About Us

Tails are wagging and having fun at Camp Gone to the Dogs!

All Photographs © Steve Surfman Photography

A special invite to Owners of New Puppies-BRING THEM! There’s no better start your pups could have than Camp Gone to the Dogs.

All breeds or mixes of dogs are welcome.

Bring your canine senior citizens and enjoy quality time in lectures and walks with them. You may even discover that your veteran has some hidden talents just waiting to be discovered at Camp. You CAN teach an old dog new tricks!

Our Training Philosophy

Our guiding principles are kindness, fairness and love. We use only positive training methods— treats, toys, play and petting. If it’s not fun for your dog, we won’t do it.

Our Instructors

Camp’s instructors are not just “on” the cutting edge, they ARE the cutting edge. If there’s a way to make it enjoyable for dogs to learn, they’ll find it. They have received national acclaim, written books, given international seminars and run training centers. Training with Camp’s instructors will spoil you. When you see how enthusiastically and joyously your dog learns when you teach positively, you won’t want to train any other way.

Mare Potts, Camp Director

Mare graduated from the University of Wisconsin – LaCrosse with a B.S. in Recreation Administration and a M.S. in Educational Media.   She trained to be a Camp Director, Parks and Recreation Manager, Outdoor Education Leader and Educational Media Specialist.  Mare’s passion for training dogs has taken her on many adventures that include Obedience, Flyball, K9 Disc and more.

She and her dogs starred in the MagRack Disc Dog Training DVD, appeared in Animal Planet’s Best Dog Friendly Destinations, the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge, NBC Sunday Morning News show and more.

Mare is a dog trainer that stresses positive, motivational training methods.  Several of her dogs attend Camp with her, Cote, Bryte, Echo and Trek.

Beverly Blanchard KPA-CTP

Bev writes “Dogs are my passion that is also a family affair.  I have been working and showing dogs since I was eight, when I got my first dog and showed in 4-H.  My grandfather trained dogs, taught my mom who taught me to work with dogs.  With my dogs, I have enjoyed participating in almost every dog sport at some time or another but prefer freestyle since I feel it gives you the closest relationship with your dog.  I have mostly had sporting dogs (Labrador and Golden Retrievers, Irish Setter, German Wirehaired Pointers) but have also had two Border Terriers and my mixed breed dog, Vinnie.  “Sonic (my BT) was only four months old when he participated in Camp for the first time and it was an experience I won’t ever forget!  He learned so much, had such a great time and taught me equally as much about learning!”  By starting freestyle at Camp, he became the youngest dog to receive a traditional freestyle title in the World Canine Freestyle Organization.  He then went on to become one of the highest titled small dogs in our sport.  I also enjoy judging freestyle which gives me the opportunity to judge people all over the world.  I am currently employed at Leader Dogs for the Blind as the manager for Puppy Development and feel honored that I can use my dog training skills to help others and have in my 20 year career there.  My latest addition to my canine family is “Wink” a German Wirehaired Pointer.  Together we have been to dog shows all over the country as well as Westminster Dog show where she earned an Award of Merit at just 21 months old and continues to burn up the conformation ring as well as the bird field!  In order to continue to work with my dogs as well as those I instruct, early in 2014 I completed my Karen Pryor Certified Training Partner certification.

Clyde Closson

I’m thrilled t have been invited back to Camp this year as a member of the Agility Staff.  They and all of you, are such a joy to work with.  I’ve been actively competing in agility now for 14 years, the last 6 with my 8 year old Golden Retriever MACH Pine Run’s Liv’n It Up, SF, ADHF, OD aka “Olivia”.  I’ve been competing with my 3 year old boy, Fast Trak Natural Born Thriller, AX, MXJ aka “Brash” for the past 2 years.  I am a member of the Keystone Agility Club and have been reaching beginning, advanced and master level classes now for the past 11 years.  Besides my passion for agility, I enjoy working our Retrievers in the field where they get the opportunity to sharpen their natural marking and retrieving talents.  In addition to Olivia and Brash, my wife and I share our home and love with five other Golden Retrievers.  Like all of you, I’m here to have a ton of fun and enjoy the company of good people and their K9 companions.  If there is absolutely any way that I can be assistance to you during your Camp experience or if you just want to talk agility, please don’t hesitate to see me.  Let the games begin!

Susan Brogan


Christina Curtis

Christina has been involved with dogs for over 13 years. She started out volunteering at a high kill shelter and then realized her passion for saving fearful and high energy dogs and became involved in rescue work. She started assisting training classes at the shelter and moved on to running the classes. Christina decided to find an outlet for her high energy foster dogs and became involved in the sport of disc. She found her passion in traveling and competing in this sport. Christina has a 2006 World Champion disc dog, along with many World Qualifying dogs over the years. In addition, she placed 2nd and 3rd at Worlds doing pairs routines and 3rd in Worlds with her micro dog.

