By People Staff
April 14, 1980 12:00 PM

Brian Kilcommons, 27, is one of the few dog trainers in America who make house calls—which accounts for his chewed-up briefcase. He started Kilcommons Professional Dog Training Ltd. two years ago with a $3,000 loan from a friend and now boasts two offices, five full-time trainers and an annual gross of $120,000. Kilcommons says his uncommon success is due to his ability to handle the most aggressive dogs without resorting to violence. “The day of the rolled newspaper should come to a close immediately,” he says. “We don’t hit dogs or yell at them. It just doesn’t work.” He admits his prices are steep—from $200 to $400, and even higher for “really obnoxious” animals—but he offers a money-back guarantee. Kilcommons got his start at 13, working as a volunteer in a veterinary hospital on his native Long Island. He studied veterinary medicine at Iowa’s Westmar College and at Iowa State, but dropped out with mononucleosis after three years. Later he apprenticed with the Capt. Haggerty School for Dogs in New York. These days Kilcommons drives a $14,000 Audi and dates Mel Harris, a Wilhelmina model he met when she brought her setter to be trained a year ago. “Most of the problems aren’t the dogs’—they’re the owners’,” says Kilcommons. “I tell them they have to change their attitudes.”

Pamela Starr, 28, was often at odds with high school administrators back in Cambridge, Minn. and even ran afoul of the law for driving a motorcycle without a license. But the former winner of a regional Miss American Teenager contest in 1968 is now on the side of the angels as chaplain of Northland College and minister at the First and Trinity United Methodist Church in Ashland, Wis. The Reverend Starr’s Sunday sermons rarely last more than a few minutes—”I don’t think there’s anything worth saying that should take longer than that”—and she often delivers them while wearing a red robe and sitting crosslegged at the altar. Does her congregation find her looks distracting? “I think in our society there is some unspoken request for women to become sexless once they enter the ministry,” says the Reverend Starr. “That’s ridiculous. I feel comfortable coming across the way I am.” Even as a child, she wanted to be a preacher, but she dropped out of St. Paul’s Lutheran Northwestern Theological Seminary in a dispute over church doctrine. A friend convinced her to switch to the Methodist Church and complete her studies. She was ordained last June and has a high regard for her young flock at Northland. “They’re way ahead of where I was at their age,” she says. “When I was a teen, all we did was wear miniskirts and giggle.”