ANDREW BALLANTYNE

Drew adopted his first dog, Y-Lee, at the age of 19, and over the next 11 years, the two "grew up” together, bonding through training, play, taking care of each other, and chasing squirrels in Humboldt Park. "Having such a great friend from my late teens to my early 30s taught me responsibility and to take the time to have fun and be silly,” Drew says.  

When Y-Lee was 9, he got a new puppy cousin—an 8-week-old Rhodesian Ridgeback named Bludger, belonging to Drew’s sister-in-law. Bludger was enrolled in puppy classes at Animal Behavior Training Concepts with Laura Monaco Torelli, and in watching his sister-in-law practice at home, Drew was introduced to clicker training. Unfamiliar with the adage that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, he tried it out with Y-Lee, and was amazed by how fast he picked up the new behaviors. When Bludger’s baby sister Tonks came along, Drew attended puppy class with her and his sister-in-law with Laura at Animal Behavior Training Concepts and was truly hooked. 

In 2013, he graduated from the Karen Pryor Academy to become a KPA CTP, and has since completed the KPA Puppy Start Right instructors’ course.