Where the Inspiration Began
Tippy was a magnificent Golden Retriever, full of life, happiness and zest. She came into our lives because at the time, being a young girl, I desperately wanted a puppy of my own. I paid fifteen whole dollars for her just so I could prove that she was mine! Tippy bonded to me and I to her; I experienced a relationship so strong that there were no words to describe it. She was mine and I was hers.
Beside my own, Tippy brought joy to many lives, as she was a therapy dog who visited nursing homes. She was gentle and let the residents pet her as long as they wished. She performed tricks for their entertainment; her most beloved trick was "peek-a-boo," where she rolled onto her back and covered her eyes with her paws. The residents absolutely loved her. When Tippy felt that time was up, she urged us on to visit the next resident. She was delighted to do her job each Tuesday.
Many people would speak of Tippy's calm demeanor, often commenting that "a dog that calm could not possibly be a golden!" Tippy delighted in car rides, walks, being our soccer team's #1 mascot & cheerleader, exploratory hikes, ice cream treats and her yearly birthday celebration. Tippy was the best dog. BUT, she was definitely in charge of her house. For example, she came in from outside only when she pleased. She sneakily stole socks, shoes, slippers, hats, etc. Then, it was a long game of chase before we could reclaim our items.
During walks, she pulled ahead when we were going somewhere and lagged behind on our way home. She also greatly enjoyed stealing food off the counters and table; she was a pro "counter surfer." Of course, we had her enrolled in obedience classes, which for the most part she excelled in. However, those courses did nothing to change her being the leader at home. She seemed to enjoy being the leader and in the "driver's seat." Tippy had a natural energy for it. We didn't seem to mind either, mainly because beyond obedience classes we hadn't the slightest clue how to be the leader for her.
Not knowing any better, we put up with her bad habits and sometimes even found them endearing. After just turning eight, Tippy developed bone cancer. It was terrifying knowing that the time I had taken for granted with my favorite dog was suddenly and rapidly dwindling. At the time, I was in college, and the guilt seeped in that I could not be there very often during her final times. She crossed the rainbow bridge three short months later. During that time and after, I had the nagging suspicion that I didn't do all I could have for my beloved dog. I've had a lifelong passion for animals, especially dogs, and Tippy was the spark that made me pursue my passion. The moment she left this life, head in my lap, I knew that my life's purpose was to be centered around helping dogs in any and every way I can.
About a year later, I was in the midst of planning how to make a living out of working with dogs. One day I took my dogs to visit the World of Pets Expo, where I met my mentor, Janice Wolfe. There, I learned that I could begin to make a difference and a life out of rehabilitating canines with behavior problems. I also learned just how simple it was to change my dogs' behaviors! I realized that the food I had fed my Tippy was terrible and had contributed to the development of her cancer. I immediately changed Sadie and Cookie's diet and have since become a "health nut" for both people and animals. Some call me crunchy and I jokingly call myself a hippie at heart. I don't mind. After learning about the philosophy of natural canine behavior rehabilitation, I knew this was where my career would begin. Since my certification, I have proudly been a part of the United K9 Professionals network as a canine behavior specialist.
I'm a behavior specialist to empower people to change their dogs' poor behavior habits, no matter how big or small the issues are. To restore people's hope by showing they don't have to change their lives around for their dog! To help people keep their dog healthy - both physiologically and psychologically - and prevent or slow the development of life threatening diseases. To prevent and rehabilitate behavior problems so we can keep dogs out of shelters. To prevent and rehabilitate behavior problems so fewer dogs are euthanized, more dogs are adopted and more lives are saved!