Kevin Michael Behan, author and renowned dog trainer, passed away in Newfane, VT on Jan 31, 2020 after a long illness. He spent his final hours at home with his wife, children and granddaughter, overlooking the fields, gardens and barns that had filled his days.
Kevin was born on June 20, 1952 in Redding, CT, the son of John and Elizabeth Behan. Kevin was a quiet and deeply observational child, a trait he carried through life and career. He was most at ease in the wilderness behind his father's kennel, Canine College, or at the family's camps in Franklin, ME and along Canada's Miramichi River. Through his high school years, Kevin would be the first to admit that he was a mediocre player for the John Barlow football team. He was, however, a stand out protector of his three sisters and their friends, ensuring no harm befell them on his watch. He graduated St. Anselm College in NH with a History major, and forever remained a student, filling his bookshelves with everything from philosophy to Tecumseh and Kissinger biographies.
In the 1980s, Kevin founded the Natural Dog Training method, a revolutionary approach to understanding the evolution of man's best friend, focused on the true essence of their nature for obedience and police and rescue work. Kevin and his wife Agi settled in Ridgefield, CT where they started a family and built a practice, Canine Arts. Kevin would become the country's leading expert in rehabilitating aggressive dogs and write his first book, Natural Dog Training.
Their family relocated to Newfane, VT in 1997, where Kevin could be closer to the wildness that informed his understanding of the natural order and his place within it. He continued his groundbreaking work, lectured across the country, and published Your Dog Is Your Mirror. In the community, Kevin was quickly identifiable in a wide-brimmed hat, leather vest and easy smile. He was a constant fixture at his kids' sports and music events throughout high school. He served as Town Constable for a time. On his homestead, he found profound joy in the daily work with his animals, tractors and the land. He was an avid reader, from physics to mystics, and was quick to let you know when the world's greatest minds got it right- or got it wrong.
Kevin was a storyteller, prankster, behaviorist, inherent scientist, mentor, father, husband and grandfather. He was above all private, modest, kind and humble. He would be overwhelmed at the emotional response from those who have shown a deep connection to his methods of canine education. Kevin's dog training legacy lives on through the hearts and practice of those that spent time with him, in person and through his writings. His family is deeply grateful for the generosity of all those who have provided support and shared their memories.
Kevin is survived by his wife of nearly 40 years, Agi, his three children, Cara, Sean and Sondra, his granddaughter Delfina, and son-in-law Alex. He also leaves behind his sisters: Sheila, Eileen, her husband David, Sharon and her husband, and beloved nieces and nephews. A memorial service celebrating Kevin's life will be held at a future date at his farm in Newfane. For more information, please email [email protected]
Contributions in Kevin's name can be made to the local hospital, Grace Cottage, online at gracecottage.org
Published by The Brattleboro Reformer on Apr. 4, 2020.