Meet The Owner

Enriching Lives One Paw at a Time

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April Hargraves

Owner, Trainer, Groomer
Canine Enrichment Director

I love it when dreams come true. Bark Town USA is my dream. From day one, I wanted to provide a place that helps dogs live their best lives, to help my clients enjoy the best of their dogs and to teach and guide my staff to pursue their dreams.

One of the things I love most about Bark Town USA, besides the dogs, of course, is the amazing team of people that choose to work with me every day. They make the dream a reality.

Growing up as an animal lover, I had many pets (rabbits, guinea pigs, birds and cats). I have always been fascinated by the intelligence and behavior of animals. My first dog was an Afghan Hound named Suhail. She was rescued by my sister from an abusive home, and instantly became my dog. Forty pounds underweight, with scars on her nose, she taught me how trusting dogs can be. Even when they have no reason to trust again. She soon became the elegant, beautiful, regal dog she was meant to be. She was a sweet and gentle soul that would hog my bed, leaving me a little corner with no covers. She still holds a very special place in my heart.

Fast forward, I received my degree in legal studies and began my career as a paralegal. A career that I enjoyed very much but every moment of my time off was spent with dogs. My first Border Collie Storm and his littermate Cloud started me on a journey diving deep into understanding canine behavior. How dogs communicate and how they learn. I realized that my joy comes from dogs so I took a new path and Bark Town USA was born.

Before opening Bark Town USA, I spent a few years working in a local vet clinic. This gave me a great understanding of what is needed to provide a safe and healthy environment for dogs, as well as a good understanding of veterinary medicine and treatments. This is where I realized that so many dog owners needed a place that their dogs could run and play, make some friends and just be dogs. All while their owners were working or busy with all our human stuff.

I have continued to do work at vet clinics over the years. There is always more to learn.

I have a varied education when it comes to dogs.

To further my education in behavior and treatment I completed the dogs and cats course: Diagnosis and Treatment of Behavior Problems for Veterinarians and Vet Techs. Earning a certificate from the University of Purdue.

To further my education in Canine Physiology and Physical Conditioning I completed the Canine 1: Introduction to Canine Rehabilitation. Earning a Level 1 Certificate from the University of Tennessee.

To further my education in Animal Training I completed 40 hands on hours of Operant Conditioning: Discrimination Workshop by Bob Bailey and Parvene Farhoody (aka Chicken Camp).

In addition I have attended multiple independent live seminars and workshops by the following trainers:

Bob Bailey

Jean Donaldson

Patricia McConnel

Sue Sternberg

Susan Garrett

I am also a regular attendee at the Clicker Expo conference, the premiere education conference for animal trainers. Hosting cutting edge animal trainers from around the world each year.

As a self proclaimed behavior geek, I am always reading or studying something new about animal behavior.

I now share my life with two Border Collies, Iris (aka I-pup) and Kindle. Iris is 11 years old and she enjoys learning tricks, going to barn hunt and a little nose work. But if you ask Iris what her favorite thing in the whole world is, she will say Frisbee!

Kindle is 6 years old and loves to learn. He is a master of tricks (to many to count!), loves Frisbee and enjoys nose work. Kindles favorite things are agility and swimming.

We don't do to very many canine competitions anymore, but both Iris and Kindle are the stars of my backyard. One of our favorite things to do together in to find new places to take adventure walks.

Outside of Bark Town I love spending time with my dog. I enjoy music, reading, gardening and traveling to new places.