ABC Dog Training Program
Student of the Month
Sandy Nelson Alexander
ABC student, Sandy Alexander of Worchester, Mass., has always had a passion for dogs. While she loves cats, too, she is allergic to them. Sandy worked for 20 years as a restaurant manager while raising her daughter. When her daughter has moved out and on her own, Sandy thought, “Now it’s ‘my’ time,” although she didn’t really know which direction she wanted to go. One day, Sandy saw an ad for Animal Behavior College on Facebook; curious, she clicked on it. After looking through the website, she made a phone call and signed up for the Dog Obedience Program.
Sandy is now very close to finishing her externship. Regarding her volunteering hours, she said that she could go to the shelter in the worst mood and come home in the best mood. There are so many wonderful dogs at the shelter and she plans to continue volunteering even after her program. Sandy also thinks it has been a great weight-loss program, as she has lost 20 lb. during her externship.
What has been your most rewarding moment during your externship?
There was a very large German shepherd in our class. The owner was a big bag of nerves and it might have been the wrong dog for that type of person. However, I was able to work with her and show her that if she is confident in her actions and commands, the dog will become confident as well. That dog is now best behaved dog in class and has moved on to an advanced class. The owner really appreciated the time I spent with her and the dog.
Describe one pet story that touched you the most during your volunteer hours.
At the Second Chance Animal Shelter in East Brookfield, Mass., there was a 10-year-old Boxer named Brandy. For some reason, maybe because of her age, no one wanted to adopt her. Every time I was there, I made it a point to work with her. I would just go into her kennel and let her come out to me on her own time. I worked with her on her shyness and trusting people. I saw on Facebook that a family had adopted her and she was going to her “forever” home. I made it a point to get to the shelter and say goodbye to Brandy and wish her luck on her new adventures.
What has your experience been like in the ABC Dog Obedience Program?
I like it because it’s a program that wants you to succeed. If you go to college you have to take courses that may not pertain to your major, everything I learned will help me in my animal career. ABC’s curriculum flows well from one chapter to the next and it seems as though each new chapter reviews the previous information, but also teaches you something new. Repetition is how we learn.
What will be the secret to your success in the pet industry as a dog trainer?
I can only hope that people see the genuine passion and knowledge that I have for animals. I’m here for the long haul and I want people to realize that. I feel like I’m a natural and I’m very sincere. I want to work with shelters by offering a service to potential adopters where I would make sure the dog they want is the right one for their home and lifestyle.
Which dog breed best describes you and why?
I’m going go with a German shepherd, I feel like I’m intelligent. I’m very protective and very loyal to those around me, and a bit intimidating to some who try to approach my daughter.