By Laurie MasonPrograms & Communications Coordinator Gerrie Shapiro has trained dogs for a long time—long enough now that she has the luxury of being choosy about whom she works with. “I’m getting kind of picky about the clients I take,” she chuckles. “I’ve been bitten enough!” Gerrie is a familiar face at Friendship Center, where she often visits with her therapy dogs, providing a wonderful playful and safe way for members to enjoy some mood-lifting puppy time. As Santa Barbara’s evaluator for Therapy Dogs International (TDI), and Canine Good Citizens (CGC) Gerrie knows dogs. Bidding on Gerrie’s Dog Training Lessons at Friendship Center’s Festival of Hearts virtual fundraiser is a rare chance for puppy and dog owners to get the best for their canine companions. In addition to teaching basic manners and rules to puppies, Gerrie helps dog owners manage behavioral problems like urinating in the house, barking, biting, or pulling on leashes, which is no fun for anyone. “Old dogs can learn new tricks,” says Gerrie who tailors each lesson to the client’s needs. “Some people want to take their dogs and puppies to the beach, so we meet there. I work with the dogs, figure out what the situation is, and go from there.” Festival of Hearts is live now. You can choose from four fantastic categories: Valentine’s Day baskets with wine and cupcakes, original heart art, member sponsorship and experience packages. Money raised during Festival of Hearts goes toward funding Friendship Center memberships for low-income senior citizens.