Leashes & Leads would like to thank, long-time customer, Sandy Soltis for the following testimonial…

The Importance of Dog Training

Hudson’s Story

My husband’s brother, Ron, acquired Hudson, a golden doodle, as a puppy in the summer of 2014 after he had retired from his medical career at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Hudson was a beloved, cute, and lively companion for Ron. However, in the fall of 2015, Ron had a stroke, was hospitalized, and had to go to an assisted living facility for an extended period of time. Hudson was about 16 months old at the time and never had any puppy or dog training.

During Ron’s hospitalization, Frank and I proposed to him that we take Hudson back with us to Rochester and to Leashes & Leads for extensive training so that Hudson could live with Ron at the assisted living center. The center would not accept Hudson otherwise.

We met with Tracy and Tekla at Leashes & Leads to discuss having Hudson boarded at L&L while he got the intensive training. We wanted to have Hudson boarded for the duration of the extensive training for however long it would take. The goal was to have Hudson trained as an emotional support dog that could live with Ron at the assisted living facility. Tracy and Tekla worked together to create a detailed plan to have Hudson trained and boarded at Leahes & Leads. Tekla supervised the training, and the entire staff at L&L cared for Hudson, as they do for all the dogs boarded there.

When we drove up to Ron’s house in St. Paul, unannounced, to get Hudson, we found Hudson sitting outside, with no water, no food, and the door to the house open. Hudson was supposed to have been cared for by someone who had agreed to do so and who was being paid very well for that commitment. We immediately “dognapped” him and took him to Rochester to Leashes & Leads. There was no question as to what we were going to do.

Hudson began his intensive training in October 2015, after a nice bath and haircut. Tekla and the staff really worked with Hudson! Each time we visited him, we saw that he was learning a lot. The staff trained Hudson to walk alongside a walker, and alongside people who were using crutches or canes in addition to the standard training expectations. They also taught him “manners”. It was obvious that the Leashes & Leads staff had fallen in love with that big furry puppy!

In late November, we took Hudson to visit Ron at the assisted living center and to show the staff how well behaved and well trained Hudson was. Ron walked with a walker, with Hudson by his side. Both of them navigated through halls and the cafeteria and amongst many of the residents in the facility. The manager of the assisted living center wanted to take Hudson by herself and walk with him in other areas of the facility. When she returned to us, she expressed her amazement at Hudson’s skills and intelligence. She asked WHERE did we get him trained so well! Hudson, obviously, was accepted into the facility. During Ron’s stay at the assisted living facility, other residents also enjoyed Hudson’s company, and they would stop by to talk “dogs” ¬†with Ron and to pet Hudson. Hudson was a “daybrightener” for many of the residents.

By May 2016, Ron was able to leave the facility, but he couldn’t return to his home. So, he leased a penthouse apartment in downtown Minneapolis where he and Hudson would live. Ron hired a dog walker to walk Hudson a couple of times a day. Ron’s friends would come to visit the two of them. Hudson was the center of attention.

However, in April 2017, Ron’s condition dramatically deteriorated and was admitted to the ICU at HCMC where he died on the last day of April. Hudson was by his side when Ron died. Hudson was not able to attend Ron’s funeral at Fort Snelling.

Prior to Ron’s death, we had committed to purchasing a two year-0ld British lab, Vienna; our two beloved American Field Labs had died earlier that year. Our home was very quiet and we were sad. There were several people who would have taken Hudson including our two sons and their families, but we decided that Hudson belonged with us and were sure that Hudson and Vienna would become good friends.

To ease the anxiety of both dogs – getting to know new people and a new home – we took Hudson straight to Leashes & Leads because he knew the environment and people there. Then, we took Vienna to Leashes & Leads for the same reason, and we took Hudson to his new and permanent home. When Vienna and Hudson met, they were very comfortable with one another. Later, we took both Vienna and Hudson to Leashes & Leads to be boarded while they received training together. It was relatively easy for Hudson to sharpen his skills given his earlier training, but Vienna had not received any training so she presented more of a challenge. Morgan and Tekla worked with Vienna and then with both the dogs together. We also were being trained alongside the two dogs. I think the dogs learned more quickly than we did!

Hudson and Vienna get along fantastically well. They bonded almost immediately given that both were “thrust” into a totally new environment. Hudson’s success story would never have occurred without the extensive training, love and care by the staff at Leashes & Leads. Vienna, also, has made human friends at Leashes & Leads. Both dogs love going to L&L for boarding, day care, or grooming.

Sandy Soltis

Click here to learn more about training your dog at Leashes & Leads.