When she describes her KPA education, Shannon is passionate. “You cannot go wrong with education. KPA has opened doors for me.” Since becoming a KPA Certified Training Partner (CTP), Shannon has started her own business, trained as a therapy-dog evaluator, and became a canine First Aid instructor, a service-dog trainer, and a trick-dog instructor! All of these interests have enriched Shannon’s life, as has the network of positive trainers she has met since her KPA days. “We have built strong friendships and business relationships. We share information, help each other out when needed (refer clients), and even holiday together—at ClickerExpo conferences sponsored by Karen Pryor Clicker Training and Karen Pryor Academy, of course!”
In addition to her professional training work, Shannon works in the community as well. Shannon and her Newfoundland, Abby, were a St. John’s Ambulance Therapy Dog team in Grande Prairie, visiting seniors’ lodges in the area. “Most of our visiting was during the winter. It is harder for some seniors to get out and about in the winter, so visiting them then is important. We live up north and cabin fever is a real thing! I love watching faces light up when they see this larger-than-life dog enter the room and then observe how gentle she is.” Abby retired from pet therapy this year, due to arthritis and mobility issues related to age. Her last therapy visit found Abby at Grande Prairie Regional College with students during exam week. “What a reception,” Shannon reports. “Abby was definitely born to be a therapy dog!”
Golden doodle Niso was Shannon’s training partner throughout her KPA training. She is now the class assistant as well as Shannon’s Canine First Aid demo dog. “Niso has worked so closely with me in all sorts of situations that she seems to know what I am thinking before I do!” laughs Shannon.
Shannon has found that the positive focus underlying her KPA education has impacted her life in all dimensions—in dog training and in everyday encounters. Her thirst for learning continues as well. In addition to her therapy, service, First Aid, and trick training obtained post-KPA, Shannon has also completed the KPA Puppy Start Right for Instructors course!