Barbara Lewis has owned and operated Listen Up Pup canine training center the past thirty years, where classes are offered to puppies and adult dogs on basic manners, agility, tricks, Canine Good Citizen, and reactive dog class. Listen Up Pup also offers a free behavior hotline to the community. Prior to starting A New Leash on Life, Inc., Barbara Lewis was the Oklahoma Field Instructor for a national Service Dog training agency for sixteen years. Barbara is a certified member of National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors and a Professional Member of Association of Pet Dog Trainers.
Helen McGrath is a retired special education teacher and school psychologist of 29 years, mostly in Norman Public Schools. She has worked for Bethesda, Inc. and Center For Children & Families, Inc. in Norman with her therapy dogs to aid abused children under a special grant, including starting the “Stop Go Tell” program. This sexual abuse prevention program that now is presented to over 21,000 children a year and is still growing. She took her dog, Jasmine, into schools for 8 years (certified through Pet Partners), and now Rusty (certified through A New Leash on Life) since 2017. She is married to Jay Liang, with two children and 7 grandchildren.
Lindsay Avritt, PhD, began as a Puppy Raiser and completed our apprentice training program. Her work as a psychologist is an asset to our Service Dog application process and our Service Dog staff.
Jonathan Cox completed our three-year apprentice training program, teaches dog training classes at Pontotoc Technical Center in Ada, and offers private instruction, boarding, and training as the owner of Buckaroos Retrievers & Retreats in Paul’s Valley. His experience in the boarding kennel business is an asset to the dogs he handles for our agency, and he serves as one of the instructors in both our classes and in our prison program.
Geraldine Cummings became a puppy raiser in 2012 and completed our three-year apprentice training program to become a volunteer final phase trainer. A native of France, she is also an interpreter and part-time teacher. Her hobbies include long walks and horseback riding. She shares her life with a husband, daughter, pet dog, pet cat, four chickens, and Clara, a young lab who helps A New Leash on Life, Inc. educate the public about service dogs.
Shelia Ford began as a Puppy Raiser and completed our three-year apprentice training program. Shelia’s involvement with her children’s activities gives her the opportunity to put the final-phase training for Service Dogs to the test of many distractions.
Marilyn Smith trained dogs as a hobby for obedience competition for twenty-five years. She also works as a volunteer in a horse therapeutic riding facility.
Michelle Traw began training dogs for Therapy Dog work. Her background as a teacher for special needs children helped in the development of our Therapy Dog training program. She is also one of our prison dog trainers and a Service Dog Puppy Raiser.
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