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Carrie Kessler, CPDT-KA

Carrie Kessler, CPDT-KACarrie Kessler attended her first dog training class at age 10 and has engaged in continuing education in the field ever since.

Carrie began volunteering at the Little Rock Animal Services shelter in 2004, working with the dogs to make them more adoptable. In 2006, she began training her own dogs in agility, studying under Lisa Mantle, and in 2009, she began training dogs professionally, specializing in basic obedience and “family manners.”

Carrie has attended several dog training workshops, seminars and courses,  studying under Dr. Patricia McConnell, Dana Crevling, Pia Silvanti, Sue Sternberg, Jane Kopelman, Brenda Aloff and Steve Wilson to name a few.

In 2010, she completed the Instructor Training Course in New York offered by Dogs of Course.

In 2011, she attended a week-long course in Georgia for K-9 Nose Work and also attended the Association of Pet Dog Trainers Conference in San Diego, California.

She is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and has attained her Professional Dog Trainer certification.

“My training methods focus on positive reinforcement and honor each dog as an individual,” Carrie said.

In addition to her dog training interests, Carrie trained horses professionally from 1979 to 1986.

Carrie can be reached at

Tracy Owen, CSDT-KA

Tracy Owen

Tracy Owen has been professionally training dogs since 2016. She was also one of the very first inmate trainers chosen for the Paws in Prison program in 2011-2014 while at the Hawkins Women's Unit.

From 2014-2016, Tracy began working with Sheridan Animal Control at the Sheriff’s Department through the ADC work release program. Upon Tracy's arrival she immediately started to turn the facility around. She found forever homes for over 360 dogs, and not a single dog was euthanized during her time there.

Tracy paroled out to Last Chance Arkansas in 2016 and has been rescuing dogs ever since. She has been certified through Paws 4 Hope as service and public access trainer and is an AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluator. She’s had two service dogs certified and is working on her third. Tracy now her own training business, Dogs-a-must.

Tracy has recently returned to prison, but in a completely different light. She has joined the team of professional trainers at Paws in Prison and is now giving back to the program that gave her the opportunity to find her calling in life.

Tracy is available for private training sessions and can be reached by phone at 501-804-3995 or by emailing       


Clay Smith

Clay Smith has been training and handling dogs professionally for over 18 years. He specializes in police narcotics detection and patrol dogs in addition to training in many dog sports. Clay is a professional law enforcement instructor, a national police K9 certifying official, a NACSW certified Nosework Judge, an AKC Scent work Judge. 

Clay is the owner and lead instructor at Clay’s Top Dog, where he concentrates on obedience and behavior modifications, in addition to heading up the law enforcement training at the Little Rock K-9 Academy.  

For more information about Clay's Top Dog, please visit Clay can be reached by phone at (501) 450-0810 or by emailing




Leslie Dew, C.V.T., AKC CGC-E, APDT, O.D.O.R Service Dogs, Inc

Leslie Dew is a Certified Veterinary Technician and professional dog trainer with over 20 years of experience in the field.

Leslie worked as a C.V.T. for nine years before deciding to focus on training. She has worked obedience training, privately and in group classes, since 1995.  After a successful career in veterinary medicine, she worked at a local hospital for 11 years. While working full time, she kept an active C.V.T. License and continued to train as often as possible. 

Since developing Celiac Disease in 2015, Leslie now is learning how to train food allergy alert dogs. She enjoys training her Gluten Detection Dog (and former PIP Graduate), Buddy, and educating people about Celiac Disease and helping those that have the disease. She regularly speaks in the local community on the importance of proper vetting and manners for dogs and educates the public about proper approach methods for working dogs and handlers.

Leslie began training for Paws in Prison in 2016 at the North Central Unit. Over the last two years, she has developed an incredible passion for the program.

Leslie is available for staff education, speaking events, or private training sessions. She can be reached by emailing or via Facebook.


Cecil Brannon

Cecil Brannon is the founding owner and head trainer of K9 Experience of Arkansas. He is a veteran of the US Navy in which he served for twenty years. He began his dog training twenty years ago under the tutelage of Anthony Smith at Little Rock K9 Academy. He specialized in civilian protection work, obedience, law enforcement patrol work, and eventually expanded on to narcotics detection.

Cecil is an incredible trainer that has a natural ability for imprinting young pups in preparation of work. He has worked dogs at Lackland Air Force Base and taken a training course with the world renowned trainer Koos Hassing of the Netherlands. His growth into service dogs for veterans has completed his transformation into an experienced and well-rounded trainer.

Dogs have always had a special place in Cecil's heart and it moves him to assist any dog owner to bring out a dogs natural working ability. He is always motivated by an eager dog and a willing handler. A world where dog owners are trained to increase the natural working ability of their dogs is a world worth striving for indeed.

For more information about K9 Experience of Arkansas, please visit Cecil can be reached by phone at (501) 541-0201 or by emailing

Paws in Prison is a non-profit program of the Arkansas Department of Correction. Make your tax-deductible donations today and save the lives of dogs. Thanks!

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Arkansas Department of Correction
6814 Princeton Pike
Pine Bluff, AR 71602
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