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Bas and Zoe

We finished the sessions more than three months ago, so this review is overdue, but we are no less grateful today as we were then for what Eleanor, Mahogany, and Kathy have done for us and our girl, Zoe. Before we started the sessions with Eleanor and Mahogany, we were feeling hopeless and helpless. Going for a walk with Zoe, three years old, 60 pounds rescue Staffordshire bull terrier, could feel like going through a minefield. Seeing a dog could make her jump and lunge while making a strident noise like a wild animal. We had made some progress in the few months since we had rescued her, but at that point we felt we were hitting a wall.

Right from the beginning, they made us see things that Zoe was capable of and that we had not imagined possible. And all along, their dedication and passion was just incredible. Now, Zoe walks confidently among dogs, and enjoys greeting any of them who is willing to, while just letting go those who are not. We are not ‘done’ with her training and never will be. But the hardest is behind and, most importantly, now we know how to keep going with what is more like ‘a form of life’.

Going through the program was enlightening, not only about Zoe's needs and abilities, but about our relationship with all our dogs, and what it means to take care of and respect them. But it was also challenging, as much for Zoe as for us. I see now that we were more difficult to train than Zoe herself. We had to stop showering her with attention and affection; to introduce restrictions and corrections, stop reacting emotionally to her emotional reactions, and, probably the most difficult, be consistent.

Eleanor and Mahogany were very supportive. But the strongest source of encouragement was Zoe herself and to see her growing ability to control herself and simply watch things happening around her, dogs, cats, squirrels, without taking part in it, and to see in her gaze and her gait how much more confident and happy she had become.

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