ABOUT OUR TRAINERS
& Crew

Meet your Off Leash K9 Staff

The Absolute BEST Trainers and Support Team in East Tennessee!

Fallon H.
Owner/Director/Head Trainer
OLK9 of the South

Fallon has always believed in “walking what you talk,” and leading by example. She is a firm believer in education, whether it be for dogs or people, and has always believed in finding an answer for every question through through study, research, and experience.

An animal lover from the time she was too young to toddle, Fallon spent her childhood bringing home strays, training and rehabilitating them, and competing on horseback in 3-Day Events, before later deciding to turn her attention towards animal welfare and rescue as a teenager after spending time volunteering with the local shelter.

That passion is what led her to start the longest running Doberman Pinscher rescue in the state of TN, Tennessee Doberman Rescue Plus (www.TDR.dog), and attain her MBA degree while running a rescue, working full time, getting married to the love of her life, and having a child. In the 10+ years since founding TDR+, Fallon has personally been hands on in the rescue of thousands of dogs (and still counting), and has grown the organization from a fledgling group of fosters – to a 501(c)3 rescue with volunteers and fosters throughout the southeast.

Also, as a business owner and self-admitted dog nerd, Fallon runs multiple locations for OLK9 and recently opened Essential Pet Health, LLC (which focuses on a whole-dog approach to nutrition, safety via First Aid & CPR training, and rehabilitation). She is also an AKC Evaluator, TPU Evaluator, certified PetTech First Aid, CPR, & PetSafety Instructor, and member of the APDT, DPCA, DPCN, UDC, and NDTC. Fallon is an active competitor in Scent Work trials (having titled her Doberman, Drachen, into Master’s level with the AKC), specializes in aggression management and medical alert detection training (service dog training), and is bio-dog certified through the In Situ Foundation for cancer detection training.

Fallon currently operates OLK9 locations throughout the southern US – from West Virginia to southern Alabama – and spends quality time with each of them throughout the year on continuing education and ensuring that our clients and their dogs get only the absolute best training available from our family of K9 Trainers. She strives to ensure that when you choose one of her locations to help with training, that your dog is treated like family (because they deserve no less).

Due to her heavy travel schedule, Fallon only takes on select clients for Board and Train options throughout the year, but is always ready to schedule phone calls (or in-person assistance as needed) for clients when they need a bit more help with behavioral issues, health & nutrition, understanding why their dogs act the way they do, service dog laws, training procedures, and more!

Fallon is an AKC Evaluator, Certified Bio-Dog Trainer (Cancer and Medical Alert Detection), Certified Pet First Aid & CPR Instructor, Pet Nutrition Counselor, and member of the APDT (Association of Professional Dog Trainers), DPCA (Doberman Pinscher Club of America), DPCN (Doberman Pinscher Club of Nashville), UDC (United Doberman Club), and the NDTC (Nashville Dog Training Club).


Shannon T.
Knoxville Senior Trainer
OLK9 of the South

Shannon brings a valuable combination of life skills to the OLK9 team! With her history as a social worker and special needs adoption coordinator for children and teens in state custody for over 20 years, Shannon understands what it takes to help those dealing with traumatic life experiences. Shannon has always been drawn to “dog people”, and it’s no secret that her life-long passion has been working with animals.

Shannon was involved with numerous all-breed dog rescue organizations from the late 90’s until around 2007 when she really chose to focus on German Shepherds. While she is no longer active in dog rescue (as she is choosing to focus all of her energy into rescue through training), she served as the longest running area coordinator with Southeast German Shepherd Rescue and is still very much active as a cat foster for kittens in need through Feral Feline Friends. Shannon has always believed in giving back to animals in need, and has made her her life’s passion.

As a Senior Trainer with Off Leash Knoxville, Shannon often takes on more advanced and challenging training work – including Service Dog clients, Therapy Dogs for funeral homes and other similar businesses where they are desperately needed, Emotional Support Animals for children in transition, and more! Her compassionate approach to working with her clients has gained Shannon a serious following in Knoxville, while her ability to think “outside of the box” has also earned her a reputation as the go-to trainer in Knoxville for all dogs and clients that really need a fresh approach.

