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Many years back, Oklahoma native Barbara Lewis acquired a Cairn Terrier to help fill her “empty nest.” Attending training classes for her new dog, she enjoyed the process and began reading voraciously about dog training while attending workshops, seminars and conferences.
She gravitated from obedience competition to volunteering as a therapy dog handler. After a move to a rural home, she founded the Listen Up Pup Canine Training Center, training dogs and conducting training classes. She later accepted a position with a national agency placing service dogs in Oklahoma.
In 2004 she helped start a dog training program at an Oklahoma correctional facility, taking dogs from rescue groups and shelters. The program still teaches class once a week at the correctional facility, and the dogs graduate after ten weeks. The dogs are then matched with a client-owner.
In 2006 she and her group filed for and received nonprofit status for A New Leash on Life, based in Norman, Okla., adding therapy dog and service dog training to their programs. By providing training for these dogs, A New Leash on Life helps Oklahomans with a variety of disabilities and other needs live richer, fuller lives.
Barbara is certified through the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors (NADOI), the nation's oldest certifying organization for dog training instructors.
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