Melissa Kielbasa

Melissa Kielbasa (Missy), CPDT-KA, BS is the founder and head trainer of Sandy Meadow Farm Obedience School. Graduating with a Bachelors degree in animal science, she worked as a certified veterinary technician for many years while studying and apprenticing with a diverse group of professional trainers.  She began training professionally in 1988, and opened her own training school in 1993 on the farm property. She is an active member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, the International Assocation of Canine Professionals, the Massachusetts Farm Bureau, and is a certified evaluator for the AKC's Canine Good Citizen Program.  She has lived with and loved German Shepherds for over 40 years and Border Collies for 25, and has successfully trained her own dogs to numerous competition obedience titles, therapy dog certifications, functional farm herding, conformation titles, AKC school ambassador programs, and to perform at various public demonstrations. She has been featured in numerous news articles and on TV including 'Dogs 101' on  Animal Planet, 'Mass Appeal' on WWLP and WSBK, and 'Making It Here' on  WGBY.  Missy is the head trainer for the K-9's for Kids Pediatric Therapy Dog Unit, a group of dogs and handlers specially trained to work with physically, mentally, and learning disabled children. In addition, Missy is the choreographer and head trainer for the Westfield Woofers, a dog/handler line dance team that performs at various non profit public events. In 2009, Missy was honored with a Hometown Heroes award from the American Red Cross and received a Governor's Citation from Governor Deval Patrick for her dedicated training and volunteer services to the Pioneer Valley through the K-9's for Kids Program. In 2013 she was honored by the City of Westfield nominated as Volunteer of the Year for her participation and support of the pediatric therapy unit in the Westfield School System. 

Elizabeth Depin

Elizabeth Depin, CPDT-KA is a certified trainer who teaches here at Sandy Meadow Farm and also offers private lessons through her own business Take the Lead Ma (www.facebook.com/taketheleadma). Elizabeth teaches our companion classes and developed and runs our specialty Social Struggler and Courageous Canine Classes. 

Germaine Ruffo

Germaine Ruffo is the owner of Germaine's K-9 Kuties, www.k9kuties.com, professional dog grooming shop (413) 572 - 4666, and Keybree Aussies.   She had been a foster puppy raiser for Guiding Eyes seeing eye dogs, and owned a German Shepherd from that program as well as Australian Shepherds and Miniature Australian Shepherds. Germaine actively and successfully competes in competition obedience and agility with all of her dogs, as well as training in tricks, freestyle dancing, conformation, nosework, dock diving,  and therapy work.

Anne Crouss

Anne Crouss shares her home with a labrador retriever and a Japanese  Chin.  She developed an interest in learning theory and training after surviving the adolescence of an exceptionally unruly black labrador many years ago!  She actively trains to competition obedience skill level, and has had numerous dogs certified and working in the K-9's for Kids Pediatric Unit. 








 

Pam Shinkwin

Pam Shinkwin is the owner of Bearfoot Creek Canine Boarding School and has shared her home for many years with rottweilers. She is an avid performance trick trainer, and is in charge of the Tricks Can Be Fun training class at Sandy Meadow Farm. She trains to competition level in obedience, and also enjoys agility and therapy work, having had 2 of her rottweilers as active members in the K-9's Pediatric Therapy Dog Unit.
 

Jill Haley Rose

Jill Haley Rose, CPDT-KA is a certified trainer who specializes in working with dogs who have fear, aggression, separation anxiety, and other challenging behaviors. Jill was the Training Programs Coordinator for the Dakin Humane Society and ran all their training classes & workshops in 3 locations. She also was the canine behavior specialist for the Dakin Humane Society and has evaluated 1000s of dogs during her time there.She offers in-home behavior consults & training through her business Paws of Nature, www.pawsofnature.com, as well as behavior consults and private training for out of area clients at Sandy Meadow Farm. Jill will be offering various workshops including Dogs & Storks - Preparing Family Dogs for Life with Baby, several times a year at Sandy Meadow Farm, She also teaches and assists with group training classes here. We are very exciting to be collaborating with Jill and have her part of our team!  

Eric Gardell

Eric Gardell joined our team 20 years ago while rehabilitating two rottweiler mixes that he had recently rescued. He joins us winter months to teach our 4 week mini sessions and can occasionally be found teaching or assisting our companion classes the rest of the year.   Eric is also a trainer for Fidelco Guide Dogs in Connecticut where he is responsible for training dogs to assist the visually impaired.