Hurricane Ida; My Scariest Experience As a Dog Sitter

October 6, 2021

As I write this, I am 7 years into my business as a dog sitter. I’ve been staying in owner’s homes (away from my family and own dogs since 2014). Although I only went full time this year, I have never had an experience actually frighten me to my core before enduring Hurricane Ida on September 1st of 2021.

Pinterest pin for "How I Survived Hurricane Ida"

If you just want to hear of my experience with Hurricane Ida in a light-hearted way, shared by me 24 hours after its occurrence, feel free to watch the 3+ minute video below. Otherwise, you can keep scrolling for the:

It Was a Day Like Any Other; Pre-Hurricane Ida

I was staying over in a home in Horsham, PA with two dogs. It was a new client of mine, a very laid back and accommodating family. They said on any day you have prior engagements (personal or business) feel free to bring Minnie to daycare. They added you can leave our other dog at home since she mostly sleeps all day anyways.

I dropped Minnie off at daycare. Then, completed two dog walking services before heading home to work on planning out the office wall in my home. My friend Maria (another entrepreneur) came over and helped me plan out the shelving that would work best. Then, we ordered shelves on IKEA.com to be picked up tomorrow (so we thought).

Maria and I planning my shelves a few hours before Hurricane Ida

I had to pick up Minnie from daycare so when Maria went home, I headed out to do that. Because Maria and I bought a shelf from Target just for reference and we were done with it, I stopped there first and returned that. Then, wandered into the new Amazon Fresh in the same parking lot to grab something quick for dinner since I would just be relaxing at Minnie and Coco’s for the night.

Getting a salad at Amazon Fresh a half an hour before Hurricane Ida

Just some casual shopping during the pre-hurricane hour (which I was completely unaware of).

I Was The Last To Pick Up From Doggie Daycare? A Hurricane?

I made it to Minnie’s doggie daycare around 5:40 to pick up Minnie. My old coworkers (since I used to manage this doggie daycare) were all in the office. This tipped off to me that I may have been the last one to pick up. When I asked if that was the case, they said I was the last to pick up.

The last person picked up 20 minutes ago, but most people started picking up around 4 because of Hurricane Ida. I had heard things here and there about residual rain but nothing too crazy. I was surprised that daycare cleared out so fast.

When I tried to leave with Minnie, the general manager said “I wouldn’t leave, Heather.” When I asked “Why?” She said there is a tornado warning. I thought to myself, “We get those all the time and nothing ever happens.”

I shared that I only have to go 5 minutes up the street.

“Minnie lives in the neighborhood off Babylon Rd.”

That’s when Kim said “That’s where the tornado is supposed to hit and in 5 minutes.”

I hadn’t received any texts or warnings about Hurricane Ida or the tornado so I just assumed she was being extra cautious. I appreciated her concern but I picked up Minnie and said “I’ll see you guys later; drive safe” and ran through the rain to my car.

The Start of My 5 Minute Drive During Hurricane Ida

I started driving and I thought to myself “See, it can’t be too bad. There are still other people on the road.”

All at once, I realized that every single car I had seen since leaving doggie daycare was driving towards me / away from Babylon Rd. I started getting worried thinking, “Are they trying to get out of dodge before it gets bad?”

All of a sudden it got really dark. I turned onto Babylon Rd. All at once, it felt like I was the only person in the whole town. Wind picked up big time and I kept thinking “Stay cool. You’re almost there. You’re almost there.”

I couldn’t see 5 feet ahead of me, it was like the rain was circling around me. My brain went “Oh my god, what if I can’t see a tornado because Hurricane Ida is also going on?”

One Minute Away, But…

Because of how little I could see ahead of me, it wasn’t untiI I was 5 feet away that I could see there was a huge tree blocking access to the rest of Babylon Rd. I put myself in reverse, still trying to remain calm. There was one single car behind me. I was about to start backing up to give him them memo. Then, a tree just as big as the one ahead of fell behind him.

