"Must Love Dogs"
I WAS SEVEN YEARS OLD…
when my parents took me to get my first puppy, a little brown furball I named Penny. She was the light of my life. I couldn’t wait to get home from school every day to play with her. I kept her in a box by my bed with a hot-water bottle and my hand hanging down so she could nibble on my fingers until she went to sleep. She was my constant companion, my reason for getting out of bed each morning, my best friend.
I remember vividly the morning–maybe 3 weeks after getting Penny–that my brother woke me to tell me that Penny had been let out for her morning walk and had run into the road and been hit by a car. At first I thought he was joking. I called for her down the hall, desperate, but she never came. I was devastated.
After a few weeks had passed, Dad asked me if I was ready to find another dog. I said I was, and he asked me what kind of dog I wanted. I said: one that won’t run into the road. I got my second little doggie, a chihuahua mix which I sentimentally named Penny as well, and Dad and I promptly began to teach her basic obedience: sit, shake paw, etc. Most importantly, we taught her road avoidance. Penny became my childhood companion, finally succumbing to old age after I graduated from high school.
It was a hard lesson I learned: that teaching your dog basic obedience is not only necessary for “good manners”, but for their safety and well being as well. I made a vow that I would protect any and every dog that crossed my path, provide or find them a home and give them the love and training they need to live long, happy lives.
I’ve had many, many dogs over the years. Some were family, and some were fosters, but all of them enriched my life to some extent, and all of them will have a special place in my heart til the day it stops beating.
I started Groovy Dogs so I could turn my passion into my vocation. I didn’t do it for the money. I walked away from a lucrative job as a Leadership and Management Trainer in the restaurant industry so I could spend more time doing what I love.
Now, I play with dogs for a living. I realize it’s not brain surgery, and I’ve learned to accept the fact that my efforts will never find a cure for cancer, solve the energy crisis, or bring about world peace. But every day I help people develop deeper and more fulfilling relationships with their pet families. How groovy is that?
Credentials & Experience
I am a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) via the IAABC and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) via the APDT and CBATI certified for Behavioral Adjustment Training for reactive, fearful, and aggressive dogs.
I am self-taught: my academic background is in Organizational Behavioral Science before apprenticing at the Birmingham Obedience Club and augmenting my education with courses, seminars, and workshops. My principle influences are Dr. Sophia Yin, Jean Donaldson, Dr Ian Dunbar and Brenda Aloff.
I am a member in good standing with the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), and the Pet Professional Guild (PPG), of which I have been a member since its inception. I belong to and support the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the Humane Society (HSUS), and the Best Friends Animal Society.