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.
I’m originally from the southern area in Adelaide near the McLaren Vale wine region and beautiful beaches and sunsets.
I started my working career in customer service and then transitioned into an administration role which was within the health sector. This has given me strong foundations throughout the rest of my career.
I have always known I’d love to work with animals and started this journey as a veterinary nurse in small animal practice. Once I completed my qualification I was lucky enough to be able to volunteer in the animal health centre at Adelaide Zoo on a regular basis. During this time I also studied a Graduate Certificate in Captive Vertabrae Management with Charles Sturt University. I was in the field for 7 years. Once again this experience has added to my foundation knowledge and experience for my next steps within my Career.
In 2008 I was extremely fortunate to get take my next steps and combine my passions of working with animals and assisting others. A dream came true. With lots of hard work & support (while working full time) I completed a diploma in Disabilities & A Masters in Human Services with Griffith University. I successful completed my qualification as an Orientation & Mobility Instructor with formed part of my international Qualification as a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor (2011). During my time with Guide Dogs SA.NT I was primarily responsible for and worked within all aspects of Guide Dog Program both dog & client roles (formal training, class training of new teams, follow up & support of active teams through to retirement and starting the application & assessment process to start again). I gave support to the Puppy Raising & Puppy development teams, vision Services team and the Autism Assistance Dog (AAD) Program. I was an assessor for the Public Access certification Tests & Bronze Paw tests. I ran the 2 day handling course for families going through the application process of the AAD program and supported were required the remainder of the program. I thoroughly enjoyed my role within Guide Dogs SA.NT and extremely thankful for this journey and the people I have worked with along the way. From my involvement in the AAD program,vision services yearly Kids skills camps and the pilot buddy program (working with children with vision impairments and assistance dogs) my passion for early intervention grow.
In March 2017 I’m excited to say I made the big interstate move to follow my passions of early intervention and joined the team at Smartpups. I couldn’t believe my luck! I stepped very quickly from a Senior trainer role into a team Leader role also. I provide support to our recently qualified Cadets (through their journey’s to completion). Support for the Maryborough Correctional Centre Prison Program. I work alongside Dayle on the Borallon Training & Correctional Centre program. As part of the senior team I work alongside Dayle, Patricia (the Founder) & Kylie (client support/ administration) in matching of our soon to qualify Smart Pups. I have trained and placed the first Vision Assist team, Autism Assist teams, mobility Assist teams & medical alert (Seizure response) teams. In 2018 we were fortunate to undertake scent training (Diabetes alert) with the international known and respected Debbie Kay. I have been blessed to work in a specialised and rewarding career and worked with some truely amazing and inspiring people I’m able to call my friends. I feel vey fortunate to working with the Smart Pups Team and to be apart of this amazing organisation. To be able to place dogs with families throughout Australia and see firsthand the impact these dogs have on their special person and the families & community is priceless.
I look forward to the continuing my growth as a trainer learning from each dog & team which I work with. Plus I’m loving living in Sunny QLD.
Being the daughter of a a dairy farmer I have grown up with a deep appreciation of animals. Having been surrounded by dogs all my life I have seen the positive impact they have in people’s lives both physically and emotionally. I was keen to explore this as a career change and was fortunate to gain employment at Guide Dogs Queensland where I spent the next seven years. During this time I undertook my Masters in Human Services majoring in Disability and became qualified as a Orientation and Mobility Specialist as well as an International Guide Dog Trainer.
My passion has always been to work with children and I couldn’t believe my luck when in 2016 I was offered a position with Smart Pups! It is my dream job working with children, the families and or course the gorgeous dogs. Having the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing organisation, great team and seeing first hand the positive changes these dogs make in their lives is such a privilege and one I don’t, and never will, take lightly.
I really look forward to the years ahead!
Having an employment background in administration and sales I have spent many years volunteering working in the animal industry in rescue organisations and teaching dog obedience classes.
Having a passion to both enrich the lives of others and continue to work with animals, I was extremely fortunate to gain a cadet-ship with Smart Pups when I moved to the Sunshine Coast in 2016. From here I have not looked back. Each day I learn more and more from these amazing dogs as I continue to build my skills
I have spent 7 years as an allied health assistant and a research technician at a couple of major hospitals in brisbane. I have worked as a horse riding instructor in the USA, rehabilitating dogs from medical research labs and at a boarding kennels in Melbourne. In my spare time I like to train and compete in sheep dog trials.
I have always had a passion for animals and helping people. SmartPups has given me the unique opportunity to combine these.