When not actively working with dogs or her clients, Shannon can often be found downtown enjoying the Knoxville city life or out in the woods hiking, camping, and kayaking!

Shannon is Pet First Aid & CPR trained and is both an AKC and TPU Evaluator.


Morgan H.
Sevierville Professional Trainer
OLK9 of the South

While most of her friends were getting their first babysitting jobs, when Morgan was a child she was lining up her very first dog-sitting jobs! In high school, she began volunteering at her local no-kill shelter, Pets Without Parents, at the age of 14, 2 years earlier than they usually accepted volunteers (16 was usually the minimum age) due to her work ethic and effort! Later, they ended up hiring her on as a full time staff member, where she worked until she started college.

After graduating with her degree, Morgan went to work as a corporate retail manager where she focused on sales and marketing. However, it wasn’t long before she realized that she just wasn’t happy – her calling was working with dogs and anything less just wouldn’t cut it. So, on her days off she started walking and training dogs for clients, before eventually starting a cleaning service that included pet care for clients that needed a little help with both their homes and their pets!

With all that motivation, passion for pets and animal welfare, and a ton of amazing reviews from clients of hers – it wasn’t long before Morgan was scouted and hired to join the OLK9 Team as one of our own! Now, Morgan is not only bringing amazing obedience to the dogs of Sevierville and their owners, but also pursuing her interest in agility and scent work as well!

In her spare time, Morgan is an active member in her local American Legion and enjoys working with her two Goldendoodles – Georgia and Memphis. Morgan is Pet First Aid & CPR Trained, and her AKC and TPU Evaluator applications are pending.



Becky J.
Knoxville & Middle TN Senior Trainer
OLK9 of the South

Since she was a little girl, Becky has had a love for all animals but has always been drawn specifically to dogs. Growing up and into early adulthood her best friend was a one-eyed stray named Scooter, and over the years she’s provided a loving home to multiple rescued dogs in need.

Before becoming a trainer with OLK9, Becky worked for 17 years as a Healthcare Administrator. In 2015, she adopted Gina, a Mixed Breed, from Monroe County Shelter. Gina and Becky completed training together through Off Leash K9 Training. Through this process, Becky realized a new calling had been revealed to her in dog training. She and Gina continued to work together and went on to enter the HABIT (Human Animal Bond In Tennessee) Program. They visited patients in local assisted-living facilities together, and Gina later became a Therapy Dog for the Primary Care office Becky managed. Sadly, Gina passed away in January 2019 from cancer. But, through their amazing relationship, Becky was able to realize her true calling. She became a full-time trainer with OLK9 in November 2017 and is also an AKC Evaluator.

Becky is the co-founder of RescuesForJoJo, a 501(c)(3) non-profit all-breed rescue in Knoxville. Through her tireless work, she has helped save the lives of hundreds of wonderful dogs who would have otherwise been euthanized. She has utilized her knowledge in training to rehabilitate dogs from shelters who have been deemed “unadoptable” for various different reasons, all of which have been adopted into wonderful homes. She has a son named Cooper, and a family of rescue dogs she loves very much.

Becky is Pet First Aid & CPR trained and is an AKC Evaluator.


Sarah M.
Knoxville & Middle TN Senior Trainer
OLK9 of the South

Being around dogs her entire life, Sarah has always had a soft spot for any animal that truly needed help, especially dogs. At a very young age, Sarah’s parents instilled compassion towards animals in need. Any dog or cat found without a loving home were always brought in and given care and shelter, until a new home could be found. As Sarah got older, her capacity for care did not change, but her capabilities did! Sarah began fostering for Tennessee Doberman Rescue and helped rehabilitate behaviorally troubled dogs through the use of positive reinforcement training. Sarah helped guide these foster dogs through the behaviors that made them less adoptable, into finding their forever homes.

As a trainer, Sarah’s passion remains with the dogs whose spirits have been broken. Sarah understands that obedience is a staple in keeping troublesome dogs with their right family and forever home. Sarah strives to guide these dogs back to a place where they enjoy life, and where their family can enjoy them. Her commitment to keeping pets with their families is evident in her work with difficult cases, but her passion for preventing undesirable behavior before it ever manifests into an issue is what keeps her busy day in and day out with behavioral modification training.

