I grew up in Europe around many pets, including a Shetland pony, dogs, cats, birds, turtles, guinea pigs, rabbits, mice, hedgehogs, and fish.
In 1989, I began to volunteer at the Florence Area Humane Society in SC, and, shortly after, was elected to the Board of Directors. My volunteer duties included, cleaning kennels, training and fostering puppies, animal cruelty investigations, fundraisers for local families in need of pet food, medical needs, and spay and neuters. After moving to southern California, I volunteered at the Rancho Coastal Humane Society in Encinitas as a Canine Coach, dog walker, and dog park monitor. I also joined Hidden Valley Obedience Club, earning several volunteer awards for assisting in training sessions and for volunteering for more than 200 CGC evaluations as part of “Wag's for Wishes” that benefited the Make-a-Wish foundation.
When I moved to Utah, I joined a local obedience club, was elected vice president and club librarian, and offered positive reinforcement training sessions, using a clicker in many classes. I also offered my services to “Calling All Dogs” in Holladay, Utah. There I taught classes for puppies, basic manners, and CGC, offered private behavior consultations, and added my curriculum for agility, rally, and treibball.
I also volunteered for Canines with a Cause, providing foster homes for dogs, training shelter dogs, offering free training group classes for veterans with PTSD and their service-dogs-in-training, and attending adoption events. In 2012, I was part of the volunteer committee for the first “Pup Cracker” freestyle performance for Intermountain Therapy Animals, benefiting their therapy animal program. I continue to foster, train, and evaluate rescue dogs for Western Australian Shepherd Rescue, Arizona Border Collie Rescue, and Herd of Wyoming.
Through the years I have homeschooled my two daughters through middle school and high school. I have also adopted three old horses and I trained my blind horse, Jack, with a clicker and carrots to raise his feet over obstacles. However, dog sports became my passion after I adopted my first Australian cattle dog, Rylie. I have attended four ClickerExpo conferences; agility seminars and camps with Silvia Trkman, Stacy Peardot-Goudy, Jim Basic and more; and obedience, flyball, and dog behavior seminars including Leslie McDevitt's “Control Unleashed.