During my university days, I was fortunate enough to volunteer for an organisation that connected socially at-risk individuals with rescue animals. There, I saw firsthand the benefits that animals bring to the health and wellbeing of vulnerable people. Once I completed my Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours), I always had a feeling I would utilise animals, specifically assistance dogs, in my future work – I just had no idea that I could be training them myself one day!
Out of uni, I worked as a Child and Family Case Manager in a mental health early intervention program. In this role, I connected with children, young people and their families, and equipped them with strategies to cope with life’s adversities. This role was very meaningful to me and so I knew that my next job would have to be just as special.
Now I’m here at Smart Pups and I’m pinching myself. I get told at least once a day that I have “the best job in the world”. All I can say is that I could not agree more!
I began my career in the animal industry in 2011 with my first job as a Zoo Keeper and Animal Presenter working with free flight birds, koalas, elephants, otters, reptiles, wombats, and my favourite.. the dingo!
This is where my passion for training began. In 2013 I studied a Certificate III in Dog Behaviour and Training which lead me to become the Head Trainer of the Dingoes and Exotic animal department. This role involved training and enriching many amazing species, but my favourite task was taking home and raising 3 cheeky dingo puppies!
In 2017 I made the shift to dogs where I joined a local dog training company, gaining experience in group training classes, in home training and boarding school behaviour modification. Through this job I was also lucky enough to help with the training of Assistance Dogs. Watching how an Assistance Dog can change someones life by giving them confidence, independence and support got me hooked. I knew then and there this is something I had contribute to.
In December 2019 I was fortunate enough to gain employment with the amazing team at Smart Pups!
I cannot wait to help change the lives individuals, children and families all over Australia by training a gorgeous Smart Pup.
With a serving heart – It has always been a dream of mine to work with children and change peoples lives in such a positive way. I am thrilled to now be part of the Smart Pups team and see the amazing things our dogs do for such a broad range of people, Australia wide.
I started my career in the animal industry in 2011 working on one of the largest Arabian Horse Studs in Australia, moving my way up to Manager. Whilst working I completed a Certificate III in Rural Operations.
After managing the stud for 8 years, I felt I wanted to develop my animal knowledge further, so my partner and I moved to the Sunshine Coast and I started a Certificate III in Animal Studies (Veterinary Nursing). Whilst studying I was able to volunteer at a number of large and small vet clinics, wildlife Hq Zoo and the RSPCA.
When I got the job at smart pups, I couldn’t of been happier. My sister is on the autism spectrum so growing up I got to see how animals truly made her calm and happy. Being a part of an organisation that provides such a selfless service to these wonderful families and individuals is an honour.
I am perhaps a little prone to sentimentality and I am a lifelong animal lover. I believe that if we can live happy, healthy lives without hurting others, why wouldn’t we!
I am truly proud to be part of the Smart Pups team, a team that shows so much compassionate and dedicated in helping children with special needs and their families. I couldn’t think of a more rewarding job.
After completing a Diploma in Business Administration, I have worked in Office Administration for over 25 years. I was fortunate to join Smartpups in 2015 as Office Manager, and have never worked in such a rewarding job as Smart Pups.
These adorable, puppies arrive to commence our training programme at 8 weeks of age, and then go on the be the most amazing support, and loving companion in part of a very special child’s life, it’s indescribable and life changing!
It’s an honour to be part of these family’s inspirational journey, and to work with such a wonderful, passionate team at Smartpups is not a job, it’s a privilege!
Of course animals are at the top of the list. I grew up with them and have had a variety of jobs involving them including zoo keeper, stable hand, research scientist, park ranger and vet nurse. This really just means I have experience with all kinds of manure and also have a few useful qualifications.
I am a qualified veterinary nurse, working in the industry for thirteen years during which time I was recognised by the Australian Veterinary Association for my role in mentoring many junior nurses. I extended this role by becoming a qualified TAFE teacher and now use these skills in a most unexpected but rewarding way, teaching inmates to train Smartpups in the prison system.
I like writing too, and once even won the Victorian Premier’s award for literature. Now I enjoy writing our newsletter, Smartpress.
After so long in nursing I tired of learning about the internal biology of animals, when my real passion was the behaviour of the whole dog. I ran puppy preschools and attended workshops on dog behaviour before hearing about Smartpups.
Don’t tell the other trainers, but I have the best job. I find and meet wonderful foster families and deliver cute pups to them. I get to share in the joy as the pups grow, not just in size but in confidence and ability.
I’ve had experience in large corporate settings and small family owned businesses and this position is by far my most favorite to date. Putting my vast client experience and love of furry friends together, I consider myself exceptionally lucky to be working along side such a strong and inspirational team who truly believe in what we do.
To see the changes our Smart Pups make in the lives of our clients is just magical