PUPDATE! Meet Samantha (Sam) Lacy: Experienced Dog Trainer
When Sam Lacy began volunteering for animal welfare causes as a child (with her mom), she met many social workers. These volunteers, for organizations like PAWS Chicago or the ASPCA, often applied their considerable expertise to the adoption process. Fittingly, the Tinley Park native would go on to earn a social work, psychology and community advocacy degree from Arizona State University’s Watts College of Public Service and, later, graduate from PUPS’ six-month apprenticeship program as an experienced dog trainer.
Originally, Sam had applied for a Member Services Representative position. But she recalled how our Founder and CEO, “Doggie Dan” Rubenstein, looked at her lifelong work with dog rescue and care organizations and offered her an opportunity in training instead.
“It’s very hard to get into the pet industry,” Sam recalled. “I had also looked at several [training organizations] and PUPS has the most extensive apprenticeship.”
The stars ultimately aligned. Sam graduated from ASU two months after COVID-19 was declared a national emergency. She secured an administrative position at a company specializing in social and emotional intelligence training services; however, that job became a casualty of the pandemic. To hear Sam tell it, the loss of that gig wasn’t such a loss after all. She recalled realizing rather quickly that an office position, which required setting reminders on her Apple Watch to “get up and walk,” wasn’t the career for her.
“I knew pet businesses were really booming,” she said. “And I’m a ‘crazy dog lady.’ It’s celebrated over here.”
Plus, Sam is more than ready for whatever challenges life brings after dealing with thousands of visitors as a shift supervisor at one of Michigan Avenue’s top attractions: the Starbucks Reserve Chicago Roastery. Small wonder, then, that her “words to live by” are: “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.”
As to her approach to training (the canine kind), Sam has been told that she delves thoroughly into an understanding of the dog, whereas other trainers might thoroughly explore the situation or environment. Even when completing the same training programs, each trainer brings his or her special something to the process.