Top Trainer Evelyn Gregory Has Tough Exterior, Tender Heart
by Mickey Rogers
Having behavioral problems with your dog? Listen to Canine Behavior Specialist Evelyn Gregory’s outgoing phone message and you’ll hear: “If your getting this message, it probably means I’m off doing ‘doggie things’ or possibly out saving the world... canine that is... If you have a problem with your four-legged best friend, hopefully I can help solve your dilemma. It’s probably much easier than you think. Don’t give up!”
There’s a lot of truth in that message. Gregory has been saving the canine world for over 30 years - ten of which have been spent working with the Santa Fe Animal Shelter and Humane Society as their Canine Behavior Specialist. She works there about three and a half days a week, but she is on call continuously as their “Canine Hotline” to answer behavioral questions on behalf of the shelter. Gregory admits that handling the hotline can be a tough job because “some people know no boundaries. They call at all hours of the night”. Preferred hours are 8:00-10:00 pm. “My pet peeve is when people call when I’m not there, but don’t leave a message.” Gregory said.
“I do behavioral counseling and problem-solving to help people deal with their dogs’ problems so they don’t end up in the shelter. My philosophy is positive reinforcement.”
The self-deprecating Gregory comments wryly: “A lot of it is just common sense. I had one woman call and ask me how she could keep her dog from peeing on her bed when she went to work. I told her “Why don’t you just close the bedroom door?” She said “I never thought of that!”
Gregory has a direct, no-nonsense approach which gives one the impression that she is “one tough cookie”. But get to know her and you’ll find that the cookie has a marshmallow interior when it comes to saving dogs.
Originally from North Carolina, Gregory spent 25 years in El Paso, Texas, before moving to Santa Fe and ending up in Galisteo. She also works with Elizabeth Moorhead of Basset Hound Rescue of New Mexico, and currently has eight bassets of her own, all adoptees or rescue dogs. The youngest, Pansy-Pearl, was given to her by some breeders to board while their bulldog puppy recovered from a bout of kennel cough. They ran up a sizable bill before deciding they didn’t want the dog back. After settling the bill, they asked Evelyn to keep the dog.
Gregory calls Honey, the “Bagel” (a Basset Hound/Beagle mix), who sports a pin in her leg, her “$10,000 dog”. Gregory recounted how the dog had been been hit by a car and taken to the Emergency Veterinary Clinic with a broken leg. A retired local artist bailed her out, and later offered Gregory $10,000 to adopt her because she was fighting with the artist’s other female dog.
But according to Ms. Gregory, her “Million Dollar dog” and the best dog she’s ever had is Roscoe, a Lab/Heeler/Border Collie mix she got from the shelter . “He’s the love of my life , the smartest and easiest to live with. I wouldn’t trade him for a million dollars.”
Gregory describes Florrie, another shelter-rescue dog, as “old and cranky like me.” This dog also has a case of OCD: obsessive-compulsive disorder, when it comes to barking. Even though it annoys Gregory, she’s made a commitment to the dog. “She’ll live out her life here with me.”
Gregory offers private in-home dog training and conducts group classes at the Depot at the Eldorado Community Center along with Suzanne Fuqua. Classes for February and March include “How Not to Get Bitten by a Dog” and “Management Techniques for Dog Owners” (see box for dates and times.) Fuqua and Gregory are members of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, and both are certified through them.
According to Gregory, becoming an APDT Certified Instructor is a challenging designation which requires “a big ole’ hairy test”, over 300 hours of classroom teaching, and three referrals. Gregory got hers from her vet, a client, and Kate Rindy, former director of the SF Humane Society and Animal Shelter. In addition, instructors must maintain 36 Continuing Education Units every three years.
Gregory is also a member of the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She works with private individuals and their dogs in their homes. Some of her clients love her so much, that in many cases, they become friends forever. She’s been invited along on three trips to Europe. “The whole point of everything I do, is to teach people to train their dogs so they become part of the family . . . so they won’t end up on the end of a chain as a lawn ornament, or they give them up to the shelter.”
Have questions about your dog? Call 505-466-6704 , the number for the Canine Hotline, and talk to Evelyn Gregory, one of Santa Fe’s premier dog training experts about it. And if she’s not there, please leave a message!Group Dog Obedience Classes at the Depot, Eldorado Community Center:
April 12 from 7:00- 8:30 pm: “Management Techniques for Dog Owners.”
March 22 from 7:00- 8:30 pm: “How Not to Get Bitten by a Dog.”
May 10 from 7:00- 8:30 pm: “Management Techniques for Dog Owners”
Mickey Rogers is an award-winning writer and the owner of Pet Suites Boarding Facility and Critter Sitters Home and Petsitting Services.
A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself. - Josh Billings
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