One morning I got a phone call from a local pet clinic saying, “Please, come get this dog.”   Evidently, a client of theirs had dropped off a male yellow lab puppy at the clinic for boarding, while he checked himself into a mental rehab clinic of sorts.  This puppy did not have a name and they were calling him “Yappy” because he wouldn’t quit barking.  I was to take him on as a boarding-for-training student while the owner was away.  So initially, Yappy came to me as another new student.

This client had purchased the puppy at Petland:  it was an impulse buy.  The dog’s birth date said 9/11. And I couldn’t help but notice that the client actually bought that dog on my birthday.

I was the dog’s teacher and his trainer, and he was a fabulous student. When we talked on the phone, the original owner was reluctant about his purchase, and he wasn’t sure if he could be a responsible pet owner.  During the dog’s stay, I gave him a respectable name, a name deserving of such a wonderful dog: Luke. I assured the owner that Luke was no ordinary dog, and that if any dog would have a healing effect in his life, it had to be this dog.  His owner agreed to give the relationship a try.

I took him back to his original owner’s home and started with lessons.  Within a couple of days, his former owner was ignoring my phone calls and refusing to communicate.  I had no other choice than to let go.  After all, he was not my dog.

A few weeks went by, and a wife or ex-wife (I’m really not sure) called me and told me that Luke’s former owner had been at a loss for taking care of him and had once again given him away to a less than appropriate situation.  He was being left outdoors and was destroying their outdoor furniture.  Needless to say, she asked if I would consider purchasing Luke. I couldn’t say “yes” fast enough.  I can still remember seeing Luke coming back in our office door, and I knew at that moment he was a keeper.

I haven’t had the kind of working partner I have found in Luke for over 30 years.  He is blessing.  I am grateful, and I am blessed with his being.  Luke is a very important member of our staff, and fills a position no human possibly could.

Lukes Demo – Nosework for dogs beginner class


Luke with Ceasar Millan

Luke with Martin Deely

Luke checking in at hotel

Luke at the sand dunes

Luke at dog beach

Luke and Moria at the dunes

Most Recent Review


5 out of 5 stars

posted 4 months ago

I recently met Karyn Garvin and heard her speak on Training your dog using an Integrative Approach. She is a great speaker and her many, many years of Dog training clearly show in her confidence and clear explanations of why and how her approach is so successful. Altho I have had formal training with my dog, hearing her talk about the good dog/bad dog behavior and how we unknowingly feed the bad dog behavior really resonated with me. How to effectively use tethering was a wonderful tool. I particularly liked how she reminded us, a dog is a dog. What is a dogs natural instincts and how to work with those instincts to have a happier, better behaved, dog. Loved her and wouldn't hesitate to use her for continued training.

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