Added: During her time as an OLK9 Trainer, Sarah has focused on Service Dog work and Aggression Management, which is a natural progression for her compassionate approach to training. Sarah works to build a great relationship with all of her clients, and always conveys the importance of the bond between the pet and pet owner, as well. Building these relationships works for all forms of training, and is especially important to service training clients that need only the best.

Sarah is Pet First Aid & CPR trained and is both an AKC and TPU Evaluator.


Vanessa P.
Knoxville Professional Trainer
OLK9 of the South

Vanessa recognized her connection with dogs at a very young age, and knew that she wanted to have them in her life as much as possible. Vanessa started training dogs 10 years ago. She gained experience working with dogs by fostering for her local animal shelter in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. By helping some of their harder-to-adopt dogs improve their manners and behavior, she watched how training saved lives and increased a dog’s ability to find a perfect home. She also operated her own small business focusing on obedience training. Vanessa sought growth in knowledge and opportunity, and set out to join the OLK9 team. In September 2017, Vanessa joined Off Leash K9 Knoxville and has since built a following of clients that love her common sense approach to Aggression Management and her experience with Positive Reinforcement training for the dogs that need it.

Vanessa is a full time dog trainer and a full-time mother of a wonderful little boy and her pack of 4 pups. In her increments of free time, Vanessa enjoys crafting and spending time with her family, her friends, and her dogs: Snoopy, Helios, Nero, and Isis. Vanessa genuinely believes that training is always the right choice for pet owners. For her, she has seen first-hand that training is so much more than tricks that a dog can do, although trick-training is a bonus for the dogs who master basic obedience. She believes that real obedience training is a bond that you develop with your dog, and a trust that you build. Real obedience results in a dog that connects with you under all circumstances. Training is the part of dog ownership that makes the experience enjoyable rather than stressful.

Vanessa is Pet First Aid & CPR trained and is both an AKC and TPU Evaluator.


Vashti W.
Knoxville Professional Trainer
OLK9 of the South

As a child, Vashti always had a love for animals. Growing up on rural farmland in East Michigan, her parents trusted her with caring for her first dog, Chloe. Since then, she has always enjoyed the companionship and responsibility of dog ownership.

Vashti later moved to Texas, where she worked as a horse wrangler and counselor for a children’s camp and worked on the farm, helping care for the various animals and working with the kids.

Vashti returned home a few years later and adopted another Jack Russell Terrier whom she named “Sous Sous”, like the ballet term (as she was a ballet dancer and instructor most of her life). She then met her husband Jeffrey, and the two adopted two brindle Pitt Bulls named Kingsley and Josie. Moving to Knoxville in the fall of 2015, Vashti began fostering dogs through the local rescue, RescuesForJojo before joining Off Leash as a trainer in spring of 2018.

With her love of dogs and their owners, Vashti hopes to empower and inspire all dog lovers to live their best lives through obedience training and dog-life coaching. She continues to passionately pursue her path as a trainer and hopes to help families build strong bonds with their canine companions, using the various methods she has perfected over years of experience working with animals.

Vashti is Pet First Aid & CPR trained and is both an AKC and TPU Evaluator.


Alex M.
Knoxville Professional Trainer
OLK9 of the South

Alex began her working life with nearly two years of Positive Reinforcement Dog Training before joining the OLK9 family, but her love for training dogs began as a child. Alex was raised with a Dutch Shepherd Police K9 who sparked her interest in dog training at a young age.

Alex is one of six children, and is a dog mom to three: a Siberian Husky name Winnie McKinney, a Belgian Malinois named Rocky, and a rescued Poodle named Teddy. She loves her dogs, but nothing compares to her love for her Mimi. Her Mimi has played a huge role in shaping her into the person she is today, someone who loves her family, friends, and helping animals. When not working with dogs, or visiting Mimi, Alex enjoys being outside, going hiking, spending time on the lake, and devouring chips and queso.

Since joining OLK9, Alex has jumped at the opportunity to help families see what their dogs are capable of, strengthening families’ relationships with their dogs. She loves that through Off Leash, she is able to bring out the best in every dog, regardless of size, behavioral issues, or even previous traumatic experiences. The absolute best part of the job for her is strengthening every single client/dog relationship.

