I changed breeds and bought my first Golden Retriever in 1980 and have bred, showed and trialled Golden Retrievers for the past 30 years. From my first Golden, I went on to raise Show Champions and Obedience winners as well as many litters of pups.
In 2000, I set up my own business as a Dog Behaviourist, doing ‘in home’ training for problem dogs, as well as running a successful puppy preschool and adolescence dog group training class. My clients mainly came from recommendations from local veterinarians and dog training schools.
I was asked by a client to help train a dog for a child in a wheelchair with various disabilities. Seeing the difference an assistance dog made to the independence of this child, I was on a mission to train more assistance dogs!
To learn as much as I could about training assistance dogs for children, I went to the USA to join 4Paws4Ability and worked a 6 month internship. Seeing for myself the amazing success of dogs helping children with disabilities, I was convinced the internship was well worth it to have this knowledge and train these dogs back in Australia.
Smart Pups was launched in 2011.
After almost 20 years working as a secondary school teacher, I decided I needed a career change. My passion was working with children and families with special needs, so after relocating to Queensland from Melbourne, I was very excited to be given the opportunity to join Smart Pups.
I grew up surrounded by dogs and now have two beautiful puppies of my own. They bring so much joy to my life and I couldn’t imagine life without them. Now that my children are getting older, they are my babies.
I’m extremely fortunate to work alongside such inspirational people who are extremely passionate about working with dogs and enriching the lives of our clients and their families. Our Smart Pups are truly amazing. I am constantly amazed by what they do and difference they make to peoples’ lives
My previous experiences and qualifications have helped prepare me for the role of training dogs for kids with special needs. With a degree in Social Work, Leadership & Global Understanding, and a diploma in Canine Behaviour Science and Technology, I have learned theory and progressive knowledge to continue training our pups with the most up to date research.
My previous employment with The Lost Dogs Home as a Behaviour Trainer in Melbourne, VIC and at Animal Wellness Centre in Minnesota, USA have given me practical experience that shapes the way I train today, and I am so thankful for every opportunity I have had along the way.
After years of working in the corporate sector and raising a family, I decided I needed a change. I heard ‘follow your passion’ and ‘do what you love’ which meant two things for me – yoga and dogs. I was a qualified yoga teacher so I followed that path, while volunteering at animal shelters and offering a dog walking service. During this time, the Smart Pups vans seemed to always be passing by. Smart Pups puppies were visiting the local shopping centres and I often passed by the local Charity shop. I felt I was being told something……
So I applied for a kennel hand position. Six months and several emails later, I started as a casual in the kennels. I still remember how excited I was to get that phone call! And I have never looked back. From casual to fulltime kennel staff and now Kennel Supervisor in January 2022, my Smart Pups experience has grown enormously. My role has included Trainer Assist, Puppy enrichment as well as fostering numerous Smart Pups in my home.
I can honestly say this is the most rewarding and fulfilling job I have ever had. Working with a great team of compassionate, professional people with so much knowledge is an honour. Spending my days with these loveable, talented and wonderful dogs is a privilege. My heart is full as each Smart Pup is placed with his person to do what they love to do. I am very grateful and proud to be part of the Smart Pups organisation.
As I am often told “you have the best job in the world”!!