I grew up in the heart of PEI in the small town of Kensington. I had a dog from birth as my parents took in a black lab mix puppy shortly after I was born. Sambo and I were inseparable and sometimes she would get loose and track me to church on Sunday’s. I said goodbye to my friend at the age of 15 and was not allowed to have another pet so I got a job at the local vet clinic feeding and walking the dogs in the kennels. Then for my cooperative learning program at school I got a placement with the vet clinic working side by side with the staff weighing animals, assisting in surgeries, caring for animals pre and post op, working the counter greeting clients, selling pharmaceuticals, booking appointments and assisting the vets during appointments.
From 1999-2004 I lived in British Columbia working in hotels and resorts, my area of study in college. My jobs required a high level of customer service skill and an ability to anticipate the needs of others. On a cloudy day in a park in Nelson, BC I saw a vet walking a fat black dog. I asked what was wrong with the dog and they said nothing, she needs a home. I said I’ll take her! She was 7 years old and her name was Brandy. I slimmed her down with trail running, hiking, rollerblading and mountain biking. She was a great off leash companion and lived until she was 11.
In 2008 I lived in the woods of Brookvale, PEI and got my 3rd black dog, Sailor. Sailor was a challenge for me as he was extremely independent and took off often. I was heart broken because I wanted a dog to run and bike with and I always had to tie him up. That’s when I heard of Duke Ferguson and Unleashed Potential. I went through lessons with Duke and Sailor was a new man! We built a strong relationship and a solid foundation of skills. He was then enjoying an off leash life. Duke saw that I had some skill training my dog and said I should consider becoming a dog trainer. I decided not to pursue it at that time but always thought I should have taken that opportunity.
I had to say goodbye to Sailor in 2011 and went 3 years without a dog. I was not able to have pets in the place I was living and I really missed having a dog so I started a part time business called Trail Dogs where I would take peoples dogs out for runs on mountain bike trails. I was able to spend time with dogs while not owning one. I wanted to grow my business and would spend time at my office job day dreaming about a day when I could work with dogs full time. As time passed I was becoming unchallenged with office work and was wishing for a more active physical job. In 2015 I quit my job as a receptionist and waited for inspiration to hit for my next plan. It happened and I asked Duke if I could come and see him. I wanted to know if being a dog trainer was still a possibility because it was all I could think about doing. I happened to contact him at the right time. I was accepted in to Unleashed Potential K9 Academy and Duke has been my mentor ever since.
After countless hours of study, months of hands on work and deep practice I am now proud to be a part of the Unleashed Potential team. I have now trained 100’s of dogs. I was a ski instructor for 15 years and it feels good to be teaching people again. Diagnosing problems, offering solutions, motivating, coaching and the best part is when people get excited and tell me of their recent successes with their dog. I advocate for the dog owner because I’ve been right where you all have been…sitting in a chair across from Duke at my wits end with my dog. I believe passionately in the balanced system we teach and my clients report better communication with their dogs, increased trust and the joy of a new lifestyle of off leash activities never possible before.
I now have my 4th dog who is not black but I love him just as much. Kyro is the perfect sidekick and I love watching him learn and grow as he matures.