Melissa Schroeder - Trainer EXTRAORDINAIRE

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Melissa has been a service dog trainer for over 13 years specializing in guide dog mobility. She has also been a Program Director at Big Brothers Big Sisters of West Central Ohio for 8 years where she was honored with an award in 2019 for “Outstanding Service to Children”. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and another Bachelor's degree in Zoology. While in college earning her degrees, she worked her summers on a remote glacier in Alaska as a sled dog handler learning about pack behavior. The summer she graduated college she was offered a job as a guide dog trainer at Leader Dogs for the Blind where she underwent a three year apprenticeship and earned her certification as a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor. Upon completing her apprenticeship, Melissa was offered a very exclusive job as a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor at Guide Dogs of the UK in England where she worked for a year before deciding to return to the States to be closer to family. Upon returning to the States, Melissa realized the lack of opportunities children who are blind had to receive service dogs and started her Lodestar Program in 2010. Lodestar is only one of about three programs in the entire United States that places service dogs with children who are blind and visually impaired. In addition to training service dogs, Melissa has also been teaching obedience classes and doing in home behavioral training for over 8 years for pet dogs. She is affectionately known as "the dog lady" in her home town of Ottawa, Ohio.  When not training dogs, Melissa loves spending time with her husband, two daughters, and dogs.