Success Stories 2017-01-21T10:54:49+00:00


This poor girl had no hope in the shelter, and is now living as a service dog!

Katee is a dream dog. She is the best of the best.  This beautiful girl who was rated as dangerous and scheduled to be euthanized is one of the gentlest dogs in the world.  She, Katee, is in training to be a service dog for me, and she is doing beautifully. She is never rough, or pulling or never barks and growls, she lives at peace with everyone from infants to the elderly.  All she wants to is please the people around her, she listens attentively, stays at my side avidly, she obeys commands even at a distance, she comes when called, she is the love of my life.

Katee after service dog trainingRegretfully I have had a period of decreased health and Katee is my faithful companion, she goes most places with me.

Cate, thank you for my dream dog. Most people find it hard to believe I have only had her a short time, I find it hard to believe myself. It is like she has been around for years not months.

Eileen Weber

Amazing news for Princess Piggy!

Princess Piggy, our dumped Blossom Valley Dog went to her new home today (sniff). I am sure you all remember the story last summer of the dog that was left on the side of the road at the top of Palomino Ridge Dr.  She was thought to be a small, 8 pound Cutie but turned out to be an overweight, old, limping pit-bull-looking, un-spayed, filthy dirty girl.  Not something you want to bring home to momma!

Of course, I had loads of people tell me that her only future should be animal control, but I know what happens to girls like Piggy once they get into the system.  I saw in her a spark that I knew I could light again. With the help of donations, I fixed her up physically, and within a few months I fixed her up mentally and emotionally, which included training her to be a therapy dog.

I am happy to tell you that Princess Piggy was chosen out of all the dogs in all the rescues and shelters to join the very well off elderly facility where she will work with the residence that live in the home.

She will be professionally bathed every 2 weeks and will live higher than all of us put together!!  Truly this is why I do what I do.  It is all about learning who each animal truly is, bringing that animal out through training, and placing them in the best suited future….even if it means that I make them my own until that future comes about.

I want to thank each and every one of you who helped me make this dream future possible for poor forgotten Princess Piggy!

[divider]I adopted Pippi, my Sheltie/Keeshond mix, from Cate last June when she was 12 months old. My previous dog, which was trained as a therapy dog, had died. I was doing a lot of therapy work and people were asking me when I would have another dog. So, I decided to adopt a mature dog instead of raising another puppy. A friend referred me to Cate and I will be forever grateful.

Pippi had been at Cate’s for two weeks and she was ready to go. Cate told me that this dog would be a great therapy dog and she was 100% right! We trained with Cate for July and August. The first week in September, Pippi and I passed the TDI test and have been doing all types of therapy work ever since. She is equally at ease with adults, children, people with disabilities and other animals. She has fans everywhere we go, Home Depot, Dixieline, Petco, and in all departments of Scripps Mercy Hospital, San Diego County Psychiatric Hospital and Country Villa Healthcare where we do therapy work. We also do reading tutoring with students at Northmont School in La Mesa.

It is a gratifying and interesting experience to adopt an adult dog, and we are still learning things about each other. Pippi is a devoted pet, a kind and compassionate therapy dog and a great watch dog. She is very cute, too, which is part of her charm.

Cate is a wonderful judge of people and dogs and a natural matchmaker! She is also a superior trainer. Her entire family helped me prepare Pippi for testing and we had a great time. I have recommended her to several friends and I recommend her to you too! If you are looking for a canine companion, call Cate!

Cate’s Note: This dog had been red-listed by the shelter, which means that she was scheduled to be put down due to behavioral issues. This just goes to show that ALL dogs are worth saving!!

Maggie lost her beloved lab Dillon in April of 2007. He was 16 at the time and had been her companion dog for 13 years. We held a memorial service for him at dog beach in Ocean Beach where 65 of their friends plus their fur friends watched as his ashes were scattered on the sand. Then we began a long search for a new companion for her.