We were trapped and it felt as if Hurricane Ida had just escalated.

A tree down in front of my car in the midst of Hurricane Ida

The Scary Part / Hurricane Ida

Limbs of trees and trees themselves started hurling themselves at my car.

Knowing I couldn’t keep moving forward towards my dog sitting house left me with no distraction.

I am in full blown panic mood.

As a reminder it was a valid time for panic, lightning struck down a few feet from the driver’s side of my car. It cracked and bustled there for what felt like 5 whole seconds.

My car started rocking back and forth viciously. The two drivers side wheels would be off the ground. Then, the two passenger side tires would be off the ground. And then all 4 for a second, then back to two on either side. My Dodge Durango was putty in this tornado’s hands.

My view out of the driver's side of my car while stuck in Hurricane Ida

I Needed Help Out of Hurricane Ida

At this point, I called Jack. I think I wanted to get some mechanical advice on what is the best thing to do to keep your car on the ground during a tornado. However, it came out as “What do I do? What do I do? AHHHHHH. I’m so scared.” He started screaming back because I couldn’t hear him trying to talk to me over my own screams and how loud this Hurricane Ida / tornado combo was over my car. He yelled “Where are you?” “I don’t know” was all I could say because my mind wasn’t in a place of logistics at the moment. I then told him I was trying to get to Minnie and Coco’s. He has never been there so that didn’t help either. He asked for the address 3 times before I could think to do what he was asking.

Paralyzed With Fear During Hurricane Ida

My hands were shaking so bad (something I didn’t realize until Jack asked me to use my fine motor skills). It took me 3 times as long to do the simple task of copy and pasting an address.

The world around me was unsettling, lonely, & unrecognizable. I found this video a week after Hurricane Ida ripped through here. It’s from the dash cam of the tractor trailer that was picked up and blown over in Maple Glen down Norristown Rd from where I was. This is EXACTLY what it looked & felt like around me for reference.

I was practically cry-begging Jack not to come to me. I didn’t want him driving through a tornado but I later found out that Warrington was only really hit with the hurricane so there was only major flooding. Although I wanted him to stay home and safe, a part of me was thinking:

“Just stay alive for 10 minutes and then someone else will do all the work of fixing this.”

The Only Other Man Standing

While we were on the phone, the car that was stuck behind me started to drive past me.

At this point it seemed as though the worst of the storm was ahead of us now. I thought to myself “Where does he think he’s going? No part of the road is drivable.”

And just like that this guy jumped the curb and arched around the tip of the tree in the front lawn of the house it fell in front of.

The car that was stuck behind me during Hurricane Ida

I asked Jack to stop driving towards me. I was in a bigger car than the guy who just passed me so I did the same.



Another tree.

Sorry to the 2nd and 3rd front lawn I had to drive through to finally get to one of the entrances to Minnie and Coco’s neighborhood.

My Dog Sitting Dog’s Neighborhood After Hurricane Ida

It was a mess.

It was still pouring at this point, like Hurricane-type pouring. After being in the midst of the actual tornado during Hurricane Ida, I was just happy to be alive and kept trucking.

Pinterest Pin about for Hurricane Ida blog post

I Can’t Get in the House

My trek through a tornado was finished; I made it to Minnie and Coco’s house. Frantically, since it was still pouring, I got out of the car and ran to the garage door opener. I tried to put the code in as quickly as I could because I was already soaked. Nothing. I tried again. Nothing. The power’s out and the only way I had to get into this house was the garage code.

I called Coco & Minnie’s dad to get further instructions. Although difficult, I tried to keep as cool a composure as I could. The fact that I was yelling over the monsoon of rain to hear him was a big giveaway.

He told me there was a house key with his neighbors across the street. I drove over and saw they already had the front door open waiting for me. I ran right in.

Because they knew I was obviously driving during Hurricane Ida, they asked me a few questions. They said it was brutal even just being in their house during it.

