This is always the hardest to write. How do I sum up the whole of my being in just a few paragraphs?
A Bit About Me
I’m from Montreal but wanderlust took me to live in New York for 2 years, Israel for 5 years, and Toronto for 13. I met my English husband in a restaurant in Costa Rica and moved to England. We left England after a few years, moved to Florida, came back to England, did the snowbird thing for a while, and now we’re in England. Until I figure out where I want to go next!!! I suspect I will always want to spend a significant amount of time here, but I’m keen to divide my time – I get antsy just being in one place.
I prefer to live within easy access of a big city, but could never live in the centre of the hustle and bustle. After a few hours of the chaos I literally feel my blood pressure rising, so I know it’s time to retreat. I love the outdoors, and it’s the one place I feel truly at peace.
I’ve been rescuing senior dogs since 2009, and in 2014 I became an ADTB approved certified dog trainer. I was a volunteer dog walker at a couple of animal shelters, and on our walks I would do some training, so I actually started training dogs a few years before I was “official.”
In addition to being an experienced dog trainer and senior dog parent, I offer a senior dog care consultancy and training service. I am also a Pet Bereavement Counsellor, helping people cope with loss or impending loss.
Keep reading for more!
Where My Love of Animals Started
You may find it interesting to know, I didn’t grow up with animals nor did I know anyone who had pets. One of my first encounters with a dog was when I was 25, and my only encounter with cats were strays. Both happened in Jerusalem where I was living.
It all started when my boyfriend at the time came to visit and brought a puppy with him. In that moment it was as though a switch was flicked in my brain, and that was it. It was the beginning of my journey into the world of volunteering and adopting.
Why a Passion for Senior Dogs?
When we first moved to Florida, I went looking for a shelter to volunteer at, and walked out with a job in the cat room! The first couple of days I ate my lunch outside while reading a book. On my way out I passed by a room called the “Oldies Room” which had small old dogs, roaming free.
I decided instead of wasting my time reading a book, I would take a dog out so we could keep each other company, and that’s how I fell in love with old dogs.
When I stopped working there, I stayed on as a volunteer in the oldies room.
I watched people stop and say how cute they were, but go off and adopt a puppy. I’ll never forget an older woman who could barely walk comment the dogs were too old, and went off to adopt a young dog. What!! It absolutely broke my heart, and from that moment I became an advocate for senior dog adoption. I also went on to foster and adopt several dogs and still do.
Over the years, I started noticing how hard it was for many senior dog parents to get the information and support they needed, which is why I my consultancy and training service is focused on old dogs.
Hands on Animal Care Experience
I was a volunteer at shelters in Toronto and Florida where I…
- Walked, trained and socialised dogs
- Fostered and adopted senior and special needs dogs
- Helped socialize cats
- Fostered kittens
- Was an adoption adviser
- Was a committee member for an annual fundraising event
- Assisted the marketing department with fundraising ideas, including compiling a cookbook for sale
- I cared for a feral cat colony in my neighbourhood, trapping, fixing and feeding the cats
Why I Became a Dog Trainer
As a long-time shelter volunteer, I was shocked by the number of dogs being returned (I’m trying to be polite because I actually prefer the term “dumped”) for behavior problems. The dogs were always blamed, they weren’t given any training at the shelter, they were adopted again and often (not always) returned again for the same reason(s).
To me that was heart breaking to watch, never mind frustrating, knowing how many people were unaware of the importance of training…something that should always be explained at the adoption interview but isn’t usually.
Anyway, I started doing some basic training with the dogs to help improve their chances of a forever home. Becoming a certified dog trainer was the next logical step.
What I’m Doing Now
♦ I offer a senior dog care consultancy and support service, and help with training tips and advice for new senior rescues. Sessions are conducted virtually on Zoom or Whatsapp.
♦ I write lots of helpful content about senior dog care on my website seniordogcareclub.com
♦ I run a FB group called Senior Dog Care Club for senior dog parents. I created it July 2017 when I realised a lot of senior dog parents had nowhere to turn for advice. The group offers a place to share, ask for and receive advice, or find a shoulder when you need one.
♦ I post tips, quotes, answer questions and do a weekly video on my FB page Senior Dog Care Club.
Qualifications and Training
ADTB Approved Instructor, Academy of Dog Training & Behaviour
Member, Academy of Dog Training and Behaviour
Senior Dog Enrichment Plans: Accommodations & Adaptations – The Int’l Association of Animal Behavior Consultants
Understanding Canine Anxiety (diploma)
Simple Solutions for Common Dog Behavior & Training Problems (Dr Ian Dunbar)
Treatment & Prevention of Dog Aggression – Biting & Fighting (Dr Ian Dunbar)
Animal Behaviour Diploma (companion animals)
Care of the Senior Pet (certificate)
Pet Bereavement Counsellor (diploma)
Certified Pet Loss Grief Support Coach
The Dog Rescuers Guide (certificate)