Maggie is in a wheel chair and is brain injured. She needs companionship more than a “working” dog and that was the problem. All of the dog training people I contacted were reluctant to give her such a highly trained dog. The search wore on for over a year. “Paws’itive teams” wanted to help and she forwarded me an advert from Cate looking for the perfect home for Honey Bear, a fully trained, lovely yellow lab. I contacted her ASAP and she contacted me right back. She was intrigued by Maggie’s story and wanted to help. The next day we all met and it seemed obvious that Honey Bear and Maggie were not the ideal couple. Honey Bear became a working therapy dog team with the President of the Parkinson’s Society and has since become a service dog, so Cate promised Maggie she would find a dog for her. And did she!

It wasn’t but a few days until we heard that she had a lovely female who might be just right. We all knew as soon as we saw Nina that this was the fit. Cate chose Nina from the shelter and trained her just for Maggie! Nina is calm, smart, intelligent and looking for love. Maggie is madly in love with her. I took Maggie to an emergency room for treatment on her hand (broken) and the staff at Sharp Coronado were so taken with Nina that they wanted to bring her back into the treatment area. She is so calm and can handle anything. Everywhere Nina and Maggie go, they get so much attention, Nina is a star. Nina is so beloved by us all, we will always take the best care of her that is possible. And she gives love. We are so indebted to Cate for her help. She just knew how to pick the right dog for the right person.

Drug Detection

When Lola, a small 47lb yellow lab was going “bonkers” at the shelter along came to phone call… ” Cate we have a dog for you!”   I brought her in and put her through my tests.   Although she was a beautifully sweet girl she clearly told me she needed a life of work.  I dabbled her in the therapy dog and service dog tests but realized her energy was clearly way to high to be able to do either…hmmm..Her ability to chase and hunt was truly amazing…..could it be agility? sheep herding? drug detection?  I called the  police force k9 unit dog trainer and we put her through her paces.  Good ol Lola passed every test with flying colors both at my home and with their drug detection trainer.  Lola was adopted on the spot for a life of work of keeping our streets clean from drugs.  It is amazing what gems lie waiting at the shelter…isn’t it!?


I learned a lot from watching and listening to you and your k9 helpers, who are so adorable. Glad to know I now have a new weapon in my arsenal of saving animals.

Can’t thank you enough.


Kriss Andrews
Supervising Animal Care Attendant/ Rescue Coordinator
County of San Diego
Department of Animal Services
5821 Sweetwater Road
Bonita, CA 91902


My name is Teeka. I would like to share with all parents our journey about meeting Cate Sacks and how she has changed our lives for the better. My daughter Alexsis was diagnosed earlier this year with Acute Stress Disorder/Anxiety. She would vomit for no reason, making herself sick. She was afraid to be out in public. It was horrible for me and my husband to see this and not be able to help her. We were like many parents wondering what to do to help our child. We felt so helpless and alone. Her Pediatric Doctor and Psychologist both recommended a therapy dog for her. So my Aunt from Oregon volunteered to help us find a therapy dog for our daughter. She did all the calling from Oregon, she has many people who she can talk to. She went on for many days trying to find that right dog! She has her dogs in shows, so she knows exactly what she is doing. She would tell us “I spoke to this person and I just was not feeling the good vibes!” My Aunt spoke to a friend in Washington (a pet therapist), who recommended she talk to Cate sacks. She made the call and called me right after. My Aunt said “I found her; she is the one who is going to make life better for you all!” When my Aunt said that, I cried! What luck!

We got in contact with Cate and made a appointment to see her at her home. I was worried at first of course, I’m a parent and I was unsure. When we got out of the car and met Cate, I knew she was the one! Our golden ticket to a better outlook for our daughter. She introduced herself to Alexsis and immediately Alexsis had a smile on her face. It was a friendship at first sight. She got to know my daughter and found out what she liked and did not like, her fears and what made her feel safe. She then matched the dog with the child. The best part is that Cate does not go by breed, she goes by the personality, the spark between human and dog. She searches until she finds that dog that is just right. I got a call from Cate about a week later that she found our boy! Sure enough, she did. His name is Dodger and he’s such a sweet boy. Our daughter fell in love with him. I wanted him trained to be a therapy dog so we took classes with Cate. I felt so safe and secure with Cate. She knows children so well and of course dogs too!

