One Minnesota woman puts on Dog Lover’s Retreats to support for animal charities throughout the state
In the last three years, Lisa Sellman has raised more than $20,000 for dog rescues in the Minneapolis area. She does it through “Dog Lover’s” retreats, which are hosted at Gunflint Lodge in Northern Minnesota. The retreats draw people from across the country, and the majority of proceeds go directly to charities in need.
Sellman and her husband, Rick rescued their dog, Jasmine, a Golden Retriever mix, in July 2004. It was at this time that she decided to get involved in the animal community through positive dog training and by hosting retreats to raise money.
She remembers getting Jasmine and bringing her to obedience training, which she recalls as being a very stressful experience. As she learned more about dog training through her volunteer work at shelters, she decided it was time to start her own pet care and dog training business.
“I did some research and wanted to get involved,” she says. “I didn’t think training a puppy or a dog needed to be that stressful. Also through volunteering, I really started to see how bad some shelters and rescues were hurting for money, and I just had to do something.”
Dog training has become a passion for Sellman, who donates her time at the retreats to work with the animals in attendance. When she’s not on retreats, she trains animals and their guardians in their homes, which she feels is a comfortable environment for the pet and guardian alike.
“I like to stress that dogs have been our companions for more than 40,000 years,” she says. “We don’t need to have a weird language or make sounds to train them. We just need to be ourselves, be relaxed, and feel positive about what we are doing so we can live in harmony with our dogs.”
Gunflint Lodge, which is a year-round dog-friendly resort, was the perfect fit for Sellman and her new venture. “My husband and I took a trip there with our dog, and I knew it was the perfect destination for the retreats,” she says. “The owners are fabulous, and we have formed a great partnership with them over the years.”
The cost of the retreat is $50 a person, and the money goes directly to a charity. The retreats happen once every few months, and other business are invited to attend, such as veterinarians, canine massage therapists, and pet photographers.
“Included in the cost is a ton of activities for the animals and their [guardians],” she says. “We have a Wolf Howling Hike, K-9 Olympics, and doggie socials. It is really a great experience, and it is nice seeing all the dogs getting along and having fun together.”
On top of everything, Sellman has a children’s book coming out, The Legend of the Wolves of Gunflint Lake. The book is about being of service to the community.
“I wrote it as a gift for the owners of Gunflint Lodge,” she says. “Then I decided I would try to get it published. It was a dream come true. I really wanted to have something fun for children to read to get them thinking about helping others.”
The entire experience has been very rewarding for Sellman.
“I have met a lot of people in the dog community, and these are amazing people. I am raising money for animals in need, and I am doing what I love.”