Christina started teaching Manners, Reactive dog and trick classes at a doggie daycare. In addition, to these classes she does private inhome lessons and private disc dog lessons.

She shares her life with 10 rescue dogs and always has one foster dog. She now performs with these dogs doing disc, tricks and dock diving shows all over the United States. The last three years she performed at the Indianapolis Zoo for 8months each year.

Christina has also recently started working for a Service dog company. She brings home dogs to train and socialize.

She has learned so much by having several different breeds. She has Border Collies, Cattle dogs, a Lab, a Whippet and other mixes. It is important to her to use positive training so we are all always having fun!!! I am so exciting about teaching at camp this year.

Leslie DeFusco

Leslie started her career with animals as a veterinary technician in 1991 and pursued this career until 2002 when she started Dogs Think! dog training and behavior consults full time. She has been training dogs and people since 1992. Her curiosity about dogs and the human-animal bond has taken her to Alaska as a volunteer on the Iditarod trail and Ground Zero to help with veterinary care for the search and rescue teams.

She has done extensive continuing education and certification since she started training but credits her dog Clyde, a difficult “project dog”, with contributing the greatest amount to her knowledge of dog behavior and training.

She currently shares her life and love with Gracie, the shelter dog “queen” from Mississippi, Trigger, the endearing boxer who has taught her that you “never say never”, Willy, the newest boxer and loudest snoring dog EVER, husband Dave, who has taught her the true meaning of unconditional love and beautiful, sassy daughter Shea Mim who has proven to be her most amazing accomplishment to date! Leslie’s daily goals now include capturing the heart melting Shea smiles on camera and keeping all things 3 year old out of Willy’s mouth!

Leslie believes that life is too short to waste even one moment. Having fun is mandatory and her dog training philosophies and style reflect this mandate for fun in life, love and most definitely in dog training!  ! “Each day with our dogs is a gift! They are here for a relatively short time. It’s our responsibility as dog enthusiasts to make each day the very best it can be for ourselves and our 4-legged companions!”  www.dogsthink.com

Jay & Denise Gentile

Jay and I have been involved in lure coursing for over 11 years, we have 2 Pharaoh Hounds that we travel with and run, Blaise and Senna . We belong to 5 coursing clubs , additionally, we host CAT events for many clubs in the Northeast. Jay has been a lure operator for over 6yrs and always puts the safety of the dogs running first with his safe course designs and lure operating skills. I work as the clubs field trial secretary for events, huntmaster events and just recently have become and AKC Lure Coursing Judge for CAT . Now about my dogs, Blaise was the 2009 & 2010 Pharaoh Hound National Champion in LGRA (straight racing) Senna is a Dual Champion (coursing and conformation) and in 2011 was the ASFA II (International Invitational) breed champion and finished 2nd overall at the event l. Showing the diversity of the breed, both of my dogs have competed in obedience. This will be our second year at camp and we look forward to another year.

Barb Hooper

Barb is a life long dog enthusiast who has participated in a number of activities over the years. Obedience, breed, flyball, agility, tricks, demos, k9 disc, and pet therapy just to name a few.  She has also raised five puppies for Leader Dogs for the Blind of Rochester, Michigan and is currently a foster home for Great Lakes Border Collie Rescue.  In addition, for the past three years Barb has been assisting in the capture and transporting of injured water fowl and shore birds with a DNR wildlife rehabilitator.

Barbs k9 pals consist of German shepherd Ben, lab mix and shelter dog Luke, former foster dog and now permanent member  coonhound mix Lance, border collie Penny and Patterdale terrier Andy.  Miniature horse Libby also resides with the pack.  Libby is an avid swimmer and loves her daily three mile walks with her partner Andy.

Great Lakes Border Collie Rescue  http://www.greatlakesbcrescue.org/

Leader Dogs for the Blind  http://www.leaderdog.org/

 Roy and Debbie Johnson

Roy was born and raised on a farm in Virginia where his family raised tobacco and livestock.  Roy and Debbie now live on Breezy Hill Farm in Gladys, VA with daughter, Shelby, Son Bill and daughter-in-law, Cheryle and granddaughter, Marissa lives next door.  They have approximately 300 head of sheep, 150 head of cattle, a few horses and chickens.  Roy started working with Border collies after he lost his hands in a hay baler accident in 1984.  His first working dog, Rosco, a red and white Border collie, went on to place consistently in the top trials in the U.S. and Canada.  Roy has qualified many times to compete in the prestigious United States Border Collie Handlers Association (USBCHA) National finals with Rosco, June (Roscoe’s daughter, who won the 1987 Futurity), Craig, Jim and more recently, Sonny and Chip.  Sonny first qualified for the 2004 USBCHA National Cattle Finals and has qualified every year since then.  The Finals consists of the top 60 qualifying dogs from the United States and Canada competing two go rounds and the final day, only the top 20 of those go on to compete in the final round, called the double lift.  Sonny’s placings have been: 2004 placed 12th; 2005 placed 10th; 2006 placed 8th; 2007 placed 1st…2007 National Champion and in 2008 placed 7th.

