Roz (Top Dog)
My name is Roz and I am in my late twenties. I live in Ashton with my partner, three cats and three dogs.
I grew up in the rural Herefordshire countryside surrounded by animals and dreamed of owning my own zoo or animal sanctuary. Growing up I kept a wide variety of pets and earned my pony's keep by working hard at my Aunt's livery yard. I was often used to tame and break in the shy horses and ponies as well as helping raise pairs of young fox hounds they fostered each year.
When I was eighteen I moved to Bristol and for the following eight years I worked in fashion retail management. I eventually grew frustrated at being cooped up indoors and sought a career change. I landed a position as 'top dog' at a dog boarding home and handed in my notice at my retail job.
For almost a year I worked as their dog walker whilst starting my own business: The Mutty Professor. Building on my natural ability with animals I gained a vast amount of knowledge and experience very quickly as I was walking packs of dogs all day and every day. Eventually I left to concentrate on my rapidly expanding business.
Not content with working with dogs day in day out, I can often be found with my head buried in a book on animal behavior and psychology. After reading countless books on different approaches to dog handling I have adopted an approach that works for me. I do not believe in dominating or bullying animals into good behavior using violence and force, and I strongly feel that a calm and positive approach is what achieves the best results.
After receiving continuous positive feedback from all my clients who received training or behavioral advise from me, I decided to branch out into dog training and behaviour.
In December 2012 I was fortunate enough to persuade the internationally renowned dog trainer Turid Rugaas to come and teach me at my home which proved to be invaluable.
On top of an ongoing self study program, I am also nearing completion of my diploma in canine studies as well as attending Sheila Harper's IDBTS to work towards my degree in canine communication and behaviour. The learning never ends.
On the practical side of things, I am also actively involved with dog rescues and have a keen interest in helping to rehabilitate rescue dogs with issues as well as continually doing my bit to help organisations rehome their dogs.
My first two dogs were rescues sent over from Spain, so I chose to go and volunteer at the shelter they are from three times to help me understand their background and help the dogs needing homes. As well as helping with the day to day running of the shelter, I photographed, assessed and wrote descriptions for the dogs online profiles.
Amy is my chief dog walker, helping me with all the group dog walks and some of the solo walks.
She has had four years experience working at The Blue Cross animal rescue center in Devon, before moving to Bristol and working at a vets for two years.
Her hands on experience makes her a valuable asset, and all the dogs absolutely love her. Amy understands the individual personality of each dog well and accepts that they're not all perfect.
She has received extensive training from myself and works with dogs in the same manner. She has a lovely gentle nature and a big heart which fits in with the companies holistic approach nicely.
She is the proud owner of two cats so she is also experienced in caring for our feline friends.
Kelcey (The Hound-stretcher)
Kelcey grew up working with and riding horses. This has given her a confidence around animals that is invaluable. Nothing seems to phase her.
She does most of the solo walks as well as helping me with group walks, dog sitting and being an extra pair of hands for certain training sessions.
She has a great sense of humor when it comes to the dogs and their personalities, and most importantly she laughs at all my jokes.
Denzel (Big, Ginger, Shouting Hound!)
Anyone who meets Denzel loves him. He's quite a character.
Brought over from Spain in October 2010 by the rescue charity SOS Animals, I adopted Denzel (previously called Bubbles!!) in November 2010.
He spent the first three years of his life chained up in the sweltering southern Spain heat and was abused by his owners. He was then rescued and spent a year and a half in the shelter before being sent over to the UK for fostering. I spotted him on a dogs blog and decided he was the dog for me. Four days later I drove up to Birmingham and came back with him. The next day he was doing group walks and hasn't stopped since.
Considering his past he is an asset to the team. He's very laid back and his assertive but calm demeanor has a great influence on all the dogs. He is occassionally playful and loves to join in with the chasing games but also takes his job rather seriously and 'polices' problem dogs if he feels they are being rude or getting out of hand.
Denzel has recently been developing his Nosework training with me and soon he will be used as a Demo dog for Nosework classes. Showing owners how a dog can be trained to find lost items when out in the field.
Letov (Curly tailed action dog!)
Letov is my second rescue. Brought over from the same rescue shelter in Spain as Denzel he has settled into his role of 'the pace setter'. Leto is very loyal and never strays too far. He's quite aloof and not very dog-interactive on walks and as such is an excellent dog to have when it comes to teaching youngsters manners and that not all dogs are play objects. He has the most fantastic way of communicating with other dogs and is incredibly tuned into his natural dog language (calming signals).
Unlike Denzel the 'smell connoisseur' (as I affectionatly call him) who walks at a leisurely pace taking his time to sniff things carefully and thoroughly, Letov gallops around from A to B instigating lots of exploring for dogs within a safe distance of me. He's a very clever dog who loves learning new tricks- especially jumping and balancing on things and waving at me on command.
Rescued as a puppy amongst a litter of five, he was overlooked for four years long after all his siblings were adopted. Despite having a (non contagious) incurable disease (it's a bit like malaria), Letov is healthy, full of beans and loves life. He is a great advert for how all rescue dogs that have health issues are capable of being the dog of your dreams.
Leto helps me with teaching aggressive dogs how to communicate better through calm and relaxed parallel walking sessions. He has helped many dogs overcome their fears and learn to communicate and behave appropriately.
Kanita (Little madam!)
Once known simply as K14, Kanita is by far my most extreme rescue case.
Once a ferral/stray village dog in Thailand, Kanita was stolen and became one of a thousand dogs seized by the Thai police when they were intercepted en route to Vietnam- to be turned into meat. The meat trade is illegal in Thailand and so the black market smuggles them over to Vietnam where eating dog meat is still legal. This massive group of dogs were held temporarily in a cattle holding area while volunteers got to work feeding them, giving them codes for identification and taking photos for all the waiting rescue charities. A charity called K9 Angels selected ten dogs, K14 being the first. Once selected they started to prepare them to be fostered in Bangkok and during this time Kanita tested positive for the deadly distemper disease. Fortunatly as the week passed she showed no symptoms, and two weeks later she was recovering from ordeal in her foster home where she eventually completed her quarantine.
She arrived in the UK on September the 13th 2012 and we collected her from London and brought her home. She recovered from her journey quickly and is now accompanying us on group walks where she is learning the ropes. She's far too busy having fun with all her new friends to be classified as a working dog yet, but considering the year she's had- I really don't mind!
*Kanita update*- She is now settling into her working life and starting to take on a little more responsibility. Over the past few months I have observed how amazing her communication skills are. This is what comes from being a ferral dog- you have to communicate well to stay out of trouble. She adds a new dynamic to my socialization walks and enjoys meeting all of the new dogs.
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