I talked to them for 2 minutes or so and then ran back to my car. My jeans were so soaked from that 10 seconds of running in the rain that they looked like leather pants.

My pants soaking wet after running through Hurricane Ida

Checking In On Loved Ones

Once Minnie and all my stuff was in the house, I called:

Anxiety Starts to Set In Post-Hurricane Ida

Once I had finished all of those calls, the realization started to sink in that there is no power and the sun is going down.

About an hour after Minnie and Coco’s dad and I talked on the phone and a bit of texting about the damage, he asked me “Are you okay to stay? I’m not sure how you are feeling?”

I wanted to text back that I would love to go home with my family, but I understand the compromises that come with being an in-home dog sitter; you can’t just go cuddle up in your own bed after a bad day.

I just feel very lonely, in a dark home after a hurricane / tornado while my family is:

It would be no secret to say I wish I was there with them. I texted him back “I’m definitely a little stressed / still shaken up.”

As the conversation continued I added “Even if I didn’t stay tonight while there’s no power (ONLY if that was okay with you), I would still take care of Coco & Minnie through the end of your vacation. Let me know your thoughts or questions or requests. I will do whatever is best for you guys.”

He texted back “Give me a minute- I’m not sure how my dogs will do with no one home all night.”

I Am Trapped Here, Sources Say

Then one minute later wrote back “Apparently people can’t get in and out because of the power lines. My friend that lives two doors down was not allowed to drive into the neighborhood.”

Any inkling of “Maybe I’ll get to go home tonight” was gone. Now I was hoping for a miracle to make the idea of sleeping in someone else’s home with no power, no lights, and no contact out of the house less anxiety inducing.

What Were the Odds of That?

Minnie and Coco’s dad texted me back saying “Would you feel better if we had power?”

I was getting ready to text back “Of course, but how would you be able to get power?” but then he texted again saying “I’m with a neighbor who lives on the corner and he has power.”

Every single house in this neighborhood is without power except for one house. One house in this neighborhood has power. To my amazement, it’s owned by a family that is currently on vacation with my dog sitting family.

What are the odds.

The power out at all houses but one after Hurricane Ida

Working Out the Logistics of the Move

I didn’t question them. Minnie and Coco’s Dad told me the address. He said that they have a puppy as well so there are baby gates up to be able to stay in the family room. They can unlock the door remotely and have me come in through the garage door.

All I would need for the dogs is their food and Minnie’s crate.

It all sounded great except that I can’t put hands on Coco.

“Just feed her, let her out, and let her be during my stay” was my instructions for Coco’s care. They know the only person she likes is the dad, but now I would need to transport her. I can’t pick her up and put her in the car so Minnie and Coco’s dad told me to just drive all my stuff over. Then, get a leash and collar on her and walk her down to the house about 4 doors down.

That was the plan so I packed up what I needed. I grabbed 6 Ziplocs and a sharpie. Then, I measured out and prepared Minnie & Coco’s food to eliminate having to bring their entire food containers.

I packed up my car with all my things and Minnie. We headed over to the only house with power (still can’t believe my luck).

Settling In / The Transition

When we got to the neighbor’s house, I:

I leashed up Coco and ran through the rain to get Coco to the neighbor’s house.

Walking Coco to the neighbor's house after Hurricane Ida

I texted Minnie and Coco’s dad around 8:20 saying “We’re all here.”

He sent me a picture off of the Horsham Township Twitter page saying:

An announcement for a shelter in place after Hurricane Ida

I texted back saying “Have you ever had to shelter in place before? How long does it usually last for?”

He texted back “This has never happened to me.”

He then wrote “Do you think we should come back early?” Do you want to check in the AM? I’m not sure what your other clients are doing.”

I said “It’s totally up to you guys. Will this generator die before you guys are due to come home?”

He wrote back “ It’s natural gas so it stays on indefinitely. I need one of those but I didn’t want to spend the money on it.”

I texted back “I totally get that! After this storm, I know for certain I’m going to get one for my future home. Scariest day of my life.”

