Features


Snapshot: Michele McLeod

Published: July 21, 2017 at 12:00 am

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Michele McLeod is this week's Snapshot profile.
Michele McLeod is this week's Snapshot profile.
Occupation: I'm retired from the medical field. Now I'm doing my passion, which is working with dogs. I work with several different rescue organizations, both locally and down in Manhattan. Through my Sirius Positive Dog Training I help dogs with behavioral issues and help them become adoptable. I also work with families and their own dogs. I've studied with several amazing mentors, including James French in the UK and Suzanne Clothier. I work on a positive training model; that does not mean a permissive model where the dog runs the house. It's about positive leadership and engaging the dogs so they are your partner and are not behaving out of fear. They are motivated to want to do whatever they can to be your best companion. It's a relationship on both ends of the leash.

Family: I grew up in California, and my family is still out there. I have a 25-year-old daughter, Lara, who just graduated from Franklin & Marshall College with a degree in classics.

Pets: I have a very smart rescue thoroughbred/quarter horse cross named Ranger, who was on his way to the meat market when I got him. I have a lovely rescue donkey named Chica, who's Ranger's pasture buddy. I have a young Andalusian gelding named Nepote, who's very sweet. I have a beautiful barn cat named Sammy, who had been from a feral kitten litter that couldn't be socialized, so I took him as a barn cat from The Animal Center. My two indoor cats are my sweet quiet Drewbery and my blind cat, Ray Charles. He's completely unaware of the fact that he is blind and is the first to explore new things. I'm fostering Tyler for Best Friends Animal Society, who is looking for his forever home. He loves the water, and I've started taking him to the beach in West Haven and to Deep Brook. I have a cute golden in my house named Chewie, who I'm training to be an emotional support dog for a 10-year-old autistic boy. It's a full house, but it is a very happy home.

How long have you lived in Newtown? After I finished college at Berkley and moved out in '85 with some friends to New England for "a year." I fell in love with the East Coast and decided to stay for medical school at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. I moved to Newtown in 2004 when my daughter and I had been looking for a small property where we could have our horses on the premises. We bought a little five-and-a-half-acre farm, which we call Rainbow's End Farm, and it's been a wonderful adventure. Lara and I got to realize our dream together here in Newtown.

What do you like to do in your free time? I love spending time with the dogs, training and going to new places with them. Also, I'm in the process of finishing my CPDT, one of the most highly respected dog certification programs.

Do you have a favorite book? Suzanne Clothier's book, If Dog's Prayers Were Answered, Bones Would Rain From The Sky. I also love The Art of Racing In The Rain.

What is your favorite travel destination? I just got back this fall from a month in the UK. I was in England, Ireland, Wales, and Scotland. My ancient heritage is from the Isle of Skye, so I finally got to see the Dunvegan Castle, which is the ancestral castle of the McLeod family.

What is the best part about Newtown? From the very first day we moved here, people were friendly. The day we had our closing for the farm, our realtor directed us to Big Y so we could get our groceries, and we found people smiled and said hello. It was so different than where we'd been living. We also like that people can participate and contribute to the town. I was on the Tickborn Disease Action Committee and after that worked on the Conservation Commission.

Who has been the greatest influence in your life? My father. That's where I learned how precious life is and to appreciate it.

If you could spend the day with one person, who would you choose and why? Suzanne Clothier. She's brilliant. She's an amazing behavior dog trainer, who has an incredible depth of knowledge.

Who are your favorite musical artists? Mary Chapin Carpenter and Sloan Wainwright.

What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever been given? Don't look back or dwell on things. Always stay positive and appreciate everyday.

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This Week's Poll

Newtown Cultural Arts Commission is presenting or coordinating on six weeks of special events. Which event are you looking forward to the most? (Visit our Features page for a full story with details about all of these events.)

“In The Bag” exhibition, on view to September 28
0% (0 votes)
The Lords of 52nd Street concert, September 14
0% (0 votes)
Newtown Arts Festival weekend, September 15-16
25% (1 vote)
“An Evening of the Arts,” September 15
50% (2 votes)
“The Fox on the Fairway” production by Town Players of Newtown, weekends September 21-October 13
0% (0 votes)
“The Main Street Replica Project,” launching September 25
0% (0 votes)
Someday Cinema Series screenings of “The Blues Brothers,” September 30
0% (0 votes)
Photography display “In Our Rearview Mirror” by Marleen Cafarelli, et al, October 1-30
0% (0 votes)
“Love, Laughter, and Rhubarb” with Tinky Weisblat, October 3
25% (1 vote)
Newtown Day, October 6
0% (0 votes)
The 3rd Annual Newtown-Sandy Hook Restaurant Week, October 8-14
0% (0 votes)
Basket weaving workshop with Tina Puckett, October 13
0% (0 votes)
“Courageous Conversations in A Complex World,” October 17
0% (0 votes)
Live at ETH: David Wax Museum concert, October 19
0% (0 votes)
The 2nd Annual Fall Carnival at Fairfield Hills, October 19-21
0% (0 votes)
Connecticut Author’s Reading Series, October 21
0% (0 votes)
Natalie’s Open Mic, October 21
0% (0 votes)
“The Wordsmiths,” October 24
0% (0 votes)
Pianist Konstanza Chernov, October 28
0% (0 votes)
Someday Cinema Series double feature screenings of “Bride of Frankenstein” and “The Beast with Five Fingers,” October 29
0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 4