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John Gagnon

John Gagnon may be one of the most recognized and talented dog trainers in the country, but he has never allowed his success to get in the way of his greatest passion: working with rescue dogs.

John started his career saving dogs from euthanasia at local pounds and placing them in loving homes. As time went on, he noticed a profoundly unaddressed problem in dog rescue: families were giving up their rescued pet due to behavioral problems that could be easily managed with the proper training. John had an innate ability to evaluate dog and human miscommunications and propose pragmatic solutions that would improve the quality of life for dogs and dog owners alike.

John discovered that training people to be better dog owners would become his legacy in the world of dog rescue and became a full-time trainer in 1994.

The Pet Resort

By 2003, John opened his state of the art Pet Resort in Colchester, CT with over 10,000 square feet of space dedicated to training, daycare, grooming, and boarding. The Pet Resort is a centralized hub of rescue activity and a sanctuary for rescue dogs that may require significant levels of training and structure.

Espoused by his remarkable wife Sherri, the Gagnons have assisted with over 175 PAWS cases over the last four years.

John's first act of heroism towards PAWS occurred in 2008 when we had no place to put two pit bulls who were being evicted from their foster home with 10 hours notice. John graciously offered to board both dogs at the Pet Resort for no charge while alternative arrangements could be worked out. A friendship blossomed into a powerful partnership and many PAWS dogs have benefited from the outstanding resources afforded to them through the Pet Resort.

Working with the Tough Cases

John and his staff are strong proponents that all dogs deserve a fair chance and that the stressful shelter environment can elicit negative behavioral responses not necessarily characteristic of the dog. Animals who visit the Pet Resort seem to instinctively know that they will be treated with compassion, understanding, and consistency.

PAWS has sent the staff at the Pet Resort numerous canines labeled as "dog aggressive" or "completely un-trainable." We always laugh when we receive photos and videos a few weeks later of the "aggressive" dog playing happily in the playard with canine friends or the "un-trainable" dog mastering a complicated agility course.

None of this would be possible without the help of manager and PAWS foster Mom Jo-Ann Dooley, daycare supervisor and trainer Tom Sears, receptionist and coordinator of all things PAWS Jessica Guilbeault and the rest of the Pet Resort family.

PAWS & the Gagnons

The Gagnons are heroes in the rescue world.

From planning and hosting one of the largest adoption events in New England to working with special needs rescue cases to offering to drive throughout New England to provide in-home training for struggling families, John and Sherri embody selflessness and compassion. PAWS was recently honored when the Gagnons decided to adopt PAWS alumni Katie (pictured in the photo with John) and Fletcher.

We can not think of a more perfect home and simply can not begin to thank the Gagnons enough for their partnership and guidance over the last four years. We know this continued partnership will save hundreds more in the upcoming years.

Learn more at John Gagnon's Pet Resort.