He wrote back “I can’t believe you drove through that! I’m really sorry you experienced that.”

The Community Hurricane Ida Damage

I spent my night scrolling through Facebook saving pictures of videos of the:

The pictures are a marvel on their own. The videos are what really make the severity real.

I can’t believe how bad we got hit. I went to bed so thankful to be alive. And to have power so I could have the TV on so I didn’t feel so alone after a scary day.

The Day After Hurricane Ida

I spent my day fixing up both backyards / patios at both houses I’ve stayed at during my stay with Minnie & Coco. It took me about 3 hours collectively to get their back patios back to relatively normal.

I tried to leave through Babylon Rd at one point just to see if I could. However, every single tree and powerline was down from last night, making it impossible to turn left or right.

Later in the day, Minnie and Coco’s dad informed me that they would be coming home tonight. I spent my day cleaning up the neighbor’s house and getting Minnie and Coco’s things back into their own home.

Around 6 PM, I was able to leave their home through the industrial park beside the neighborhood. I made sure to do so after thanking Minnie and Coco for the most eventful dog sitting experience I’ve ever had.

Post-Hurricane Ida Updates

It was found out that Babylon Rd was one of the worst affected areas during Hurricane Ida.

Minnie and Coco’s dad sent me this video that Peco had taken above Babylon Rd.

I was on this road as trees were hurling and powerlines were falling like dominos.

I am eternally grateful with each new piece of data that comes out proving the severity of this storm.

After he sent me this video, curiosity got the best of me.

I decided to drive by the entrance of Babylon where I had entered just a few days ago in the height of the storm. I was already on Babylon Rd as these lines and road posts were falling just behind me.

One Hell of a Hurricane Ida Story

So, there it is. The scariest experience I have ever endured as a in-home dog sitter. And as a human being quite honestly.

Just a little blog post to remind you to be grateful for dog sitters.

I had no choice but to keep forging through Hurricane Ida / tornado to keep the dogs in my care safe.

Not all heroes wear capes; some wear dog hair.

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About Heather

My dog Stitch on my shoulders

⬆ 2023 – Stitch (10 yrs), Me (28 yrs)

⬇ 2016 – Stitch (2 yrs), Me (21 yrs)

my dog stitch on my shoulders at my farm

My Favorites

Breed: Aussie Shepherds, Blue Heelers, Long-Haired Dachshunds

Owner: Open-Minded, Fun-Loving, & Involved

Treat: Macaroons & Pumpkin Pie

Trick: Finding gems at the thrift store, the Rubix Cube, & making friends anywhere