Chip has also qualified for the Finals in 2005 placing 7th; 2006 placed 10th and in 2008 placed 18th.  Roy has judged numerous trials.  Debbie competed in trials with Abby, a daughter of Jim (who also qualified and trialed in the National Cattle Finals since 2006 through 2008).  Roy has been working with all herding breeds (and some non herding breeds) since 1986.  He has been teaching herding at Camp since 1996 and enjoys helping people and their dogs discover how to herd.  Roy and Debbie enjoy traveling with the dogs, whether for competitions, demonstrations or teaching…it’s a family effort.

Ruth Lewis

Taffy Morgan

Taffy began to appreciate really good food over 25 years ago while working with Rene Chardain.  At the time this world-renown chef was the owner of the Four Columns Inn, a local restaurant and Inn, fancy enough for Mick Jagger himself.  After eight years with Rene she started her own small picnic and catering business that brought together her three most favorite things – good food, use of her horses (Morgans, of course!) and carriages for the picnics – and the ability to enjoy it all with good people!  Taffy’s gourmet picnics have been featured in Yankee Magazine and Country Living Magazine.

Not only can Taffy cook, she’s a bonafide Justice of the Peace.  She did in fact, perform the marriage ceremony for Leslie and Derryl at 1998’s Fall Foliage Camp.  In her spare time, Taffy can be seen roller blading around Southern Vermont’s highways with her Golden Retrievers.  She runs a catering business in Southern Vermont and supervise the adult skiing program at Stratton Mountain during the long Vermont winter.

Doreen Palmer

Doreen has had dogs all her life and has had Chesapeake Bay Retrievers since the mid 70’s. As a military family Doreen, husband Gary and their Chessies have moved around the US, living in Florida, Alaska, CT, NYC, and Maryland during their 30 years of active duty. They are now retired and living in CT.  Doreen has been actively showing the Chessies since 1993 in AKC, UKC and CKC venues. She and the dogs show in obedience, agility, rally, tracking and conformation. Since 1993 the dogs have consistently been in the top 10 Chessies showing in obedience and agility in the AKC. She started tracking in 1992 with her first competition dog, Taku. Since then she and the dogs have earned over 80 titles, with 4 of the dogs earning VCD titles from the AKC. Taku earned his UD in obedience, his MX & MXJ in agility and his TDX in tracking and was the 1st Chessie to earn a VCD2. He, along with Piper and Zephyr went on to earn their VCD3 (UD, AX, AXJ & TDX) titles. Zephyr, who she is still currently showing, is the only Chessie to have earned a VCD4 title; there are fewer than 30 dogs of any breed to have earned a VCD4 title from the AKC. He is a Champion Tracker, Master Agility Champion twice over and has his UDX in obedience. Zephyr also has his RAE in Rally and several legs towards his Junior Hunt title. Zephyr is the only Chessie to have run at the AKC tracking Invitational and is one of only a handful of entrants to pass. Makai, Zephyr’s daughter, is currently competing in obedience, agility, tracking, rally and conformation. She has one leg towards her open obedience title, her excellent standard & jumpers titles, her Rally excellent title and her TDX. Doreen has helped train and title other breeds in conformation, obedience, agility, rally and tracking. Those breeds include Wiems, Goldens, Welsh Springers, Clumber Spaniels, Min Pins, Dobermans, Bullmastiffs, Border Collies, GSDs, Westies, Aussies, Labs, Belgian Sheepdogs, Tervurens, Pem Corgis, Std. Poodles and Bearded Collies.

Steve Surfman

Steve Surfman has been photographing animals for over 30 years.  He is a multiple award winning photographer.  He prides himself on capturing the very essence of dogs in their sports – their energy, enthusiasm, instinct and natural beauty.  His photographs have appeared in many national dog publications including the AKC Gazette.  Steve is a participant in the AKC stock phot agency which supplies photographs to major advertising agencies.  He has been published in News Day, a major New York newspaper and his photographs have also appeared in the Boston Globe.

He is a member of the Scottish Deerhound Club of American and Mid-Atlantic Deerhounds.  This year one of Steve’s Deerhound photos won first place at the Scottish Deerhound National Specialty.  In 2002 Steve received an award from the Dog Writers Association of America for “Best Black and White Photograph.”  Early in 2003, one of Steve’s agility photos won first prize for action photography in the prestigious Dog Fanciers of America annual photo contest.  He recently had several photos (most of them taken at Camp) accepted for a calendar due out in 2006.  Steve loves coming to Camp and considers doing the photography at Camp Gone to the Dogs as not just another photo shoot, but just plain fun.


“Don’t ever change your motto—it’s too appropriate. If I had a tail, it would be up, too. Thank you, thank you, thank you for assembling the most knowledgeable, most positively encouraging, nicest group of people I have ever known.”  –Cathy Taylor, CO, Alum