Veteran founder, Katie, grew up on a dairy farm in upstate New York. Her grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles all fostered her love and respect for all animals, from the dairy cows who provided for the family to the wild bunnies needing a little help to survive. Her inspiration came from many!
How she became a "Teacher of Dogs" is truly fascinating. Her grandmother and mother were both special education teachers for severely handicapped children, the family dog always a golden retriever (surprise!), and, with her grandmother's house across from the school, Katie spent many of her childhood days with these very special children.
What came next was not planned; it was purely natural. Katie trained her dogs to be well mannered and would take them to visit the children. She would take their spastic, clenched hands, and encourage them to open gently and feel the velvet soft fur. They would squeal in excitement, showing joy and love through that touch with the dog. Katie even trained one of her dogs to heel ahead and to stop at doors like a seeing eye-dog so that a girl with no vision could walk, holding the harness and experiencing what she dreamed of having one day; her very own Guide Dog. We hope her dream in now a reality.
Katie started her career at a commercial pet store. She quickly excelled with teaching friendly dogs basic obedience and fun tricks. But time and time again, she found herself having to refer more challenging dogs to independent trainers that could handle more than the basics. Katie's lifetime goal was to be able to help all dogs.
In 2016 Katie graduated class Valedictorian from Highland Canine School for Dog Trainers. This education was the key to helping all dogs. In school, she was awarded for her success in the service dog program and invited to complete an additional 3 month internship, further developing her experience. After completion, she attended Bergin University of Canine Studies and graduated with a Masters of Science in Canine Life Sciences, 2018.
Katie learns something new each day from each of the dogs she works with. She says they never cease to amaze her, from their incredible sense of smell tracking lost children to their natural ability to heal the human soul.
Kate Murphy, Trainer
Kate is an Asheville native that has had a passion for dogs since she was a child. As she grew up, this passion matured and began to develop into a desire to better understand dogs, their behavior, and the wisdom they have to share.
This drive is what lead her to complete the Master Dog Training Program at Highland Canine Training, LLC. At school, Kate excelled in teaching dogs obedience commands, working with dogs undergoing behavior modification, also police K9's and service dogs. Working with dogs of varying ages, sizes, breeds and temperaments has really helped her understanding and communicating with all dogs.
Kate enjoys giving back to the community by training therapy dogs and service dogs. She regularly takes therapy dogs and service dogs on highly specialized outings to nursing homes, care facilities, and public facilities. Kate has also worked with shelter dogs completing the Board and Train programs so that they can find their fur-ever family.
Kate's mission in life is to share her knowledge and expertise, helping to strengthen the bond between human and dog.
Megan Thrasher, Lead Kennel Technician
Megan has had a love of animals, especially dogs, ever since she can remember. She grew up on a cattle farm in VA, raising everything she could convince her family to let her get. She remembers childhoods full of summers spent in the backyard with her farm dogs. She built obstacle courses out of buckets and other barnyard equipment and spent hours trying to train them based on pure instinct, one of Cesar Milan’s books, and luck. They happened to be Border collies, and more than enthusiastic for some learning, which helped her confidence tremendously.
As the years progressed, she became a resource for friends and family for various questions about their dogs, which she loved answering or seeking the answers. The idea of becoming a dog trainer took root. The true turning point, though, was when she got her own dogs. Her interest in training quickly developed from something she did as a fun side hobby, to genuine interest and motivation to plan the next steps in accomplishing that.
Her motivation comes from the dogs. Partly, because she’s now owned by 2 cattle dogs who have made it a necessity; but mainly because she thinks it’s inspiring to have a part in teaching them to like to learn, gain confidence, & truly thrive.