I’m just like all other parents who have trust issues when it comes to my daughter. With Cate it’s different. I have so much trust in her. She would take my daughter for the lessons at the mall and I would wait for them at the nearby coffee shop. Now that’s trust. She treats your children as if they were her own. Dodger is now a certified therapy dog and goes with us everywhere. Dodger had been with us about six months now. He is a great boy. If my daughter or anyone in the family is not feeling good, he is next to you. My daughter is now a healthy 8 year old enjoying life. She has her moments, but Dodger is always by her side making her feel better. I could not have asked for a better dog. We feel very blessed. Cate is an amazing person. She helped us, she can definitely help you. And it’s not just anxiety, she works with a variety of medical conditions, and people of all ages. She is a person who you can trust in helping your child feel happy and enjoy life to the fullest.

June 27, 2011

Written on behalf of the Shelter Dogs to Dream Dogs Program

Sometimes things happen that are beyond your control.  Events that leave you to contemplate your options – to make you wonder if there are truly second chances in life.

In 2007, I was injured at work when a 500 lb. conventional oven stacked on a forklift fell and landed on my back.  I suffered extensive injuries: fractured ribs, a ruptured diaphragm, and most severely a spinal cord injury at levels T11- L1, which left me a paraplegic.  What is probably most unique about my story isn’t my injury, but the fact that my bizarre accident happened only after I served with the 82nd Airborne Division through 2 tours of duty overseas.

Since my injury, I have been in extensive rehabilitative therapy to rebuild my strength and mobility.  Because of these rehabilitative efforts, I have become athletically active again, participating in wheelchair basketball, lacrosse and hand-cycling.  Through all of these efforts, – I am getting my second chance.  An opportunity to live my life to the fullest.

Second chances, however, don’t always present themselves. In the case of animals; those that have been abused, neglected, or simply misunderstood – there are no second chances – unless someone special comes along.  This is where Cate Sacks and the Shelter Dogs to Dream Dogs Program step in.  This program recognizes that with love, attention, and training, even an animal can be given a second chance at finding a proper home and proper place in our hearts and society.  Through the Shelter Dogs to Dream Dogs Program I have received the gracious gift of a pit bull named Chanel, who is learning to become my personal therapeutic assistance dog.  Hardly anyone would think to give a home to  a pit bull, much less place such an animal in the home of someone who is disabled.  But the Shelter Dogs to Dream Dogs Program knew that they had a special dog and a special opportunity. With Chanel’s help, I am experiencing a greater sense of personal independence and I am enjoying the companionship.

I am very thankful for the work that the Shelter Dogs to Dream Dogs Program has done with Chanel, and for having recognized that even a pit bull deserves a second chance.

Hi Cate:

We have had such a fun 30 hours!  We all agreed on “Socks” for our little girl – for her 2 front socks.  Sunshine just about came out of his skin when he saw his new little friend.  They played so well yesterday – and she can definitely hold her own when they are playing.  Sunshine actually played so hard that he finally ate his dinner (making that 2 feedings in a day; had stopped eating twice a day since Chipper was put down; too sad and lonely).  So that was very nice to see.  She slept perfectly in her crate in my office last night.  Today Brittney (my daughter) was outside all day playing with both Socks and Sunshine.  Socks really gave Sunshine a run for his money.

Oh my gosh, we just about died the first time we saw her go to the bathroom!  Too funny!  Ron said we should call her “handstand”!  It is a riot beyond words!  We can’t get over how much Socks likes to play fetch and tug-a-war.  She is sleeping her in crate in Brittney’s room tonight (as that is who she’ll be sleeping with once we are comfortable she is trained at night).  Both Brittney and Ronnie kept thanking me today for getting them such great dogs.  Sunshine actually looks big in comparison to Socks!

All I can truly say is that you create such amazing dogs – Socks is an absolute doll.  Thank you so much again!

Take care!

Thanks so much for your help with Kona. She eagerly hops in the car and stays in the back. You certainly do have a way with dogs. You are a regular ‘dog whisperer’!We will proceed and see how things go.

Kona is a very busy young lady with her walks and playtimes. All the dogs in the neighborhood have been thrilled to meet her. She is a regular ‘Miss Congeniality’!! We so love her.