Alex loves disproving the common misconception that training will take away the personality of a dog. She enjoys demonstrating how training helps a dog find a positive way to channel their energy, while preserving their sillines or goofiness. That is why training is so great. It gives them something to do, strengthens the bond between the dog and the owner, and most importantly… gives the dog a job to do.

Alex will be the biggest encourager for you and your dog, and anyone that finds themselves in her class will hear the same message over and over: “Be your dog’s cheerleader! Be here to let them know they are doing a great job!” Alex is a valuable member of the team, and we love having her here to show families that their dogs work for the love and encouragement of their humans.


Sandra M.
Senior Trainer & Business Development
OLK9 of the South

Sandra was raised in a military family and from a young age, has had the opportunity to travel worldwide and develop her passion for dogs with each new adventure. Her previous experience as a veterinarian technician afforded her the opportunity to work very closely with other staff members in every facet of veterinary medicine from simple animal care and feeding to assistance in surgical procedures. During her time in this position, she was able to gain knowledge and insight which remains a valuable asset to her and the dogs she loves. 

Sandra’s love for dogs continued to grow in her adult life. Not only is she an incredible dog trainer, but she has also devoted much of her personal time and expense to rehabilitation and veterinary care for animals in need throughout the years. Once recovered, she screened possible families to find each animal a happy fur-ever home.

After several years of rescuing animals on her own, Sandra took steps toward involvement in a formal rescue organization. After searching and careful deliberation, Sandra became connected with For Petes Sake Animal Rescue. She enjoys the fulfillment of being a force for positive change in the lives of the animals and the people who adopt them so passionately that she still works with them at every available opportunity.

Sandra considers herself and advocate for the frequently misunderstood Pit Bull breed and is delighted to have two of these amazing dogs as her own family pets.

After years of rescue, Sandra made the steps forward with her passion for dogs, to training dogs professionally with the goal of providing a better quality bond between owner and pet. She uses her skills to help dogs become more adoptable in rescue and to decrease the incidence of shelter placements of dogs by owners who felt they had no other choice before Sandra came into their lives.

As a trainer, Sandra regularly attends continuing education workshops to bring the very best to each client and to serve the needs of every dog. Her extended education includes Service Dog training, Narcotic Detection training, and Mantrailing training through the AMPWDA (American Mantrailing, Police & Work Dog Association). Sandra has always been and will always be each dog’s biggest champion and each owner’s greatest resource.

Sandra is both an AKC and TPU Evaluator.


Lauren H.
Business Development
OLK9 of the South

Lauren grew up with a love for animals. Watching Animal Planet, and being inspired by Steve Irwin, she knew that one day she’d make a career working with animals. During her high school years, Lauren worked at vet clinics, beginning as a Kennel Assistant and working her way into a Veterinary Technician position. Lauren also spent her four years in high school volunteering at animal shelters.

As a child, her family would not allow dogs in the house, so Lauren’s goal when moving out was to find her first dog. Her first year of college Lauren adopted a border collie puppy named “Kira”.

After college, Lauren took a job in the local school district teaching high school Biology, Ecology, Bioethics, and Environmental Science. It was during this time that she realized that she’d rather be working as a scientist instead of teaching it. After a lull between various temporary teaching positions, she began an internship with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, in the Water Division. With her experience at TDEC, she facilitated community tours at the local water plant, and hosted community events to teach kids about environmental conservation and water quality.

She and her husband founded a small rescue organization called “Good Shepherd Rescue”, where they both worked to rehabilitate aggressive and abused dogs and find new homes for them. Her experience coordinating events with her corporate position, along with her individual efforts with Good Shepherd Rescue, grabbed their attention at Off Leash K9 Training.

Lauren now helps manage several social media pages for the Off Leash K9 Training sites and other business development aspects. Lauren is a certified AKC CGC, ATT and Therapy Pets Unlimited Evaluator. In her free time, she works with her border collie/lab mix, “Cain” and border collie “Ripley”, with goals of working in competitive herding and AKC confirmation shows. She also does monthly Therapy Pet visits at local assisted care facilities with Cain and German Shepherd, Valhalla. She is one of the first point of contacts to help future clients get started in their training journey, and she enjoys the connections she makes with folks every day to help them reach their dog’s full potential.

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