Abby Hill, CPDT-KA

We emphasize positive, reward-based methods to make dog training fun for both dogs and owners.

Abby Hill CPDT-KA

Abby was one of the first people in CT to become a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) through the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT). She was also at the very first Rally competition where she not only won multiple classes but earned the highest title possible, Magnum Cum Laude 1. Since then she has competed on a National Level in multiple disciplines including AKC Rally and Obedience.  Abby is the owner of The Exceptional Pet, the Founder and Director of  The Exceptional Sidekick Service Dogs and Therapy Dogs, as well as being an AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator and a Member of the National Association of Canine Scent Work.


Abby is a big believer in continuing education and professional development. Every year she travels to workshops and seminars with some of the leading trainers in the field. Over the years, she has taken courses from such experts as Dr. Ian Dunbar, Suzanne Clothier, Pia Silvani, and Sue Sternberg, and Denise Fenzi.  She regularly attends conferences and classes to try to learn new, exciting techniques and loves to learn from the thousands of dogs that she has trained over the years. She lives with her 3 kids, 3 dogs, 7 chickens, 1 tortoise, 1 hamster, a constant rotation of sService Dogs in Training, and a very patient husband.

Wendy Lewis CPDT-KA

Wendy is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, CPDT-KA, through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, (CCPDT), AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator and former Lead Trainer at Danbury Animal Welfare Society (DAWS).  She became interested in training after adopting her first dog Buddy, who was not the easiest dog. Instead of giving up on him, she went to work to train him and discovered she loved training. She expanded her knowledge by volunteering at several different rescues on the more fearful, energetic cases. From there she helped start a rescue locally. She would have at risk dogs live with her while she evaluated and trained them in order to find the best match for adoption possible. She concentrated on pitbulls and successfully found homes for 50 dogs in the first year. She continues to be very involved with rescue, often having fosters in her home that need a little extra training.  Wendy actively competes with her dogs in AKC Agility but has also competed in AKC Rally and Obedience.


Her passion is to show dog owners how to make a connection to their dog through positive training. She loves to see when students grow with their dogs as they navigate the training process and figure out how each individual dog learns.

Between her rescue work, teaching classes, and traveling for private lessons she manages to keep up on the ever evolving dog world through seminars and workshops. She shares her home with 6 rescue dogs, 2 kitties, a rat, and numerous fosters.

Kristen Alesevich CPDT-KA

Kristen began her journey with dogs in high school when she started working for a local kennel. Shocked by two dogs who had been permanently boarded because their families deemed them unsafe, she began researching ways to help them. This led to a love of dog training which has never subsided.


After college Kristen began working at Guiding Eyes for the Blind where she was lucky enough to learn from Suzanne Clothier, who was helping to revamp much of the way the puppies were being raised. Beginning her time there in the breeding and cryogenics department, she eventually transitioned to the role of Central CT Region Coordinator which among other things, teaches classes for all puppies placed in the region from 6 weeks to 18 months. She remained until having children, at which time she decided to stay home, but maintained her relationship with Guiding Eyes as a volunteer.


Kristen is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, CPDT-KA, through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, (CCPDT), and is a AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator. She believes watching relationships blossom between people and their dogs through positive training is an amazing gift, and that learning should never stop. Kristen is a lifetime Connecticut resident who shares her zoo home with her husband, 3 kids, 3 resident dogs, 1 service dog in training, 6 chickens, 2 cats, and 1 fish.


Kristen has most recently been excited to help start the Exceptional Sidekick Service Dog Organization, right here in Newtown. She finds being a part of something that will change lives in our own backyards both humbling and inspiring.

Donna McNerney CPDT-KA, CCDT

Donna is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, (CCPDT), is a CATCH Certified Dog Trainer, (CCDT), AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator and a Service Dog and Therapy Dog trainer with The Exceptional Sidekick Service Dogs and Therapy Dogs.  She became interested in training after seeing and experiencing the devistation that comes along with having a reactive dog. That experience taught her about the complexities of the canine brain and the best way to communicate with dogs that do not feel safe in new situations. It is an experience that all dog trainers should have to go through to learn about the human side of training dogs and all the emotions that go along with it.


While supervising and working the daycare floor at Wags Doggie Daycare and Boarding for the past 2 years Donna was also apprenticing with The Exceptional Pet and learning about all of the different aspects of training from handling aggressive dogs to (her favorite) helping new puppy owners feel comfortable with their new family member.


Donna has been passionate about rescue for many years and is the loving mom to two wonderful rescue dogs, Kasey Ann and Wilber James, as well as her two cats,

Boots and Leo.

3 Simm Lane, Newtown, CT  06470

Certified Dog Traininer and Aggression Specialist for Fairfield County, Connecticut:  Newtown, Brookfield, Bethel, Danbury, New Fairfield, Wilton, Ridgefield

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