Amalia and I have been together since around September 24th , when she was at the age of 7 weeks. I had the first pick of the litter of ten Rottweilers. I lived alone at the time and Amalia was and is the greatest companion. She goes everywhere with me. We used to spend our Saturday’s at Forest Park walking, playing and romping around.
Once we were near the lake at the Muny and she decided to chase the ducks that were in the lake, she snapped her retractable leash and before she knew it she was in the middle of the lake. The ducks flew off and Amalia freaked out because she realized she was in the middle of the lake. When I coaxed her back to the bank, boy did she stink!
One other time she and I were in Forest Park and I rented a rowboat. After I had rowed out to near the fountain Amalia decided she’s rather drink out of the lake instead of the water bowl I had on the floor of the boat. While she was leaning over to drink she fell in! Finally we both were in the boat and I was rowing us back to the dock. This happened to Amalia when she was about ten months old. Now she has swimming issues!
Amalia is a very willful girl and although she’s had some basic obedience training she still tries to do what she wants. She doesn’t bully, she manipulates! One day while Amalia was dragging me around PetsMart I ran into one of the workers. She said that Amalia was so pretty and friendly. I said I was hoping one day I could do Agility training with her but probably have to do an intermediate obedience class first. She told me that her dog was training to be a therapy dog at a place called LaBest in Edwardsville and that I might get Amalia some training there!
Amalia had been going to a place in Maryland Heights, Missouri called Happy Tails since she was about four or five months old, to socialize with other dogs and just have a good time. But when I got married in 2007 and moved to Maryville the 50 plus minute drive out there was a little too much. I was so excited to find a place out here that not only had daycare, but grooming and training as well! No more stopping once place for grooming, one for daycare and one for training! One stop that is only 10-12 minutes from my house!
I made an appointment to meet Deborah Walker so she could evaluate Amalia. I told her of my eventual goals of teaching Amalia agility and that one day would really like her to compete as well as just brushing us on some obedience skills as well. Amalia and Debbie hit if off immediately! I was amazed that Debbie had more control over Amalia then I had in nearly three years. We started training that next week! I took advantage of most of the coupons offered in the “Welcome Packet” and found the staff to be very friendly and accommodating. Amalia loves them all…especially Steve!
Amalia’s been training for a few months now and already she’s learned the basics as well as, tunnel, weave, table tire, the broad jump and the high jump! Amalia’s learning the obstacles faster than I’m learning how to tell her commands right! Debbie also taught me a lot about body language and how to take control of Amalia instead of having her control me! We think that Amalia should be ready for an agility trial by the end of November! This is way faster than I EVER thought!
Debbie said she’d be able to work on Amalia’s water issues also! They have a doggy pool at LaBest so I thought this would be a good opportunity for her. Amalia was a good girl before, but now, with more control that I’m getting over her, Amalia’s even better and more pleasurable companion! I’m so glad Amalia has a place to play, train and get cleaned up at, where the staff uses the same words, phrases and body language that I do so Amalia doesn’t get confused and so she has consistency and stability outside the home!
Thank you so much Debbie and the staff at LaBest! You seem to care about Amalia as much as I do!
Maureen Keller, Maryville, IL
Dear Deb and Staff,
We want to take this oppurtunity to thank you and your staff for the excellent care that you gave Cody from infancy to his last years of his life. Thank you for your care and concern and going beyond to care for him to the point of you guys carrying him outside since he was unable to walk himself.
My family and I will be eternally grateful.
Thanks again and God bless you and your staff.
Cody, Long-time client
We adopted Annie from Hope Rescues in June 2006. Annie was our very first pet, and naturally we were clueless when it came to training an animal and caring for her needs. After months in our family, Annie continued to chew and destroy furniture, clothes and shoes. Annie dug up most of our yard and even the neighbor’s yard. This was not only a major mental nightmare, but a huge financial responsibility as well. Annie also frequently urinated throughout the house. She became aggressive and possessive to us when other adults came to the house and she usually made herself physically ill if we were preparing to leave. We read books, followed free on-line guides on training a pet, and even attempted classes at large chain stores for animals with no success. We were very frustrated with Annie’s destructive behavior and she did not seem happy with our trial and error training methods.
We decided to enroll Annie and ourselves in the Puppy and Novice classes simultaneously at LaBest. In just six short weeks, we were amazed by our knowledge of dogs and proper health, nutrition and grooming techniques, but were especially surprised by the dramatic change in our lives and in the life of our pet. With Deborah Walker’s instruction, we fully succeeded in breaking Annie of her chewing and housebreaking problems, and we have truly become a happy family. We now enjoy inviting friends and family over with no fear about Annie’s reaction. Annie is extremely happy and healthy now and is truly the pet of our dreams.
Deborah Walker provided us with the knowledge to help our pet and ourselves. We are so amazed and impressed with the Puppy and Novice classes, Annie now attends daycare at LaBest and is a frequent customer of LaBest’s grooming shop. In six weeks, Annie went from being a nervous, insecure, destructible dog to being happy, confident, obedient and secure. Of similar importance, we went from being frustrated, confused pet owners to being filled with joy and looking forward to our time at home with Annie.
We appreciated and are so thankful to Deborah Walker and the entire LaBest staff for truly transforming our family and our pet Annie.
