The Island has lost the original dog whisperer with the death of George (Sonny) Jackson.

Sonny was the owner of Shady Oak Kennels and at the time it was the only boarding and dog grooming business on the Island. I was a couple of years out of high school with no clue as to what I wanted to do with my life when Sonny hired me in 1976. I credit Sonny with starting me down the path to my career as an animal control officer. During those seven years Sonny taught me a lot about dogs and how to read them for behavior or illness and to how to handle them.

I remember the first thing he told me, which was to always keep in mind that any dog can bite given the right circumstances. That piece of advice has stuck with me through my 31 years as an animal control officer. Sonny was a self-taught and talented dog groomer and his love of dogs showed through with every dog that came through his kennel.

Thank you, Sonny, for guiding me to my niche in life!

Barbara Prada

The writer is animal control officer for the town of Edgartown.