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Kiersten Bojanowski
Kiersten Bojanowski
19:08 20 May 24
Heather is amazing!!! Before I hired her, my dog was unbearable on walks. He would pulled like crazy, jump at people or lay down randomly. Now he knows how to loose leash walk and actually listens! With this training, it has also helped with create training. Before he would not go in the cage and would cry the whole time. Now he takes 3 hour naps in there and can be left for a bit without crying because he is mentally drained from his walks. I used to have to do 2 snuffle mats and 3 puzzles a day along with 4 walks because he is so high energy and could never really settle, now he can sleep for hours in between naps. I no longer get stressed taking him on walks and it’s all thanks to Heather!
Michael Profrock
Michael Profrock
20:53 19 Mar 24
We just recently adopted two dogs that were 18months old. With having the worries of introducing new dogs into an environment that they have never been around was already stressful enough. Having followed Heather on her social media accounts, I was excited to see her skills put to the test. From simple suggestions on how to get both dogs to love their crates and to listen to us was impressive. She was able to answer any questions that I had and explained her reasons for her suggestions. She is the true dog whisperer. I look forward to scheduling another visit so she can help on other improvements. I hope to anyone reading this realizes that they will not be disappointed. She is truly the best!
holly corson
holly corson
05:05 19 Dec 23
Heather is a fantastic dog trainer! We needed her services recently for our dog (9ish months old at the time) who seemed determined to listen as little as possible. We had major issues with her pulling on the leash and barking/whining during walks, constantly counter surfing, jumping out of our fenced in yard, and more. Heather was able to help with all of them. She taught us (and our dog!) how to do a beautiful loose leash walk along with how to use an e-collar to keep her in "place" and correct for bad behavior. Our relationship with our dog is so much less stressful now and we're looking forward to many years of happy dog ownership. All that, and Heather was great with our kids and fun to be around! We could not recommend her more. The investment was worth it.
Charlotte Baratta
Charlotte Baratta
14:02 13 Dec 23
Heather is a fantastic trainer! She truly understands them and their needs, and is so helpful in training the people who are handling the dog too!One of our dogs was experiencing anxiety and through some fairly simple steps he’s calmed down so muchI’ve recommended her to friends and everyone has had a great experience with her. Thank you Heather!
Lisa Madden
Lisa Madden
20:07 28 Nov 23
I found Handful of Leashes on a google search after my 9 month old puppy started resource guarding and it was becoming a HUGE problem. From our first session, I knew I liked Heather's approach. She is confident, knowledgeable, professional and honest. After our first session, I ended up buying a package and doing e-collar training with my pup. Heather provided me with the tools that I needed to stop this bad habit and it worked! I highly recommend Handful of Leashes if you need any help with your dog!
Eric Fay
Eric Fay
19:20 10 Nov 23
Heather was fantastic for our Abigail (mini goldendoodle)! We did a 5 session package, starting with Heather at 10 weeks, and the progress made in even the first session was remarkable. Would have been in a tough place without Heather!We’re also looking to use Heather for boarding services in the future, as well as further training as Abigail gets older.UPDATE:We’ve done 2 more packages (loose leash & e-collar) with Heather and it has made such a difference. Without Heather we have no idea we’d be with this crazy pup!We’ve also used Heather for boarding on a couple of occasions, and Abigail comes home (although probably would rather stay) so fulfilled. We also get regular updates via social media which is awesome. Very much trust Heather to take care of our girl!
Tia Regec
Tia Regec
00:27 08 Nov 23
Earlier this year, I was struggling to walk my Aussie puppy (Ranger) in a local park when someone recommended Handful of Leashes – and I’m so glad they did! When I finally had the time to fully commit, I decided to reach out to Heather. We started with the loose leash package and moved on to the e-collar package.I was nervous when it came time for our first training lesson, but Heather put me at ease. She is the best! All questions are answered in a way that is relatable and shows you the big picture. Even now that we are done with our training packages, she is there with all the tips and tricks.There are so many things I learned throughout our lessons that I never would have thought were related. One example that sticks out is how crate training improves confidence and problematic behaviors. Before we started training with Heather, Ranger was not crate trained. He behaved well enough outside of the crate that I didn’t think he needed it. Now, I don’t think we will ever go back! Many of the issues we were dealing with were resolved shortly after introducing the crate to Ranger.Four weeks into our training, family and friends were already commenting on the improvements to Ranger’s behavior. Now that we have adapted everything Heather taught us into our lifestyle, I only see this getting better!Two training packages later and Ranger is confident, he is a better listener, walks are no longer stressful, we get a full night’s sleep, he eats all his food again – I could go on and on. I look forward to utilizing other services provided by Handful of Leashes in the future.
