Heather came to us from a small beach town in North Carolina. Pain and fatigue issues make traveling out into the world a difficult process and so over the years her world has grown smaller. She told us that she had “lost so much of herself”. She gave up her dream job teaching two year olds because she just couldn’t continue. It was a big loss in Heather’s life. She came to CPL with hopes of opening her world back up – and we matched her with Banditt to make that happen. It was a daunting step for her to come to Team Training, as Heather rarely leaves her home alone. She had to travel to another state, far from her husband and children – to go through an unknown process alone – a process which would force her to go out into the world. But she did it! Slowly her confidence began to build, in herself, in Banditt and in her classmates and trainers.
Heather is a natural born dog trainer. During Team Training, she made her expectations for Banditt clear, she worked through challenges, and she praised well and always expected the best from her dog. She learned that Banditt would alert her when her body was overstressed, affecting her ability to function – and that sitting in response to the alert and simply petting Banditt would reduce her anxiety. It would bring everything back together so that she could get back up and go on with her day instead of losing the rest of it to symptoms. Heather and Banditt tackled steps (something she avoided at all costs) and they walked more than she ever thought she would be able to. They headed home to the beach – to enjoy their family, to explore the new opportunities that are now possible – maybe to even take a continuing education course and begin that degree in early childhood education.