MEET YOUR TEAM
ERIKA LESSA, dipCBST
AABP Certified Dog Behavior Technologist (CDBT)
IAABC Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC)
CCPDT Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA)
Role: Team Lead and Behavior Change Technologist
Erika’s path to working with dogs unknowingly began 18 years ago when she adopted a dog with developing aggression issues. In the course of his rehabilitation she was introduced to the world of dog behavior. Her education came by way of hands on experience, multiple apprenticeships, and self-education. She most recently received her diploma in Canine Behavior Science & Technology from the Companion Animal Science Institute requiring approximately 500 course hours. She also holds her Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) from the IAABC, CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer Knowledge Assessed) with CCPDT, and is Fear-Free Certified. She is also a member of the Pet Professional Guild and the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. She has been published in the IAABC Journal as well as local publications, developed and co-presented webinars, workshops, and programs on canine social interactions. Erika has worked with many shelters and rescues on staff education, adoption transition support for difficult-to-adopt and marginal dogs, and behavior assessments. Currently, She is currently living with 3 rescue dogs of her own.
CTC The Academy for Dog Trainers
CCPDT Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA)
Role: Life Skills and Manners Coach & Behavior Apprentice
Sam found her way to working with dogs via a 10-year stint as an Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Therapist. After adopting a dog with aggression issues, she realized the skills she'd learned throughout her career could be modified to help train dogs. To facilitate the change of clientele, she enrolled in The Academy for Dog Trainers, where she gained a more in-depth understanding of dog behavior and learning theory. She was awarded her Certificate in Training and Counseling (CTC) upon completion of the program and earned her CPDT-KA while mentoring under Erika. Currently, she lives with her husband and their two rescue dogs and cat - the Three M-migos.
Roles: Trainer, Shelter & Rescue Liaison
Melissa is a grad of Animal Behavior College and has been professionally training dogs for 15 years. With a love for education, she's often putting time into learning everything she can about training and behavior.
She loves helping animals any way she can, and so she has been a proud volunteer at Save One Soul Animal Rescue League for the last 6 years.
In her spare time, she can be found in the woods with her mutt, Duffy. She loves karaoke and bright colors, and can't cook to save her life (LOL).
Role: Training and Behavior Apprentice
Jocelyn’s love for training began shortly after becoming a volunteer at Save One Soul Animal Rescue League. She worked with Melissa Kroll getting as many hours as she could either in classes or private training sessions.
She then decided to expand her knowledge and is currently enrolled in Jean Donaldson’s The Academy for Dog Trainers and is on target to graduate in August of 2023.
She volunteers as an Adoption Counselor and Training Coordinator for SOS. In her free time, she loves spending time with her dogs, camping, going to the beach, ice cream, and anything summer!
Role: Guardian of our Social Media Galaxy
Lauren is a content marketing and social media professional with over 8 years of experience. During her career, she has created and owned social media strategies and held a number of copywriting and marketing positions for companies both big and small including Philips Lighting and Montreal startup, Plotly. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Northeastern University.
After growing up with dachshunds (she's a self-proclaimed crazy wiener dog lady!), she and her husband adopted a dog, Oliver, in 2016 from Save One Soul Animal Rescue League. Last year, she began volunteering with Save One Soul to help with their retail store's social media and external communications—combining her passion for dogs and marketing. She's excited to continue this passion with Cooperation Canine!
She lives in Cumberland, RI with her husband, her daughter Olivia, and their fur baby, Oliver. Yup! Oliver and Olivia.
NOTE: Lauren owns her own social media marketing company and is available to help other small businesses with their goals in the ever changing digital landscape. Her email is email@example.com.
I CAN ONLY PROMISE THIS.
With us they will be safe. A dog will never fear me or a member of this team. They may be afraid but in my hands they will know nothing but patience, kindness, and guidance. That applies to their caregivers as well. I have been on the other side - holding the leash of an aggressive dog that I did not understand, that made me cry - and I know how overwhelming it is to try and find help. I will use every skill, every ounce of knowledge I have gained to support each being in the process.
What I have learned is behavior change is not about forcing an animal into situations that are based on unreal expectation. It is about helping that dog and family learn to work with the environment, restore choice, and reinforce different responses. I practice evidence-based training methodologies to address the underlying causal relationship between environment and behavior. No dog should ever be intimidated for communicating their feelings.
Dogs teach me everyday and I am willing to learn. I promise to watch and listen intently. I believe in empowerment, confidence and joy. I believe in honoring a dog’s superpowers while respecting their limits – momentary or not. I am committed to teaching people and dogs how to navigate the world they share through education and communication, empathy and compassion; Here to help people understand the vital connection between human and animal and love their dogs for who they truly are.
- With gratitiude and love,