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.
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!
Before starting at Smart Pups, I worked at Guide Dogs Queensland for 3 years in the Breeding Centre working with their gorgeous puppies from birth through to adulthood. While working there, I gained my Certificate III in Companion Animal Services.
Prior to this, I completed my Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and taught in Early Childhood Services for 6 years. I loved working with children, but my desire to work with dogs in an industry devoted to helping others took over and led me to my career today. I am so grateful to be a part of an organisation that plays such an important role in improving the lives of children with special needs and their families.
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 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!