A PASSION FOR A BETTER UNDERSTANDING
Michelle is AMAZING. She always arrived on time and with a positive outlook (even when we were rattling off concerns). She really worked to individualize training and make it work for Penny and us. As Michelle says, Penny is a whole lot of dog and Michelle has guided and educated us to create positive communication and training methods to help Penny grow into a really amazing dog. After 5 sessions with our 8-10 months old, we are seeing so many positive changes in Penny and we keep working toward more. Michelle is always a message away with a word of encouragement or another tip. She truly cares about helping pet families create the best environments and relationships for their dogs! - Susan & Wayne
ABOUT YOUR NEXT FAVORITE DOG TRAINER
Michelle MeGill has been training the puppies and dogs of Philadelphia, PA + surrounding since 2019. She's been training and riding horses her entire life - now being a city dweller she knew animals needed to stay a big part of her career path. Her dream is to have a place to train both horses and dogs with her partner Scott.
Michelle is the owner and founder of Underdogs in Philadelphia, PA. As a Positive Reinforcement Trainer she truly believes her approach is the most successful, humane and kindest method. She is a member of APDT and a volunteer at ACCT in Philadelphia, PA. Michelle is currently enrolled in the Victoria Stilwell Dog Training and Behavior Academy also known as VSA.
Michelle and her Shepherd Mix, Jolene are currently training in beginner agility and are having the time of their lives. Observing how much Jolene loves to work with her person is inspiring.
Everyone has a unique story. How I found my calling as a trainer was quite dramatic. Here we go. I didn’t exactly come from a background of all sunshine and rainbows growing up. As a matter of fact it was quite the opposite. I come from a background of addiction. After graduating college, I had lost all sense of who I was or where I wanted to go. Sure I graduated with a bachelors degree but I think most of us can agree, if you have no idea who you are, how exactly are you to chose a major that's exciting, that will perpetuate you to better understand your purpose? Most of my mid twenties were spent in exploration. Things seemed easier with my good friend, now enemy named booze. Fast forward to repeating the same patterns time and time again. Two things helped push me to be my best self. The unconditional love and support from my partner Scott and a traumatic event that changed my life forever. I didn’t realize how deep I was into my own addiction until I thought I was going to lose my life. Now that sounds like addiction almost killed me, but it was witnessing a murder that flipped my world upside down. In the winter of 2018 I was living in I’ll say a very shitty part of Philly - I went outside of my home at the time with my dog Jolene, at around 8:30 PM I heard gunshots from about 20 feet away from me. Not soon after the shots were heard, they continued as I saw someone shot dead directly across the street from where I was standing. The shooter then ran down the front steps of my neighbors house toward myself and Jolene. My instincts said run (run fast bitch!) so we did in the opposite direction thinking to myself I might get shot, I might die now. I never ran so fast in my life. I immediately grabbed Jolene’s collar faster than I’ve ever handled her before and we fled. I vividly remember checking her for any sort of wound and thought to myself “if something happen to this dog, I’m going to end up in prison.”
That night made my mind spin, but what stands out the most was thinking “If I would have been involved in that shooting, if I would have died, I would have been pissed off.” I was leading a life, bottle first (whisky neat), no real goals in sight at the educated age of 27... From that very traumatic day forward I decided the only time I’m going to spend on this earth is while doing something I’m so passionate about that I couldn't imagine sipping another air of breath doing anything but. And I’m going to be sober in doing so.
When I was all of 5 I wanted to be a Vet. I used to save the birds, well at least I thought I was saving them from dying when they would run into my grandmoms glass deck windows. I would feed them water and guide them to fly again. Before I could walk I was on a horse. If I didn't have a pet in the house growing up I would care for my stuffed animals as if they were alive. I bathed them, fake fed them, walked them - the whole thing. Animals have always been living beings I connect with on a level I truly can’t explain. Maybe it’s that I’m an old soul or that I’m an empath, perhaps both. Life events, people and our pets don’t just come into our lives for an empty reason. They happen because they’re meant to teach us something, to show us an alternative or that we are in fact on the right path. My dog Jolene, has saved my life in more ways that I can write. I love that my job is sharing my love of animals and connecting with people on a daily basis.
I named my company Underdogs because yes I love Philly, and go Iggles (Eagles)! But also because I consider myself an Underdog. I’m someone that wasn’t’ just spoon fed so many wonderful opportunities, that because of my gender alone, was told constantly "you just can’t do whatever you please in this world." Yet, I went out and made it happen for myself and I continue to do so as young entrepreneur. Plus I'm the granddaughter of a South Philly Sicilian business woman who is my heart and my best friend. She rubbed off on me. I truly believe with patience, kindness and incredible resilience, we can do anything we dream of. I’m living my dreams by training dogs and their parents led with love, understanding and of course laughter.
I'm also a certified yoga instructor and professional contemporary dancer. Movement is my therapy. I also love to write & you can catch me making fun filled videos on instagram any given day @trainwithunderdogs.