Sarah and Matt Banks
My dog Bear loves going to doggy day care we are also in dog training classes. He has improved by calming down more. A much more relaxed dog after daycare. He is Learning to separate from his mommy he doesn’t like me to leave him even from home. He is Learning to settle to not play rough with my cats. I also have been learning A lot to help him. Love the parties. Thanks LaBest
I board my dog at LaBest when we go out of town and the staff are friendly and really care about taking care of your dog. I just learned recently during one of my dogs first visits she didn’t really care for one of the girls, Hannah, so Hannah took the time to sit in the room with Bailey in the corner and built up a relationship with her where my dog now loves Hannah. Also I took my Girl Scout Troop to LaBest where they gave the girls a tour, showed us some agility training of one of their dogs-Merlin, helped them make pet toys, and let them play with some dogs. Also Debbie, the owner, took the time to come and talk to the girls about her life with dogs and the fact that she has been training dogs for 50 years, very impressive. She took time to get to know the girls and listen to their dreams of what they wanted to do when they grow up and gave them encouragement and made them feel that whatever they decide to do they will make a difference. Just a wonderful experience for the girls and it makes me know that I am making the very best decision to leave my pet in the hands of the LaBest when I am not at home. Big shout out to Debbie, Hannah, & Halle from Girl Scout Troop 68 and the The Empson Family and our dog Bailey!
Mary Ann E
In early November 2006, my 9 month old Golden Retriever, April, started limping on a back leg. After x-rays, we were faced with the diagnosis severe hip dysplasia and recommendation for orthopedic surgery. I got opinions from 3 different veterinarians before I agreed to submit April to surgery. The procedure is called a triple pelvic osteotomy. The pelvis is cut in three places and the hip is rebuilt using plates and screws. She had surgery on the first hip in November and then surgery again for the second hip in December.
On April 30, April visited her regular veterinarian. He palpated her hips and legs and said they feel “really good”. I told him about the therapy she was receiving at LaBest, and his comment on the recommendation section of his report was “Keep up the good work”. On May 21, April returned to her orthopedic surgeon for x-rays. He entered the room with a “thumbs up” sign. He told me that her hips and legs are “perfect!” It is nearly the end of May, If you come early to LaBest you might see April. She’s the happy Golden prancing into DayCare with her head and tail held high. She may be rumbling a little – she’s always calling for a friend to come play. April is a happy, healthy girl again.
Deborah Walker’s knowledge, caring, and professional treatment play a major role in turning April’s life around. I will always be grateful to her and all the staff of LaBest for their contribution to April’s recovery.
For 3 months she was almost totally inactive. She stayed in a crate indoors and only went outside for short trips, walking with a sling supporting her hips. I kept her as quiet as possible, using tranquilizers as needed. By mid-February she wasn’t in pain, but her almost total inactivity had caused her muscles to atrophy. By March I was taking her on walks on a short lead, but her leg muscles had become really puny. She had little strength in her legs and almost no endurance.
Before surgery, April was a regular at LaBest DayCare. In mid-March I met Deborah Walker in a local restaurant. She asked how April was and I recited my litany about how sad it was and how April’s legs had no muscle. Deborah listened and then said “Why don’t you bring her in and I’ll do deep tissue massage to stimulate her muscles.” I took April to Deborah and April began having regular massages. Next Deborah suggested that April come back to DayCare and be put out to play with dogs that “run but don’t wrestle.” April was back in DayCare.
Since that chance meeting in the restaurant in March, Deborah has cared for April, giving her deep tissue massage and providing safe exercise in DayCare. April’s recovery has been dramatic. Her leg muscles have become firm and are developing well. Best of all, she can run and jump and play again!
A Happy Client
Debbie and Hannah came to our house on March 16, 2017. They were so helpful with our dog Roscoe! We practice the behavior lessons every day; we are not perfect but we are doing better. I look forward to taking Roscoe to LaBest for more instruction. I definitely would recommend to anyone for them to go to LaBest Pet Resort!
Thank you so much for allowing our girl scout troop to come visit! We all had a great time and the girls really enjoyed learning more about the animals. At our last meeting, we completed pictures for a holiday card contest and every one of them drew a picture of LaBest.
P.S. We donated $40 to MEHS in your honor.
Mellissa Exkstrom, Shelley Hess and Troop 152
I would recommend that anyone that has a dog, with any time of structural issue, take their beloved pet into Labest Inc in Edwardsville IL to have Debbie Walker evaluate him or her. I have seen her do wonders with dogs that would barely move but after they are off the table, after a Deb Massage, they run around like puppies again!
I recently experienced this with one of my foster dogs. Patti, a Brittany mix, was fine and playful one moment and then, out of the blue, she was crying in pain. I couldn’t figure out what had happened as I did not see her hurt herself. When she would not jump in my car I took her to Debbie for her to look Patti over. Debbie evalauated her and ran her hands down her body carefully, slowly, and methodically. After feeling her over Debbie figured out where Patti’s main discomfort was coming from. After working on those areas, the hips and one side in peticular, Patti felt much better. She still was hesitant to jump in the car, and I wasn’t going to let her anyway, but she was no loner crying in pain and you could tell she was feeling much better.
The next day I took her in for another massage. She quicky showed us all the signs of feeling goos as when she got off the table she ran to the room where I was at and jumped up on a baby gate to see me. Of course, I discouraged her from jumping but she was back to herself in just two sessions. Debbie does great things with those hands of hers! She is also an awesome trainer as when we got Patti we were told that she is dog aggressive. Debbie worked with her on those issues and she has gotten much better. Her training was cut short due to heartworm treatment but she does much better and even plays with my male dogs. She has to be watched with the female dogs but now that she is on “bed rest” we haven’t worked with her on that but, I have no doubt that if we continued with Debbie working with me and Patti, that Pattie would soon be trusted with my entire pack.
Denise Sparrow, St. Louis, MO