"I had one special dog as a kid," says Julia Bowlin, who grew up in Twin Falls, Idaho. "Spooky was my best friend. She cost five dollars and lived for 16 years." Bowlin started a dog-sitting business in high school, but afterwards left for college at USC and "took a break from dogs." She studied ad design but found it "too cutthroat" and went for a degree in sign language. "Visual language fascinates me," she says, noting that dogs are visual communicators. "They key in on movement more than vocal language. People repeat, 'sit, sit, sit,' when all they need to do is step forward." Bowlin got married at USC and had two kids, moved to Eugene in 1998, became a foster mom to medically fragile kids, and adopted a third child in 2005. She also adopted Caper (at left in the photo, along with Bowlin and Tanner) and studied the training methods of "dog whisperer" Cesar Milan. "I found I had a talent," she says. "I wanted to help others." Since 2006, she has worked with 2500 dogs. "Usually, I can fix things in one home visit," she says. "Really, I'm training the humans." Her strongest advice is to keep puppies with their moms at least eight weeks. "The last two weeks are so important," she says. "Don't take a dog if you can't see the mom." Find her on facebook at Eugene's Dog Whisperer.