Exciting changes are afoot for my Girl Friday business. From establishing an LLC at the end of last year, to new service offerings, and I’m about to launch an updated website to which this blog will link. Time to commit to regular postings.
New website. Renewed blog. Seems only logical that I kick it all off with a “new” piece – my journey into the dog training world seems a pretty good choice.
I’ve always loved animals. While still in the UK I remember Barbara Woodhouse on tv and even today I talk about going for “walkies”. We had the sweetest, silliest, least trained Cavalier King Charles Spaniel for much of my childhood. She endured a great deal in the way of infantile attention but never quite seemed ready to appear on the only dog show of which I was aware (Crufts). Undoubtedly a lasting legacy of having a family pet was a respect for them. While not fully attuned to canine body language, we knew to absolutely never pull, poke or tease. Lara was central to our family and of course came to Bermuda with us when we moved in the early 80s. I can’t imagine having grown up without a dog in the house.
Petless through university and the early years in my legal career, I vowed to make space for a companion animal as soon as I could. Kitties were a logical next step for someone hardly at home during the week but somehow I also found time to give to my local RSPCA too. If I couldn’t have a dog at least I could still help the homeless ones. And when I moved to Nantucket it was only natural for me to connect with the island’s animal shelter. That in turn helped me set up my pet care business but a summer spent nursing a broken ankle left me with a lot of time to think and to regularly check the Victoria Stilwell “Positively” website for updates on her dog training academy. It seemed almost too coincidental that at about the same time I was back on my feet and looking to rebuild my business that the application process for the first Victoria Stilwell Dog Training Academy opened. My application was lodged within hours.
I’ll be writing much more about my experiences as a VSA dog trainer but it is important for me to express what it was about this particular course that really appealed to me. There are a host of different dog training courses out there, so why this one? In short, I’ve liked Victoria’s work. While I didn’t have access to the Animal Planet to watch every episode of “It’s Me or the Dog”, in seeking information to help me with my own dogs, I had followed her online and in print, and greatly admired her approach and her commitment to non-aversive training methods. The fact that as a fellow Brit, a certification from her would be recognised in the UK if I was ever to head back that way, also helped.
On 20 November 2015 I heard the news I’d been waiting for – I was going to be amongst the students in the very first class at the Victoria Stilwell Dog Training Academy. And so the journey began……