Our Trainers

Marilyn Peterson, CPDT-KA

Marilyn spent most of her childhood collecting and rehabbing animals, attempting to run a wildlife sanctuary from the garage of her family’s suburban home, and has always shared her life with dogs and horses.

Her shelter experience spans animal care, intake, adoptions, foster care, dog playgroups, behavior, evaluations, behavior modification, and training. The many pets she meets at the shelter teach and inspire her.

After training dogs and teaching people positive, rewards-based techniques for several years, Marilyn acquired her CPDT-KA certification in 2017. Marilyn continues to study all aspects of behavior and training, and takes classes with her WHS shelter alumni, Reggie. She is a member of APDT, PPG, and a shelter affiliate member of IAABC. She has served as the shelter’s Behavior and Training Manager since the summer of 2020.

Nichole Myers-Youngquist, CPDT-KA

Nichole’s career in dog training began in grade school when her dad wanted to train their Brittany Spaniel to hunt.  Even back then she and her dad used positive training methods without realizing it.  Nichole earned her CPDT-KA in 2018.

Dog training wasn’t her first vocation.  She obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Southern Oregon University and started an exciting career in the broadcast media industry.  Working at Portland, Oregon radio stations and KOIN-TV honed her customer service and public speaking skills.

Attending many obedience classes and participating in agility with her English Pointer made her realize how much she enjoyed dog training.  She obtained her dog training certification from Animal Behavior College where she graduated with honors.  She worked as a training assistant at Wonder Dogs in Philomath, Oregon as well as volunteered as a dog walker and Canine Adoptions Specialist at the Willamette Humane Society.

Nichole has worn several hats at the shelter from Adoptions Specialist to Animal Welfare Specialist.  Getting the position a Public Training Instructor is a dream come true. She loves to share her passion for dogs and training with everyone!

Nichole lives in Salem, Oregon with her supportive husband and their dog family of three, which includes two Cocker Spaniel/Poodle mixes and an American Eskimo mix.  Hiking, traveling, and binge watching TV shows are their favorite activities.

Jessi Henry, CPDT-KA

Jessi has been serving people and pets through her varied career at Willamette Humane Society for over 13 years. She is dedicated to humane training methods and has a particular passion for shelter playgroups.

She earned the Certified Professional Dog Trainer Knowledge-Assessed certificate in fall 2015. In 2018, she started working as a Professional Behavior Responder for the ASPCA’s Anti Cruelty Behavior Response Team. She is the proud mom of two little humans and three dogs.

We value the work she does with our shelter dogs! Jessi provides services to WHS pets only and is not an instructor for public services.

Skylar Morelos

Skylar started his career working with animals as an animal care technician in the shelter environment. After working in shelters for several years, he became the Shelter Enrichment Coordinator, running playgroups, training new staff and volunteers on dog behavior and body language. In his role, he also gained experience teaching obedience classes, and providing daily enrichment to the shelter dogs. He then made a move into a full-time training position where he worked with dogs and their owners on how to provide support in moments of high arousal, reactivity, or fearfulness. Skylar’s focus has been providing adopted shelter dogs and adopters support and resources, facilitating successful transitions from the shelter to new homes and communities. Skylar is passionate about helping dog owners acquire the skills to grow together as a team with their pets using enrichment games and positive reinforcement training. He joined the WHS team in 2020.