Abby Hill – CPDT-KA
Founder & Executive Director Abby is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) through the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers (CCPD). She’s been passionately training dogs for twenty years. Abby has competed on a National Level in multiple disciplines including AKC Rally and Obedience where she not only won multiple classes but earned the highest title possible, Magna Cum Laude 1. Abby is the owner of The Exceptional Pet, as well as the Founder and Director of The Exceptional Sidekick Service Dogs and Therapy Dogs. She leads our team as an AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator and a Member of the National Association of Canine Scent Work.
Abby is a big believer in continuing education and professional development. Every year she travels to workshops and seminars with some of the leading trainers in the field such as Dr. Ian Dunbar, Suzanne Clother, Pia Silvani, Sue Stenberg, and Denise Frenzi. She lives with her 3 dogs, 7 chickens, 1 tortoise, 1 hamster and a constant rotation of service dogs in training and a very patient husband. 

Sandy Lee – CPDT-KA / Head Trainer:  Sandy Lee found her love of dog training right while training her Bernedoodle Beau. She began her career as a volunteer trainer for The Exceptional Sidekick, helping to train service dogs. She continued her education through a rigorous program with CATCH and is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) and an approved AKC evaluator. Sandy wholeheartedly believes in the science behind and practices positive reinforcement training. She is now our lead service dog trainer and coordinator for our College Puppy Raising Program at Sacred Heart University. Sandy enjoys teaching all levels of classes that build lasting bonds through adventure and fun with humans and dogs.  

Abby Tanzer – CPDT-KA / Regional Puppy Raising Coordinator:  While working on her CPDT, Abby completed an internship with one of The Exceptional Pet’s lead trainers. Abby has also volunteered with the exceptional sidekick for several years. Abby is currently pursuing a degree in canine training and management at SUNY Cobleskill. As Regional Puppy Raising Coordinator, she plays a key role in our College Puppy Raising Program on SUNY Cobleskill’s campus. With her patient, positive, and personalized approach, she is committed to helping dogs and their handlers thrive together, whether it’s improving behavior or strengthening their bond. We are excited to have Abby on our team to provide top-notch training and care for our dogs.

Jennifer Theriault, LCSW is a strong advocate for those that cannot advocate for themselves. As a clinical social worker, she has seen firsthand the isolation that can occur when mental health issues limit people’s lives. Her work allows her to understand the clinical implications for adolescents and young adults living with mental illness and to see the difference in the quality of their lives when they can be fully engaged in the world with a trusted exceptional sidekick by their side!  We are grateful for Jennifer’s time when it is helpful for us to consult with a therapist.

Board Members Tara Tanzer, Christine Dangers, Andrea Maney, Pia Ledina, Mirelle Norma, Christina Linderman, Rachel Stansel, Tim Friedrich, Amber Rideout [learn more]