Student Success Stories

Featured Starmark Graduate, Shirley Mesa, Owner of Mesahaus Dog Training Facility

Shirley graduated from Starmark in June 2015 and is doing great things with her new dog training business!

shirley mesa

My name is Shirley Mesa. I was born and raised in Northern, CA, in the Westwood and Susanville area. I went to school, married, raised my children and now I am watching my grand children grow up here. It is a wonderful place to live. My entire life I have dreamed of being a K9 trainer for working dogs. We have three German Shepherds at this moment, Yesca, who is 2 years, Steel who is 1 year, and Axel who is 6 months. We love our babies! I have went all over California working our German Shepherds. I learned to handle our shepherd Mace in Protection and Security at the K-9 Clinic in Watsonsonville, Ca. The knowledge I gained there set a solid foundation for me. I also gained valuable handling techniques for our shepherds at the Nadelhaus Kennels in Chico, Ca. Every bit of knowledge that I could absorb helped me get closer to my goal. I became a Canine Training Specialist at the Starmark Academy for Professional Dog Trainers in Hutto, Texas. I give so much respect to the Instructors, employees, and my classmates at Starmark. I went there to gain an education and not only did I gain unbelievable knowledge, I gained a new family. That is why Mike and I decided to bring the experience back to Susanville and the surrounding areas. I want people to be able to have a nice, clean, knowledgeable training center to bring their dogs to. To learn to sit, stay, heel, walk on loose leash, proper leash handling and not pull you down the street every time you go for a walk, go to place and not bolt out the front door every time it is opened, recall, train agility, group classes, puppy classes, remote collar conditioning, home manners, behavioral issues and so much more. We want training to be fun, but our main goal is to leave with a well trained obedient dog/puppy.
I truly love dogs, all dogs, big and small. I am so excited about this new venture. One of the best rewards about dog training is the owner seeing the dog/puppy for the first time after training, and they cannot believe its the same dog. Watching the transformation is a reward in itself.. I am proud to be the Owner/Canine Training Specialist of Mesahaus Dog Training Facility…


With the help of my amazing family, I was able to fulfill my childhood dream of owning a boarding and training facility.  We built Wagging Tail Resort from the ground up and opened our doors in December of 2009.  We are currently the only deluxe boarding facility in our area (Jackson, Tn. and the surrounding cities/counties of West Tennessee).  We offer deluxe cat and dog boarding with a home-like atmosphere, a very successful grooming business, and I provide both in-kennel and individual training,  and behavior modification assistance.  I am the only Certified trainer/behaviorist in the area.  Our business has grown to a client base of over 2,000 in the short time that we’ve been open, and it continues to grow all of the time.  We are in the process of expanding our boarding capabilities with a large addition of our most deluxe suites to our facility, and will be breaking ground on that addition early 2013.  Starmark provided me with the tools needed to pursue this “dream job” of mine, and my family believed in my dream enough to give me the help needed to fulfill that dream.  I am truly blessed!

– Rachel Carlson

Since graduating Starmark Academy I’ve started my own freelance business called Sits, Downs & Tail Wags. I do all in home private sessions as well as my own board and train. I’ve been very fortunate in acquiring some really great clientele. All of my advertisement is word of mouth and I have steady work and loyal, repeat customers. I also work at a kennel in the Chicago loop, in which I am one of three trainers (one of whom is also a Starmark grad) and get to spend everyday with dogs of different breeds and backgrounds. Come January I’m also teaching a tricks class. I’ve also been quoted in the Chicago Sun Times on training tips and how to prepare your dog to go to dog friendly establishments. I am doing a lot of Agility with Skylar, who if you remember used to be afraid of her own shadow. Now she’s extremely sociable and an agility champ! She took home a blue ribbon at her first trial! I work 6 days a week and get to bring my dogs almost everywhere with me. I’ve been very fortunate with my success but I couldn’t have done it without Starmark.

– Alex Urbanski


Jackie was found as a stray, covered with fleas and wandering the streets. This lucky guy found his way into our foster program and was later accepted at Starmark Academy as part of a special free program to train rescue dogs so they will be more adoptable! His trainer, Alicia, fell in love with Jackie and adopted him. Jackie is now a certified Canine Good Citizen, and is also featured in a new book, “Underwater Dogs,” by Seth Casteel.

– Alicia Forzano

Congratulations to Samantha and her dog Jasta on their showing in the 2009 North East Regional Schutzhund Championship placing 12th.  Way to go!!

– Samantha Almeida


Congratulations to Rebecca and her dog Cooper on earning a level 1 title with a perfect score of 51 in snookers game in agility.

– Rebecca Henderson

Congratulations to Rayna along with her dog Raven on getting their last leg on AKC rally advanced title and their first leg in AKC excellent rally.  Excellent Job!!

– Rayna Stout


Kristen, who is one of two dog behavioral specialists in Hawaii, has volunteered her time to join forces with Hawaii Fi-Do.  Hawaii Fi-Do is a non-profit service dog organization that teamed up with multiple wounded warrior organizations to get dogs trained for injured veterans who may need their service.

– Kristen Ness

After two weekends of UKC shows, Feb 6-8 in New Kent Virginia and Feb 27 – Mar 1 in Manassas Virginia, Player earned his UKC Conformation Championship. During the New Kent Shows, he received one win in his Puppy Class and one Best Male Win.  During the Manassas Show, Player received 3 First Place wins in his Puppy class and 3 Best Male wins. He also received one Group 1 win, one Best of Breed win, one Reserve Champion win and one Champion of Champion win.  Good Luck on Player’s Grand Champion title!!

– Marvin Peck


Congratulations to Mr. John Dick for obtaining the honor of being appointed one of four to judge for the Ireland Kennel Club Retriever Championship.  That is quite an honor!

– John Dick

Congratulations to Rebecca and her dog Cooper on getting 6 qualifying runs in a NADAC agility trial.

– Rebecca Henderson


Congratulations to James and his dog Gert on getting their SchH2 in July at the Lone Star Schutzhund Summer Trail with judge Frank Phillips.

– James Reyes

Congratulations to Samantha and her dog Jasta on getting her SchH2 Scoring (Tracking: 99, Obedience: 96, Protection: 94) and her SchH3 scoring (98, 92, 99).  She also did her tracking completely off leash.  Way to go Sam!

– Samantha Almeida