Christine Yakatan
Christine Yakatan
22:42 19 Sep 23
Heather is an amazing trainer! She helped us tremendously!
Michele Cleary
Michele Cleary
15:41 10 Sep 23
Heather is truly amazing! She is remarkably upbeat and has a very natural rapport with dogs. Our pup was completely at ease with her as she guided all of us through learning new commands and how to experience awesome loose leash walks. She was also extremely flexible working with us to accommodate our hectic schedules. We highly recommend Heather as your trainer of choice!
Rosanne Keep
Rosanne Keep
13:49 27 Aug 23
We worked with Heather for a 10-week period, on basic obedience training for our puppy and then loose leash walking. Heather is a warm, insightful, intelligent teacher, who is skilled in connecting with both dogs and people. She understands and explains the motivations behind dogs' behaviors in a way that serves to strengthen the bond we have with our pups. The knowledge Heather shared about interacting with dogs was broadly relatable to engaging with other humans in the world and I so appreciated those parallels. Heather is more than a dog trainer, she's also like an undercover therapist. :) I highly recommend her and wouldn't hesitate to bring her back in the future for further training.
Lizzy Carr
Lizzy Carr
19:59 25 Jul 23
Update!! May 2023:We purchased another package from Heather to work with Rex on some new issues. Her new packages are now 5 lessons instead of 4. By the 5th lesson we had nothing to work on because Rex was already ecollar trained and doing great. Rex is still the best listening dog we have (out of all 4). He knows his basic manners (from our first package) but since having a baby in February, he became very over protective. He came close to nipping one of our friends and that is when we decided we really needed to do something about it. Heather came over the following week and started training Rex. She taught my husband and I how to use the ecollar and within 2 weeks, he was a completely different dog. He no longer charges at people barking. When I call him, I no longer need to push his ecollar button, he automatically comes running to my side and sits. We really appreciate everything Heather has taught us. If it wasn't for her, something serious could have happened and we might not have been able to keep Rex. She is very knowledgeable, passionate and amazing at what she does. We will be moving soon and if any issues arise getting our 4 dogs adjusted to their new home, we will definitely call Heather again.September 2022: I can't recommend Heather enough! We have 4 dogs, our newest one being a 1 year old German Shepherd rescue. We wanted to train him on basic manners, especially having a baby on the way. We purchased a pack of 4 training lessons and the difference from the first lesson to the last was HUGE. He learned basic commands like come, sit, stay, place, heel, etc. She taught us how to work with him on his barking, cage manners and jumping. It has only been about 2 months and he is by far the best listener out of all 4 of our dogs. The skills and knowledge Heather taught us is something we will continue to work on and start training our other dogs on as well. SHE IS THE BEST!!!!
Sarah Tantum
Sarah Tantum
01:43 21 Jun 23
So glad we made the decision to contact Heather to help us with training our puppy Murphy. Heather gave us the tools necessary to help meet our goals with recall, loose leash walking and place. Don’t wait any longer call Heather today….you won’t regret it!We’ve also used Heather for boarding services while on vacation. Murphy loved every minute!!
jen collopy
jen collopy
10:10 19 May 23
We hired Heather to train us on loose leash walking for my two dogs, Lola and Ravi, who were very leash reactive. Within only a few sessions we had all of the tools we needed to reinforce the right behavior and now walk with ease! Not to mention my dogs loved her! Money well spent.
Barbara Rogers
Barbara Rogers
21:02 23 Apr 23
We truly lucked out when looking for a dog trainer! Heather came into our life the week we rescued our 13 month old golden lab retriever. She is the biggest dog we ever had & we were very apprehensive to say the least. Thanks to Heather, we can walk her without being pulled over. She is much calmer, listens, and stays on her mat (place) for longer periods of time. Aside from in-home training, Heather also dog sits at her home. Heather is a breath of fresh air, caring, knowledgeable, understanding, & totally dedicated! Our dog, Sammie, just loves her! We look forward to being able to go on vacation knowing Sammie is in good hands!
