It's a good day for Dogs!
HEAD COACH & NADD JUDGE
After working in the software industry for 30 years, Eric retired to play with dogs. His specialty is Big Dog Behavior. Quote: "It's amazing to watch their behaviors and emotions, everything a dog does has a purpose. It's fun to see how they make friendships and wrestle like kids. Coolwag is truely an amusement park for dogs."
Eric's childhood dog was named Punk (changed and shortened from Pumpkin), a German Shepherd who followed him everywhere, chased cars and lived to a ripe old age of 15. His first dog as an adult was Deeker who loved to swim, would fetch any stick thrown and was a long distance Frisbee catcher. His current dogs are Lambo, a Cane Corso and Pixie, a Border Collie. Both are DFL veterans.
Outside of work, Eric loves to read, uses lots of open source software, plays in a old men's hockey league, takes dog walks and bikes the trails of Bentonville. His family nickname is Wag.
HEATHER WEGNER, NADD JUDGE, AKC CGC EVALUATOR, CPDT-KA
Heather grew up in Garfield, AR and went to Rogers High School. Then graduated and immediately left to go to the big cities and travel the world as an IT Professional and Project Manager.
Growing up, she was always surrounded by pets and her favorite was Corky the Pug who would fly with her in a hand bag. Heather married Eric, returned to Arkansas and have 2 wonderful kids who work at Coolwag sometimes.
Heather has a B.S. in HR and Workforce Management from the UofA, has been training dogs for over 20 years and is a NADD Judge, AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Evaluator and holds the CPDT-KA Certification.
Heather is also a PETTech Pet CPR & First Aid Instructor who keeps our staff up-to-date on how to care for pets in emergency and first aid situations.
BUSINESS MANAGER & NADD JUDGE
A California transplant who has been in Arkansas for over 3 years and loving it. As an animal lover with a corporate background, she has found the purrrfect job as our Business Manager. When not at work, she enjoys spending time with the family.
She keeps Heather from going crazy and always knows where everything is!
NICOLE, AKC CGC EVALUATOR
Originally from Chicago, she has lived in NWA for the past 8 years. With over 20 years as a Management Professional. Working with animals is her true passion.
She has vast experience with service dog training and has over 10 years working with Canine Companions for Independence and Soldier ON Service Dogs. She also served on the Board of Directors for Spay Arkansas.
Nicole is a certified Professional Dog Trainer and is a AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator. She will receive her CPDT-KA certification in the first quarter of 2021.
Nicole's kind calm and intentional personality soothes and catches the attention of any dog she encounters. She gives 110% in everything she takes on. She enjoys meeting new challenges.
After working with a dog and his/her family, she says there is nothing better than seeing the progress and breakthroughs in just one session.
Nichole loves working with pet dogs, service dogs and their people.
MANAGER AND NADD JUDGE
Desarae began working at Coolwag in 2018 as a Dog Handler and worked her way up to being Manager. She has taken Pet First Aid and CPR classes, always looking to improve the care of the dogs and loves the dogs as if they were her own. She has 5 dogs named Amara, Neveah, Lilly, Sugar and little Jerry.
Desarae goes above and beyond. An example is that she built a wheelchair for one of our guests who had no mobility in their hind legs. It worked! She is innovative and always willing to try something new to help a dog overcome shyness or learn how to play with manners. She is amazing with the dogs and humans and they all love her.
LIAM DEDERICH, MANAGER
Liam loves the dogs.. LOVES them! and they love him. Liam is studying Physical Therapy in college during the week and Manages our team of dog handlers and trainers during the weekends and holidays. We love him!