Catherine Comden, CPDT-KA
Named “the dog lady” by pre-teen peers, Catherine convinced her parents that raising a puppy for Guide Dogs for the Blind was a great way to get a short-term doggie fix. But, when that puppy became a working guide and Catherine watched him lead his blind partner, a passion was ignited that still burns brightly many decades later.
Catherine became a California-licensed veterinary technician and then finished a BA in Psychology while doing undergraduate research on the human-canine bond at the University of Montana. She was recruited by the Purdue University Veterinary Teaching Hospital to develop the ABC Puppy School, to assist during canine and feline behavior consultations and to help create and instruct the Purdue DOGS! Behavior Modification course for veterinary staff.
A homeschooling educator, Catherine designed the Sensible Pet Sitter workshop to educate teens to begin their own pet sitting businesses with a solid foundation in animal care, first aid, business skills, and money management. This course fills up quickly each time it is offered during the summer months at Willamette Humane Society.
Catherine is an adjunct faculty member at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon and designed and instructs the state’s only community college level professional dog trainer certification preparation program at Willamette Humane Society each spring and fall.
Current as a Certified Professional Dog Trainer –KA, Catherine particularly relishes enhancing the partnerships that all people can have with their dogs and has enjoyed helping teams succeed in competitive obedience, agility, search and rescue, therapy work, and as accessibility partners. She has experience handling and training horses, cats, goats, birds and small furry creatures of various kinds.
Catherine is thrilled to be on staff at Willamette Humane Society as Behavior Program Manager, teaching several classes and mentoring other trainers.
Chelsea Rock, CPDT-KA
Chelsea’s passion for animals was present from the get-go. She helped take care of family and friends’ pets and livestock throughout her youth, played a key role in raising and training field setters with her family, assisted in breed rescue, and of course, had a horse crazy streak as well. She later worked as a laboratory technician for a small veterinary business and as a veterinary technician for a large mixed animal practice.
She earned her BS in Zoology from Oregon State University. There, she studied a broad range of courses, from genetics to ethology. Continuing her academic career at Willamette University College of Law, Chelsea graduated with a Doctorate of Jurisprudence in 2014. She is an avid learner and plans to her Masters in an animal behavior field; in the meantime, she reads and watches all she can!
Chelsea attributes her growth as a trainer, values, and interest in force free training to her heart dog, Champ. With him, they explored the world of marker training and its applications to both fun stuff (like tricks) and to serious stuff (like fear-based aggression with handling and leash reactivity). While in school, she honed her skills at the Willamette Humane Society, walking dogs and helping the Behavior and Training Team in her free time.
Chelsea loves making learning fun for both ends of the leash and is committed to using effective rewards-based methods, with a special interest in marker training. She earned her CPDT-KA in 2016 and is a member of APDT.
In her spare time, Chelsea enjoys life with setters, family, and friends, and has a variety of pastimes, including hiking, horseback riding, trivia & game nights, gardening, cooking, baking, reading, wine tasting, and painting.
Jessi Keller, CPDT-KA
Jessi has been serving people and pets through her varied career at Willamette Humane Society for over 11 years. She is dedicated to humane training methods and has a particular passion for public and shelter dog playgrounds.
She earned the Certified Professional Dog Trainer Knowledge-Assessed certificate in Fall 2015. She is the proud mom of a little human, four dogs and one cat!