Bianca Reist Steadman
Bianca Reist Steadman
00:11 22 Mar 23
Heather is the absolute BEST--knowledgable, patient, understanding, reliable, flexible, and so obviously LOVES what she does (and our pup adores her). After deciding to get a puppy our first call was Heather! Having witnessed her train my parents dog (the older sister of our puppy) to perfection, the decision was an easy one. Initially our plan was to work with Heather over Zoom before getting our puppy, train with her in person when we were back east, and find someone else to train her in person in LA. We quickly realized it wasn't necessary to work with someone in person in LA as our Zoom sessions with Heather were truly JUST as effective as in person sessions. I was skeptical about this initially but after experiencing both over the past 6 months I can say she gets the job done extremely effectively in BOTH mediums.Heather helped us to not only devise a training plan for our pup beginning the first hour we brought her home but also prepare her to fly across the country 2.5 weeks after getting her. Heather gave us the tools to make it a successful reality. Indie crushed her first two flights in a carry bag thanks to the training (crate training, bag training, socialization, alone time, potty training, and boundaries etc.) Heather had us strictly implement from day 1.Next, Heather began working on obedience, distractions, behavior, impulse control, resource guarding, and more boundaries over Zoom and in person. Her training was so successful we were able to fly back and forth with Indie on leash (4-6 months old) before she even began leash training because her foundation was SO strong thanks to Heather.When Indie hit 6 months she did a lodge and learn with Heather where she began leash training. We assumed she would learn the basics since she was only with her for 10 days. However, Indie was a different dog on leash when we picked her up. It was unbelievable. Prior to this, Indie would pull and walk all over the place, tripping us constantly. In the airport on the way back to LA, I didn't have to even use her e-collar once--just light prong collar pressure to lead her in the right direction. I was actually able to have her leash loose on my arm while holding a coffee...that would have been IMPOSSIBLE 10 days prior to her stay with Heather. The airport is a crazy place with many distractions (kids, food, crowds, etc) and she didn't break a heel ONCE. I was speechless and couldn't believe the progress she made in only 10 days.When we started working with Heather our main goal was to have a dog that we could both take anywhere but also leave home whenever we chose to...In essence, we wanted her to be trained to behave perfectly in every environment and happy to be in her crate at home, as well. Heather made that dream a reality. Indie flies across the country twice a month, comes on every vacation with us, sits through long dinners, goes grocery shopping with me, and is now playing in the park off leash at only 8 months. She holds an hour long place and walks into her crate every night when she's ready for bed.NONE of this would be possible without Heather's training of both Indie and us! It is a lot of work outside of training sessions but it is also incredibly rewarding and has bonded us deeply. Heather's expertise has enabled us to live our lives on our schedules with Indie by our side and we couldn't be more grateful for her. If you are considering hiring Heather to train your pup, I promise it is worth every penny.
Kayla DeWitt
Kayla DeWitt
15:14 19 Oct 22
100% would recommend Heather and Handful of Leashes! Our 3 year old Chocolate Lab was a terrible walker, jumped on everyone who entered our house and was just an all around crazy dog. After a few sessions she has become a great walker, has calmed down when people enter our home, and has become great at “place” command which has calmed her down significantly. I love how Heather comes to your home for the training so she can see how they are in their environment and the common behaviors. She is worth every penny!
Miriam Lerner
Miriam Lerner
18:35 01 Oct 22
Heather is the dog whisperer! She is professional and knowledgeableShe had our puppy literally eating out of her hand! She had practical and effective strategies for us to employ to encourage desirable behaviors while discouraging those issues that we were trying to eliminate. Highly recommend having a training session with her to address your concerns!
Brett Herman
Brett Herman
21:48 13 Sep 22
