Lockport women beats challenges to train dogs
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal - 7/28/2019
Jul. 28--Lisa Priester has a lot to take on.
The 41-year-old Lockport resident who is confined to a wheelchair due to cerebral palsy, has been involved in two car accidents including one at age 18 when she was hit by a car while riding in her wheelchair and another in March which broke seven bones, including both her femurs.
"It's all good. God is keeping me around for a reason," Priester says, smiling.
Despite those challenges, she has taken on a new role which will require much from her, especially as she deals with her physical issues, but which could also help better the lives of both dogs and their owners.
Priester has been working to become a dog trainer for the past five years, most recently working with Stephen Phillips of Phillips Command Dogs in Olean.
"She came to me because she had problems with a dog she was trying to train for herself as a service dog," said Phillips when reached by phone. "I did the training for her as she observed and together we fixed the problem," he explained, noting that Priester has an extreme interest in dog training because of her own needs with her service dog.
Phillips, who has been working with dogs for 38 years, described it as a very hands-on occupation but noted that if Priester has an owner that's going to be hands on, she could coach people through obedience training.
"She a very enthusiastic learner," he said.
Priester is assisted by health care aides every day and one of them, Heather Case, marvels at Priester's outlook.
"With everything she's gone through since March, to be able to overcome that and still be able to have such an amazing outlook on everything and still have a smile on her face, no matter how much pain she's in, no matter how much discomfort she's in -- we still laugh all day, we still have a good time everyday," said Case, adding, "She perseveres in everything she's trying to do."
Lisa Priester says training her dogs helps keep her mind off her constant pain and life challenges.
She has recently opened a business called Daisy's Canine Commands and is hoping to gain clients who would like to have better behaved dogs. She said she keeps her prices low, about $25 a session, and will train dogs in her home or in the home of the dog owners.
The business is named after one of her dogs, Daisy, a golden retriever shepherd rescue Priester has trained, who will retrieve her wallet when she needs it and who demonstrated how much she likes to play hide and seek when Case -- helping with a demonstration -- hid the wallet on a kitchen counter and which the dog, waiting in the living room, promptly found and retrieved on command.
Her other dog, Farrah, a pit bull shepherd mix, also a rescue, is still being trained. Priester is working with Farrah to help her become a therapy dog "because she is more laid back and calm."
Meanwhile, Priester is looking for clients who might like their canine to be better behaved. Her motto is "Helping one dog at a time to be come the best it can be."
"I'm doing this for the dogs," she said.
To reach Lisa Priester at Daisy's Canine Commands, visit online at www.daisyscaninecommands.com.
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