Featured Paws: Cynthia Andresen & Branwen

Featured Paws: Cynthia Andresen & Branwen

Sep 7th 2021

J&J Dog Supplies - Weekly Paws Winner: Cynthia Andresen & Brandwen

Cynthia Andresen & Branwen

Handler & Trainer // Service & Therapy Dogs

"I am legally blind and have been all my life. In 1980 I met two dog trainers who encouraged me to get a dog. After some thought, I ended up choosing to get a sheltie, which subsequently opened the doors for me to became a dog trainer with a large clientele.

Shanti became the first TDI (Therapy Dogs International) dog in TN. Since then, we put together a wonderful program for Shanti to visit nursing homes, schools, hospitals, you name it. We got local and state awards, helping many people along the way. After she passed it didn't take me long to get my second sheltie, Branwen.

Branwen and I get many kudos, as we travel all over the country sharing stories, talking at seminars, etc. Currently my husband and I have (my third) sheltie, "Little B"; and two collies. I am training Jess, an 80 lb. "Terhune" collie to support my husband, Ken, as a disabled veteran. Also training our slightly smaller female collie, Shanna, for myself, as unfortunately Little B is retiring soon.

Back in 2019 and 2020 I almost died due to sepsis shock, and post septic syndrome, and B was instrumental in getting me back to health --- and I believe that training with the younger collies is helping me regain my memory and stimulating my brain more. Had it not been for my husband's brother who is a nephrologist who came out to TN from OR in Dec. 2019, I would have likely died. (I had a 10 percent chance to live!)

So our dogs are both HEELERS and HEALERS! I can truly say that dogs have been, and are (besides my hubby), my LIFE SAVERS!

Getting involved with dogs has been a blessing for me. Never did I imagine pursuing a graduate degree, but when I found out about a therapy dog and service dog program at a college in Upper East TN, I was motivated to earn the Masters in Special Education. This opportunity has paved my way to achieve what fully-sighted people can have --- a job, a purpose, friends, and ultimately a stable life (er, at least after I was "saved" by my brother-in-law Christopher Muller).

Dogs ROCK!"

Their Gear: "I love J&J and have many products of theirs including leadscollarsservice dog veststoys, etc. And it is the main place I send folks to if they inquire where I got my equipment. The service dog vests are vital because I am legally blind, along with collars, leads, toys, the list goes on. We love all of our J&J gear. WOOF!"

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