Kersti has had a passion for working with dogs for as long as she can remember. As a child, she constantly read dog books, her favorite being The Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds. Her family’s border collie, Freckles, had a huge impact on her closeness with dogs. Freckles was quick to pick up on gestures and cues, which sparked her interest in how people communicate with their dogs.
When she moved out on her own, Kersti took in Rudy, then a 4 year old border collie lab mix. Rudy was very high strung and afraid of everything, so her plan was to get him comfortable enough with people and the environment to where he could be re-homed. She constantly worried he wasn’t getting enough attention and exercise, so she started running every day and took him everywhere she could. Kersti didn’t realize her drive to rehabilitate Rudy was also bringing her out of her own shell. Rudy and Kersti changed each other’s lives, and she saw that she could never give him to someone else. He is now 10 and helps her teach trainees proper manners inside and how to play outside.
After having Rudy for 6 months, Kersti took in another “temporary” dog, this time a puppy. Determined to only keep her until the right person came along, the puppy didn’t even have a name for the first 2 weeks so as to prevent Kersti from becoming attached. She met many willing families who would have made great homes, but she couldn't find the perfect one. The tiny German Shepherd mix quickly made her way into Kersti's heart, and became a foster failure named Lana.
Kersti quickly realized she couldn’t keep bringing dogs into her home permanently, so she began pet sitting, as a way to meet all types of dogs and to get to know them in different environments. She also began volunteering at AniMall Pet Adoption and Outreach Center to give back to the community and meet other animal lovers. From there she moved up to store manager, and then on to a career in dog training.
In her spare time, Kersti works with children and young adults on the Autism Spectrum where a dog can make a huge difference – bringing them out of their comfort zone, becoming more verbal, and active. Whatever Kersti does or wherever she is, there is certain to be a dog involved.
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