SADDLE BROOK, N.J. — A Saddle Brook dog trainer in many ways dedicated her life to man's best friend.
Jodi Kellar-Jackson, of Bogota, started dog training 10 years ago and opened Kellar's Canine Academy in Saddle Brook in 2012.
The school for dogs and their owners marks the latest canine venture for Jackson, who has a few at home and uses them for volunteer work and competitions.
"The bond that you have with them, that relationship fills your heart," she told Daily Voice. "It fills your brain, and that's why we have dogs. ... My dogs are everything to me really, they're like my children. They're a big part of my life."
Jackson attended Hunter College in Manhatten and then St. Peter's University for her master's degree. She at one point wanted to become a vetrinarian but decided she didn't like blood and needles.
She then turned her attention to teaching. Jackson also teaches kids in West New York while not tending to the Saddle Brook dog academy.
At her Market Street school, Jackson said she and the other instructors use small classes to teach about bonding with owners and pets to build communication.
Jackson has three dogs at home, two border collies and a beagle. Miss Maggie Moo, the beagle, is a therapy dog and has volunteered at Hackensack University Medical Center to spend time with patients.
She also fosters other beagles, she said.
Jackson's daughter Ashley followed in her mother's animal-loving footsteps as she studied to become a veterinarian.
She said it is rewarding to help people and animals alike.
"I want to help dogs and people build a bond," she said, "that is so phenomenal, and also help dogs understand that the human world is a great place to live."
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