Heather, owner of handful of leashes provides absolutely impeccable service. Her ability to connect with her trainees and their humans is unmatched. Heather is an excellent listener and will ease your mind about the dog training process. Our dog Sadie came into our home in late January 2022. Heather was with us from the start, even before we brought Sadie into our home heather helped us to figure out how to make our resident dog comfortable during our transition from a one dog household to a two dog home.Heather was incredibly patient with me and thoughtfully and thoroughly answered all of my questions and eased my anxiety.Once Sadie came home we bought Heathers 4 session training package to help Sadie learn the basics of being a well kept house dog. That package led to 2 more 4 session training packages. Heather spent dozens of hours helping us to train Sadie. Without Heathers common sense approach to good dog behavior Sadie would not be the dog she is today.We have also utilized Heathers boarding offering at herFamily farm and we could not be happier with how well our Sadie is treated while at the farm. Heather is a wonderful dog trainer and even better person. I would highly recommend her services if you want your four legged family member to be well trained.
Ilana Brucker
Ilana Brucker
18:12 13 Sep 22
We had a great experience with private dog training sessions with Heather. We have a newborn baby and needed to redefine our relationship with our dog Ruby so she would listen better around our baby. Heather was patient and listened to our needs. She also explained why she was teaching us and ruby certain skills and commands. Since completing training I have had many family members comment on how better behaved Ruby is! She has also been so much better behaved around the baby! I would definitely recommend Heather/handful of leashes for dog training!
Dodi Klimoff
Dodi Klimoff
00:13 24 Apr 22
We thought we were experienced dog owners until we brought home a puppy!! Heather took us through a step by step process over 5 lessons that helped us put systems in place that brought peace to our home and made walking enjoyable. With her gentle manner and cheerful warmth, Heather taught us how to use positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior. We love Heather!Feb 2023 Update!! We hired Heather a second time to train us in using an e-collar. Our whole experience with Little Dipper has shifted. With Heather’s guidance Dipper is free to be his Shepherd self. He can run free and has shown excellent re-call. We are thrilled!
Ira Saft
Ira Saft
12:59 13 Jan 22
I was initially looking to have Maynard, my standard poodle not pull on walks, not rush to the door and have generally good house behavior. Maynard learned all of that and much more.Not only did Heather do a great job in training our puppy but also taught us how to think as the dog sees the world in order to understand why and how dogs learn and act.I would highly recommend Heather to anyone needing their dog trained. I will be using her in the future for additional training we may need.
Cecile Kandl
Cecile Kandl
11:12 23 Oct 21
Heather is amazing. On her first visit she organized the family so we could do the work that we needed to do with our 9-week old puppy, Honey. Heather addressed all of our concerns and gave us actionable suggestions to help Honey move forward with her growth and development. Finally, it is clear that Heather has a special way with animals. She loves them and they love her. I highly recommend Handful Of Leashes.
Kevin Osborne
Kevin Osborne
02:55 12 Oct 21
We adopted a rescued Rottweiler named Stella almost a year ago. She came with issues but was improving……...SLOWLY! Stella is intimidating, stubborn, and highly energetic. Since she is a Rottweiler she scares and intimidates most people. Her breed, vocalizations, alpha-like demeanor and energy level would make many shy away from her even though she is very sweet. She would try to intimidate (again, Alpha behavior) other dogs at the dog park and was “encouraged” to get training at the day care she goes to where she can release some energy. Heather was recommended to us and she very quickly helped us understand Stella and gave us strategies to use to help wrangle her feistiness into some structure and discipline. We learned that Stella is extremely bright and needs “work” to keep her engaged and productive. I mentioned to Heather on her first time here that she is more of a “dog owner trainer” than a dog trainer. In five weeks we have gotten Stella to the point that we think we can continue to help her progress without Heather’s assistance. I cannot recommend Heather highly enough. She is professional, friendly, and very conscientious with her work. I’d hire Heather in a second if we needed additional support going forward. Don’t hesitate to give Heather a call.
Morgan Fitzpatrick
Morgan Fitzpatrick
01:33 08 Sep 21
Heather absolutely changed our lives for the better! Ted is learning every day to be the best version of himself all thanks to Heather! In four sessions we have seen a total transformation of his door manners and walking etiquette. I would highly recommend Heather if you are looking to better improve your dogs life and yours!
Roseanne Sullivan
Roseanne Sullivan
13:08 07 Jun 21
Hi my name is Leo 🦮. I am writing to recommend my friend Heather. Heather is very patient with me even when I mess up. Sometimes I get a little rowdy but Heather always calms me down. I have learned how to be a good boy working with her. I think my mom and dad like her too because they always smile when she comes over.Biscuits and bully sticks ❤️Leo🐾
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