Chris Michalak has been involved with dogs her entire life – from confirmation shows in her early childhood (where she was a Junior Handler for Siberian Huskies) to her first Hungarian Vizsla, ‘Charlie’ that she purchased and imported from England at the age of twelve. She and Charlie went on to earn Canadian and American championships in confirmation, novice obedience, and field trials.
Flash forward many years and many dogs later, and Chris Michalak is noted in breed rescue circles for working with ‘hard to home’ dogs, specializing in canine behaviour and rehabilitation. As the owner of a motley pack of animals (including a few formerly ‘unadoptable’ dogs) she and her crew have earned numerous titles and certifications, such as attaining Canine Good Neighbour certifications on previously aggressive dogs. Together, Chris and her animals enjoy a positive working relationship and participate in various dog sports, including scent detection, tracking, formal obedience, Rally-O, agility, and dock diving.
In her career as a Municipal Enforcement Officer, Chris frequently works in Animal Control where she informs and educates the public, works with found pets, and performs the occasional animal rescue. She is also a falconer and licensed in Wildlife Rehabilitation, specializing in birds of prey.
Chris was originally attracted to Sweet Charity as a way to promote therapy and service dogs and give shelter pets a second chance. Chris has long known the therapeutic value of companion animals, and her own family situation is testament to that. In a family where human members have significant special needs, the dogs (and one very special cat) provide physical and psychological support on a daily basis.
As a member of the Canadian Kennel Club and CGN evaluator, Chris is committed to ongoing professional development and takes many courses on canine behaviour and animal care.
A selection of courses and workshops that she has taken include:
- Livestock Evaluation
- Wildlife Rehabilitation certification
- Beyond Basic Wildlife Skills
- AMCTO, The Municipal Experts: Dangerous dogs/D.O.L.A seminar
- Dog to Dog Aggression Seminar
- CGN Evaluator, Canadian Kennel Club
- Livestock Emergency Response Course
- Canine First Aid, CPR
- Canine Emotional Intelligence
- Care and Management of Captive Raptors
- Animal Services
- Canine Workshops
- Ongoing training classes and seminars for her own pets, including: trick classes, tracking, scent discrimination, various levels of formal obedience, agility, dock diving, barn hunts and Rally-O