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Meet Bridget

Bridget with AddyFrom the Hudson River Sampler (February 2016)

“Creating Calmness, Balance and Discipline in the home.”

by Carol Lee

When she was only eight years old, Bridget Lewis wrote to Dear Abby begging for a dog.  She had, as she says “gotten the itch” and was denied a pet by her parents. Abby wisely counseled she could get a dog when she grew older and lived on her own.  And even though Bridget graduated college with a degree in business, she eventually went back to college to get her degree as a veterinarian technician to pursue her dream of working with animals.

Optimum Dog is a a BONDED and INSURED pet care service  operated by Bridget Lewis, a licensed veterinary technician, located in Red Hook. As a licensed veterinary technician she has been trained to do a wide variety of services for your animal.

Optimum Dog offers more than just pet care, with 30 + years experience of caring for all types of animals. Caring for animals lies at the heart of her business which is very accessible through one of the most reasonable price structures in the area.

Bridget works with dogs, cats, birds, horses and even ferrets, offering training, diet consultation, life habits, behavioral problems, and even sitting and boarding.

So, how many dogs does Bridget have now?  A pack of four — which she refers to as her “balanced pack,”  which helps her teach balance to unmanageable dogs. “Basically, I am teaching the owners in their homes,”  she told me. “Dogs need boundaries and limitations,” she added. “Just like kids…they can become unruly.”

Her four “balance dogs” are comprised of three german short hair pointers. The fourth is a corgi. (Long hair and short legs — quite the opposite of the pointers!) I met two of her balance pack, both pointers, Addy and Rainer, each sporting beautiful lush coats with white and brown markings, clear, bright eyes and a poise rarely seen in dogs. Needless to say, neither jumped up on me or felt anything but ease at meeting me.

Bridget, is a red head with bright, smiling blue eyes, is a walking picture of balance herself, no doubt lending comfort to her dogs as leader of the pack. She is very self-assured and, at the same time, very approachable.

“I need to feel out my clients — and their dogs” she explained, and approaches prospective clients by observing the dog’s behavior when first meeting.  Her mission at first is to assess the situation, before taking steps to repair behavioral problems.

Bridget consults for a fee, and uses skills and techniques the untrained professional doesn’t know. “My pack knows social etiquette,” she said, and when meeting with unbalanced dogs, her dogs teach by example.  She introduces her pack of dogs one at a time to the untrained dog, and the pack exemplifies proper behavior which the errant dog can observe.  When she takes a client’s dogs to her own property for training, they run with her pack of dogs, and become part of her pack. She does not run a kennel, Bridget stresses.   However, she can do overnights at the animal’s own house or hers if the owner is on vacation or unavailable.

When she consults with difficult dogs, Bridget often finds that the owner doesn’t represent himself as the pack leader, so the dog feels that weakness and takes over as leader, because that is his genetic social structure. “Dogs are pack animals,” she affirms, and then laments: “We anthropomorphize our animals.” That is we treat them as humans instead of dogs. “Don’t get me wrong” she states “I am the first one to tuck my dogs in at night. When we end up with behavioral issues because of it that’s when it needs to be modified.” There needs to be black and white, no gray areas. “If there’s no consistency with training, you will create a difficult companion.” And just when you think there’s no hope, she adds, smiling, “Dogs can change!!!  They live in the moment!!”

Bridget noted that dogs have been trained as therapy dogs to read depression, smell cancer before it is even diagnosed and sense epileptic fits prior to their occurrence. “Dogs are amazing creatures!” Some of her best times are when an owner has an “aha!” moment, because once the owner “gets it”, the dog can, too! “I have many wonderful clients that I am so grateful for trusting me with their beloved pets!!! I have found animal people make wonderful people!!!!!!”

Bridget offers a plethora of services including training, daily walks, sitting, in-home pet care, toenail trims and nutritional consultations. She also sells Abady dog and cat food. “Dogs and Cats are carnivores, they need species appropriate foods to be healthy and happy animals.” Check out her website at optimumdog.com to learn more about her services, pet foods, read her testimonials and more.

Besides securing the best care for your animal, Optimum Dog also embraces a circle of support for numerous charities and animals that benefit from the 5% of the profits which she donates to dog rescues and other organizations.

There’s still time for New Years resolutions. Give your dog — and yourself by association — the best years of his life by learning balance.  People do yoga.  Dogs do Optimum Dog!