Thanks a million,
Lucy (and Dennis)

WOW!! Cate really knows her stuff!

We met Cate in our cul-de-sac when she was training our neighbor’s dog as a therapy dog. Our other neighbor then took one of Cate’s rescue dogs. We ened up with 2 Schnauzers, 2 Australian shepherds and 1 Wiemaraner at our home last summer when all our cildren brought their puppies home. Cate came to the rescue and we got into action and had a total of 5 lessons.

It is now 6 months later and I took 2 of the dogs for a WALK. They were sooo obediant and soo easy to walk. My daughter with the schnauzers is in Germany with a new baby and she said the training was better than at the pet store as it would have been impossible to walk the 2 dogs with a stroller without Cates training.

Thank you Cate, you’re the best!!!


Howard is a special boy who’s talents were just sitting behind bars in the shelter.  Kathleen suffers from PTSD and IIH (Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension), which is what affects her eyesight and balance.  After special training, Howard and Kathleen were introduced and a strong bond was created.   Howard has his work cut out for him, doing double duty as a service dog and a therapy dog! Thank you so very much for matching him to Kathleen. They are good friends already! 🙂

We met Cate through a friend who has a dog rescue program and she described Cate as amazing, boy was she right.  Cate took our boxer Pykles (who we rescued from the pound) and diagnosed her as fear aggressive and worked on it. Cate then showed us how to work with Pykles and help her with her fear issues.  Pykles is so much happier and calmer which has spread to the rest of the family. Cate is great and we would absolutely recommend her.

Lani LoCoco

daisyHi Cate:

Daisy is a dream girl! She rode home on my lap and when we got here she came inside just like she had been here all along. No problem at all. After a few hours, we took her to Petsmart, where she visited and said hello about 10 dogs. No problem again. We got her ” little” collar, leash and training chain, which are working out just fine. When we fed her she wasn’t interested, but later about 8:00 she started eating well.

She’s going to Jim just like she does for me and that’s a terrific feeling for us. When it was time for bed I called her to her crate and she went right into it. Not a sound was heard all night long. I can’t tell about her bathroom habits because she has kept them all secret. All I can say is that I haven’t had to clean up anything in the house yet and that’s a good thing. What more can we ask?????

As far as her name goes, I really didn’t think Molly fit her very well. I chose Daisy because of her bright and cheerful personality, just like the sweet flower. They bring happiness to our garden and she is bringing happiness to our home. Right now she is on my lap and waiting to go out for the morning walk. Better not make her wait any longer.

Thanks so much Cate……it was great meeting with you and seeing the terrific and loving pack leader that you are.

Rayene and Jim

KatieDear Cate,

It was wonderful to meet you and spend a lovely part of the afternoon with you. You are a remarkable person. We named her Katie, that way we will always remember you. It fits her and she is learning her name already; she is a very smart dog. She has won the heart of everyone. She is a perfect fit in our very busy, full household. We had company in and out yesterday and Katie loved them all. Your description of her was accurate, she does love people.

I enjoyed so much watching her and Captain play this morning. I am shocked at her speed and agility. She does not look like she would have either. She can move so fast, jump and corner like a little race dog. I think it is good that Captain can help her expend some of her energy. It may help her loose a pound or two. My sister brought her dog, Juno, over yesterday afternoon and Katie enjoyed meeting Juno too.

Katie reminds all of us of a Disney character with her beautiful, mesmerizing eyes with the long eye lashes and her sweet little face. She has been on several walks and we agree with you, she needs a training chain, especially for Mother to walk her. Juan is going to get her one today.

Her first night with Mother was remarkable. Mother got into bed and left the bedroom door open. Katie hopped up on the bed with her and never moved all night. She did the same thing last night. She seems to understand her job is to be a companion to Mother. I hope by the end of this quarter, I can cut my hours back significantly. I would love for you to help me find another dog for me. It was a remarkable pleasure to find you. Words can not express what this little Katie means to my Mother. She is easing the pain of Mother’s loss already.

Thank you so much, if I can ever help you in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I mean that sincerely.

