Sara Bright, CPDT-KA, CCDT, BBA, has over 24 years experience working with a variety of dog breeds. Prior to opening Best Friends Dog Academy, Sara worked as a dog trainer at SPOT and Co., and as the Dog Training Coordinator at the Iowa City Animal Care & Adoption Center.
Since childhood, Sara has shared her life with dogs, cats, horses, llamas and goats. Originally from Iowa City, Sara spent several years living on the East Coast, where, in 1994, she was one of the original volunteers who worked together to create Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue (DVGRR). Serving in a variety of roles ranging from Board President to hospice foster home, Sara most recently worked as the Director of Adoption & Education at DVGRR. Since moving home to Iowa in 2015, Sara has worked as the Dog Training Coordinator at the Iowa City Animal Care & Adoption Center, as a foster home to dogs with behavioral and medical challenges, and with the Iowa City Animal Services Supervisor to create a prison dog program and a local animal response team. She is also a responder with national animal disaster response teams, most recently deploying to Houston, TX following Hurricane Harvey to work with Best Friends Animal Society as they sheltered and rehabilitated over 400 dogs. Over the past 25 years, Sara has been a foster home to hundreds of neonatal kittens, puppies and dogs for the Iowa City Animal Care & Adoption Center, Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue (DVGRR), and Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota (RAGOM).
Her years with rescue and shelter dogs have taught her the qualities that families want in their pet, and that each dog is an individual - the “right” way to train is to work with the dog in front of you, starting where he is, helping him discover the joy to be found in learning and working together.
Sara shares her home with six permanent resident dogs, 1 amazingly adaptable cat and a steady stream of foster dogs, puppies and kittens. Her spare time is spent hiking, kayaking and relaxing with family, friends and (of course) her dogs.
Professional Memberships and Affiliations:
Animal Behavior Society, member
ASPCA Field Investigations & Response Team, responder
American Kennel Club, AKC S.T.A.R puppy and Canine Good Citizen, evaluator
Association of Animal Behavior Professionals, member
Association of Professional Dog Trainers, member
Best Friends Animal Society Animal Response Team, responder
Doggone Safe, member
HSUS Animal Rescue Team, responder
International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, member
Iowa City Dog Obedience Club, member
National Animal Control Association, member
Pet Professional Guild, member
Red Rover Responders, responder
CPDT-KA, Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers
CCDT, CATCH Canine Trainers Academy
Certified Animal Control Officer, CDI-New Jersey