About Us

David Sanders, Zen k9David Michael Sanders, CPDT-KA, APDT Professional Member

The Early Years

Born of African American, Cherokee Indian, Scandinavian and Irish descent, David Michael Sanders was born October 25th 1973, in Cincinnati Ohio. He spent the first six months of his life in a state run children’s home. After being adopted, his new father committed suicide when he was only two years old. He went to live with his grandmother Mamie and grandfather Pa while his mother worked. One morning, while Mamie was walking David through the mall, they came across a pet store. A Pit Bull/Boxer puppy was jumping up and down in the window; David’s eyes lit up like never before as he begged his grandmother to keep him. They took him home that day. Mamie named the dog “Mike” after St. Anthony because he was so angelic. The two were inseparable. David would go downstairs with Pa and help prepare Mike’s meals and go outside with Mamie to help clean up after him in the yard. When David was six years old, his mother remarried and moved to a rural community outside of Cincinnati. He was absolutely devastated leaving his best friend and grandparents. David fell into a deep depression. He became extremely violent and quick to anger. He was getting in trouble in school, fighting and bullying his classmates. Exhausting punishment, his parents decided to take a drive up to Hamilton Ohio and take a look at some puppies. When they returned, a Welsh corgi was in the back seat. David was absolutely elated, he couldn’t wait to go out in the back yard and run around with his new little friend.


The Rescue Years

Micky was a Cocker Spaniel that spent his entire life chained to a dog house in the neighbor’s back yard. The winters in Cincinnati were freezing.  David’s parents could not stand to see the dog suffering, so they asked the neighbor if they could take him. The neighbor obliged without hesitation. Micky spent the rest of his years in the Sanders’ loving home with his new companion Teddy the Welsh Corgi.

When Micky passed away, David’s parents joined a Greyhound rescue organization; they took in a female puppy who was going to be euthanized because she had a club foot and could not race. Her name was Brasil. Over the course of the next ten years came Penny, Gayla, Tara and Pistol Pete.  These dogs came from the track; unfortunately with that came maltreatment. David helped his parent’s nurture them back to health and learned the art of rehabilitation through patience, love and understanding. It was during these years, David also learned of the extent to which dogs can be abused and exploited and how every individual can make a difference in their lives.


The Wonder Years

After high school, David enrolled at the University of Cincinnati. He was struggling with what he wanted to do with his life. After a year at UC, he decided to move to Arizona to start a new life. He got a job as an artist at a graphics company and taught himself how to play the drums. From 1994 to 2009, David became a professional musician versed in Latin, Jazz, Rock, Reggae, Rap, Hip-Hop, Blue Grass, Blues, and Country. He toured all over the United States, playing thousands of shows. He shared the stage with Brian McKnight, The Manhattan Transfer, Vince Welnick of (The Tubes and The Grateful Dead), John Fishman of (Phish), Buddy Strong of (Usher), Jessi Colter (Waylon Jennings Wife), Mac 10 (Westside Connection), B Real (Cyprus Hill), Rusted Root, Paul Wall and Cara Jackson (Miss Black Arizona 1999).
In 2009, David became ill from the years of hard living as a musician. He decided it was time to make a change in his life. He enrolled at The Animal Behavior College and decided to follow his true calling, working with dogs. He came to realize how important education was and decided to enroll in ASU’s transfer program at Rio Salado College.


Present to the Future

David is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, nationally certified through The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) and owner of Zen K9, LLC Obedience & Boarding. He works with juvenile offenders by sharing his experiences as a troubled youth in hopes to inspire children to take a better path. Education, compassion, and unparalleled perseverance saved David’s life. He has worked countless volunteer hours for no-kill rescue organizations such as Lucky Paws Shelter, Luv of Dogs Inc, One by One Rescue, Home Fur Good, BFF Rescue, AAWL, Paws Placement, The North American Search and Rescue Dog Network, and The Delta Society’s Pet Partner’s Program; just to name a few. David has trained hundreds of unwanted dogs, most of which have found forever homes with the help of his obedience training and behavior modification. He has joined lobby groups to aid in changing breed ban, dog fighting, animal exploitation and animal abuse laws. David also trains emotional support dogs for America’s combat veterans and was nominated to represent Mayday Pit Bull Rescue in receiving The 2015 Outstanding Community Partner Award, given by the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections.

America is in an unimaginable state of disconnection. Child maltreatment and animal cruelty are rampant. Self-education, communal support, compassion and understanding are the only ways to make a difference in this ever changing socioeconomic world. From this philosophy came the birth of a dream, Zen K9 Obedience & Boarding.

Zen K9 Mission Statement:
While giving the public a fun and rewarding alternative to harsh and inhumane corrective methods, our goal is to provide an educational and intellectual approach that far supersedes the competition.


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