Kind regards,

Unadoptable Out Of Control German Shepherd Now lives the High Life In L.A:

Thank you for our beautiful boy and the indepth training session before we took him home.  Perry has been very on top of her boy, constantly taking care, keeping the discipline going, and the love coming.  He is a wonderful and beautiful dog.  They should be well established by the time she gets him home to LA.

We both really enjoyed the time we got to spend with you.  You’re a very special person, and I’m glad you have children to benefit from all you are and know.

Wish Perry luck, as she’s got a movie in the works – actually the very beginning stuff; but she has a great producer and money, and is now looking for a good director so she can suck in some good actors.  She and her sister Randy have written several movies,  their first big success was “Mystic Pizza,” and they actually discovered Julia Roberts for that movie.  Then they had “Chances Are,” with Robert Downing.  That was cool.

Anyhoo, life is good.  And we have another fuzzy fellow to share it with.  Take care and all the best!

YES, YES, YES, I am a happier Girl!!!!!
Oh by the way…my Mom’s neighbor Courtney will be contacting you as well for training for her dog Billy since she saw Medo over the weekend and could not beleive what a difference.
Who needs Cesar Milan when there is the best “‘Dog Whisperer” Cate!

Shadow is such a joy. He greats me with kisses every morning. In fact, he greets everyone with kisses. I took him by my office the second day I had him and he showered everyone with hugs and kisses. He sat in the back seat of the car without making a fuss when we took that 5-1/2 hour drive to his new home. For the first ten days he was my shadow – constantly by my side. He was already housebroken and learned the doggie door with one try. He has settled in. He has the run of most of the house and yard while I am at work and does not chew anything but his toys (or Kleenex if he can find it). He sleeps on the couch or on his dog bed and enjoys lying on the cool tile looking out the front door and, of course, his walks. I look forward to coming home to him every day.

Thank you so much Cate.

JIM,  Scottsdale, AZ

Shadow’s Story….. Cate’s words

Shadow ( originally named Berg) was a beautiful white husky who was passed around from home to home for the first two years of his life.  When he ran away from his last home, the owners chose not to find him.  This boy never had a loving home who taught him the education he needed to be a happy, respectful family member, but instead he lived alone going from one home to another simply because he was a gorgeous white husky.  When he ran away the last time it was the animal control officer who caught him, and Shadow being scared managed to bite them.  They slipped a catch pole around his neck so tight that his eyes bulged and wept with fluid, which later turned to infection.  Shadow was in fear of his life, and of course protected himself with the warning signs of another bite if anyone came close.  For this reason, the shelter was unable to treat his infected eyes which were only getting worse.   He was doomed, but I found him in a corner cage out of public view waiting for his number to be called.  I spoke to him and felt that there was a good, kind soul underneath the fear.  The shelter was hesitant when I asked to release him, but history of how I can read and turn these animals around helped them to sign the release forms.  We treated his eyes, and I loaded him into my car.  Above is the email from his new beloved Daddy, who came all the way from Phoenix to adopt him and bring him home after he graduated from my training school.  His new daddy named him Shadow simply because this is the best descriptive word for how this wonderful, misunderstood husky now lives his life.  Shadow blossomed as I took over leadership and let him relax as follower, and he has never looked back!

UntitledCate…..Things could not have gone better! We stopped at Petco on the way home to get a bigger collar and she charmed everyone in the store! She pranced into my apartment and checked out every inch…then declared it habitable!! I put her in her crate at 10 and she was up at 7 wagging her tail…NEVER barked…not once and still has not!! Today she met my 3 yr old grandson and they are buddies! She even sat on the sofa with him to watch TV!! So this match is quite perfect. (I ordered the dogfood and sent in my check for the microchip.) I do believe we are off to a great start. Thank you for rescuing her …and civilizing her! You have a kind heart and all of us benefit greatly!


Mary Ann

Janelle ( Muscular Dystrophy) and Atlas have become the perfect team!

Today was incredible! Atlas was the most delightful, well-mannered boy all day, and he settled in really well to my home. I’m just kind of in awe right now by how well today went…

I expected him to act up a bit and maybe even be hard to handle, but it was just the opposite. You won’t believe it, but he sits on my command! I was so happy I almost cried!