An Inukshuk is a specially arranged pile of stones that acts as a trail marker, helping guide people along their way in the Arctic. It means “to act in the capacity of a human” in Inuktitut. Inukshuk was also the name of my grandparents’ black lab. She was the first dog that sparked my passion for dog training. Before Inukshuk, I was terrified of dogs. However, as a seven-year-old, I told my grandparents, “if you get a puppy, I won’t be afraid of dogs anymore.” When they brought home an 8-week-old female black lab puppy, I fell in love with her and dogs and never looked back. Inukshuk has truly lived up to her name, guided me on my path, showing me how to pursue my passion for dog training.
ABOUT THE TRAINER
Dog training has been a passion of mine since I was young. I started dog training with my grandma when she brought home an 8-week-old black lab puppy. Since then I have been learning everything I can about dog training. In high school I studied dog psychology through an independent study and trained a therapy dog to provide comfort for people in assisted living. After high school I took a gap year to train a guide dog for Guiding Eyes for the Blind. He has been successfully placed with a woman in San Diego who is both blind and has additional disabilities. During my gap year, I also helped teach obedience classes and taught dog safety to kids of all ages. Two summers ago I interned at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center at UPenn and continue to volunteer there once a week. Last summer I interned at Guiding Eyes for the Blind conducting research on temperament testing with the use of a smart harness and initiative testing in puppies. I am currently a Junior at Princeton University majoring in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology with a certificate in Cognitive Science. I am conducting thesis research on two things: diabetic alert dogs and how middle school students' behavior is impacted after learning how to train service dogs.