine and seemed to have no need for any human interaction except during mealtimes (lol), no interest in toys, didn’t play with other dogs at doggy daycare; she was really only interested in going for the prey. Turns out she was also extremely fearful of strangers, other dogs and new environments- we later learned that this fear/ anxiety/ stress is a strong indicator that she was not socialized from young. Not at all.

After lunging/ barking and growling at my parents, we started enlisting trainers for help. The first trainer suggested a Prozac prescription so that Mika can calm down in order to absorb obedience tactics. I don’t see that as a sustainable solution, neither does it solve the root of the problem. Also I was frustrated that she was so booked that she could only see us two months later, and her appointments are one hour sessions only. That’s just not going to work for our situation (I NEEDED HELP STAT!) or Mika, who is such a complex dog that Cindy and I later on likened her to an onion with lots of layers.

My doggy daycare recommended Cindy. I submitted a form at her website and she called me the next day- a SUNDAY. You know the feeling when you’re at the end of the rope and then the skies opened and angels sang? That’s exactly how I felt from the very first phonecall with Cindy. That phonecall itself was about an hour long, and she hadn’t even met us yet! She gave me lots of insights, answered my endless questions, and shared her experiences and methods. I knew right away that Cindy was whom we need.

Cindy is acutely sensitive and in tune with dogs’ energies and challenges. She has an amazing gift for reading signals so imperceptible that us mere mortals miss even without blinking, and she has eyes at the back of her head, she never misses a single cue from the dog- when a dog is in her presence she is aware of what it is doing (or even just thinking of doing) 100% of the time. She is wonderful at being firm but not pushy, assertive and respectful of what the dog can handle. More importantly, Cindy trains humans to be strong leaders just as hard as she rehabilitates dogs. Yes, we are exhausted, and no, Mika is not quite the perfect dog yet- she will be an ongoing project for a while- but she is a very enjoyable part of our household now! Cindy’s value is empowering us as dog handlers. From vet appointments, engaging with humans, to having overnight/ out of town guests in our home, we now have the tools and knowledge to manage Mika, read her body language, and techniques to relax her and/ or teach her how to calm her mind when she feels stressed. Cindy is also a huge proponent of nutrition and using natural remedies to help dog ailments, and she very generously shares her research and findings. She has invested tremendous amounts of time and energy in helping us to improve Mika’s digestive health (so important for dogs) through a combination of diet, natural products, and creating and teaching us to replicate a structured environment for Mika. I honestly can say Mika will not be the dog she is today without Cindy’s guidance and leadership. THANK YOU CHIEF!!!

Mika the two year pointer mix