My name is Susanne Shaw and I am the trainer and owner of K9 Etiquette.  I discovered my love of animals at the age of six. It all began when I joined a horseback riding camp in 1990. I was hooked, and the rest of my childhood was spent hanging around the barn, taming stray cats and rehabilitating abused horses.

For many years I watched the animals and studied the interaction between the horses and their owners.  By the age of nine I had decided that I wanted to become a veterinarian so that I could spend my life helping animals.

In 2001 I got my first job at a Kennel/Veterinary Clinic and in 2002 I went to the University of Massachusetts Amherst to obtain my Bachelor Degree in Animal Science with a focus on veterinary medicine. Meanwhile, I continued working as a veterinary technician.  I also began an “in home” pet sitting company in 2004 which allows animals to stay in their own environment, hopefully decreasing the stress caused by their family leaving.

While working at the hospital and pet sitting I notice one thing. I had a strong connection with animals and could really understand them.  By reading the signals that they gave me I noticed I could make the animals comfortable and establish a trusting bond with them.  I realized that maybe the veterinary field was not my calling.  I decided to change my career path and instead I would become involved in animal behavior. Asa result after graduating from Umass with my BS in Pre-Veterinary Animal Science I enrolled in the Animal Behavior College and obtained my certification as an obedience instructor.  I received my Certified Pet Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed Certification in October 2013

Each day I live my life through the eyes of all animals. I am their voice. I feel I am on this earth to ensure that their existence is healthy and happy.

My Inspirations

Two animals in particular inspired me. The first was a horse named Mikey. The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals removed Mikey from his neglectful owner, and placed him with my trainer.  Due to extreme malnutrition his muscles were atrophied, every rib was visible, his hips stuck out unusually far, and the sides of his neck caved inward.  His appearance was unbearable, but it was his soul that suffered the most.  His eyes were empty, and contained no spirit.  I could imagine his hatred for humans.  I was determined to become at least one person in his life he could trust.After several months of special feeds, medicine, and rehabilitation, Mikey’s physical appearance improved drastically, but he always remained weary of human interaction, which was difficult for some to comprehend.  Yet Mikey made me understand with his increasing ability to tell me what he needed.  He spoke to me through his actions and his eyes, eyes that were beginning to show signs of life again.  He taught me to listen to each animal’s individual wants and needs in order to build a compassionate, respectful bond of love and kindness.  Mikey gave me the passion, desire, and the patience I need to have, not only be able to understand animals, but to be a teacher and a friend.

During high school I met my second inspiration, a dog named Codie. He was an adorable German Shepherd mix. The moment I saw him, I bent down to hug him and ask for kisses.  Shocked faces surrounded me as he slobbered all over me.  I was told “Codie never kisses anyone”. Codie and I found ourselves beginning an astonishing relationship that would forever influence my future. Over the next few months, Codie reminded me of what was important in life.  He could see immediately the connection I had with animals. The one thing that Codie showed me, that Mikey had not, is that animals could understand me as well as I understood them.  Realizing this, I became even more determined to make my dreams of helping animals a reality.  Codie and Mikey have both passed on now but they are my true inspirations for working with animals.