One of our favorite parts of working to provide canine services and trained dogs to the community is the flood of thank-you emails that we receive on a weekly basis. We love to hear from people with whom we have had a positive affect on their lives. Just recently, one very special email stood out to us, and we just had to reach out to them for a follow-up! Get to know Kristi and take a look at how Rossi has changed her life.
Kristi Knight is a Texas native born and raised in Weatherford, a smaller city about half the size of Flagstaff. Growing up, Kristi was fortunate enough to live with the same two canine companions from the age of 6 to adulthood, and still feels the compassion learned from that bond to this day. In July of 2018, Kristi decided to expand on that empathy for others through enrollment in the ASU Doctorate program with a focus on Occupational Therapy.
People often think of police Rottweilers and German Shepherds when they think of protection dogs. Temperament and training, however, is just as important... Any dog with the right drive and sense of loyalty to their owner has the potential be a protection dog.”
Despite her excitement to further her career, moving to the Phoenix area proved to be a bit of a shock. At more than a million and half people, compared to the 30,000 in Weatherford, Phoenix’s sprawling urban area changed her perspective on what it means to live independently while feeling safe. “Living in downtown alone I felt very uneasy – I had just moved into a city for the first time, started graduate school, and didn’t know anyone in Arizona.”
Enter Hillside K9 Academy. Just one month after her move, Kristi decided a protection dog would be the best option to ease her big-city anxiety. After an extensive internet search, she landed on Hillside’s website, and decided to pay the facilities a visit. Kristi showed drove up fully anticipating the need to adjust to living with a large-sized protection breed, compared to her childhood companions. “This is a common misconception that we hear often,” Hillside’s manager, Jennifer, shares, “People often think of police Rottweilers and German Shepherds when they think of protection dogs. Temperament and training, however, is just as important as pedigree, and size does not matter at all. Any dog with the right drive and sense of loyalty to their owner has the potential be a protection dog.” After a detailed discussion with Kristi about her lifestyle and needs, Jennifer offered to bring out the Academy’s available dogs for a meet and greet, beginning and ending with Rossi.
Rossi is a medium sized Dutch Shepherd, a relative of the German Shepherd, but slimmer and with a focused and more mellow disposition. She was one of the first puppies that Jennifer invested in when she and Shawn opened the facilities in 2014. “She has always been my favorite,” Jennifer says, “and although it was bittersweet putting her up for adoption, I was determined to find the perfect owner that would love her as much as I do.” Upon meeting Rossi, it was love-at-first sight for Kristi, “When Rossi was brought out, we clicked instantly. It was a match made in heaven!”
6-months later, Kristi and Rossi are now an inseparable pair. “Rossi continues to astound me with her intelligence, alertness and puppy-like joy. Since adopting her, I have felt absolutely safe, never lonely, and am always happy to return home. She made my transition easier and more enjoyable. Rossi is incredibly intelligent, poised and alert – she gets compliments daily on her good looks and obviously obedient disposition. And even at 4 years old, she picks up new tricks in under 10 repetitions!”
Rossi’s protection, alerting, and home security training is only part of her new life. As any trainer will agree, you can teach a dog a to be a driven working animal with and infinite number tasks, but they will always remain true their loyal companion and puppy-like nature. Kristi fondly sees the proof of this daily, “Rossi loves plush toys and carries one with her anywhere, and anytime I let her; whether we’re on a run, sitting out in public, or just out and about. She also enjoys sitting on my feet and knocks my phone out of my hands when she’s not getting enough attention.”
These days, when Kristi isn’t in school, she resumes her previous life of hiking, trail running, and hanging out in coffee shops with Rossi by her side. “She has brought an incredible amount of joy, security, companionship, and adventure into my life. The stability she affords me as a graduate student in a huge bustling city cannot be overemphasized. I am so thankful to have Rossi!”
The best part of this pairing, for us at Hillside, is that we still get to visit with Rossi during her regular grooming and boarding visits!
“It has eased my mind when traveling to know that Rossi is safe, being treated well by people she knows and is comfortable with,” Kristi shared with us, and we are more than happy to provide that for the both of them for many years to come.
Are you looking for your perfect canine companion? Check out the current trained dogs for sale on our sister site here.
Kaila Haas - Passionate animal lover and fan of the Hillside Canine Resort & Spa family!