My love of dogs started early on in childhood. We always had dogs.
When I was about 10 years old we had a Dachshund named Snoopy; he had behavior issues, and aggression issues, and had bit everybody in the family but me. I knew to leave him alone and I guess I could read something that others couldn’t. He actually died an early death having his teeth cleaned, and we’re wondering if that didn’t have something to do with some of his behavioral issues too. We called him neurotic.
When I was in high school, I was in a veterinary explorer post that was run by a veterinarian. He asked me if I’d like a job and I was like, “Sure.” And he was like, “Well, how old are you?” And I said, “15.”
And he said, “Well, you come talk to me when you turn 16.”
So the day I turned 16 I went to work for him as kennel help in the back, doing all the dirty jobs. But that got my interest in helping the physical side of animals. And after seeing some behavior cases there, too, with dogs.
He also did wildlife rehab and so that introduced me to the work of wildlife rehab and I wound up doing wildlife rehabilitation for almost 30 years. I just gave it up recently and that was helping injured wildlife and re-releasing them to the wild after they were healed. I became a vet-tech from then. I started working for other vets after that. I worked for an animal emergency clinic in Houston where I came across my first personal dog, a Dachshund that I adopted there. He wound up having issues with other dogs, and aggression toward other dogs.
And then, after that, I adopted a female Dachshund through another vet I worked for at the same time I worked for the emergency clinic. She was probably what we consider a teenager. She had issues with feet, and anytime anybody would raise up their feet, she attacked them. And so there, again, it was another behavioral issue that I tried to figure out what I could do to help her and get her over those issues.
I had her when I moved up to Bryan College Station. I became an animal control officer in Bryan College Station and continued to work through them and see behavior cases, neglect cases, and dogs running around loose and picking those up. I started a Prevent-A-Bite program in College Station. I got a dog through animal control that was only probably a week old, Loki, that was a mixed breed. I said I was going to raise this dog to be the perfect dog and be well socialized and not have any behavioral issues that my other two did. I got her well socialized and started group classes with her. I used her in my Prevent-A-Bite programs in the schools in Bryan College Station, Be a Tree program for the Prevent a Bite. She rode around in the truck with me doing my animal control duties. I also started group classes with a trainer up there. And shortly thereafter, in March of 93, I moved down to the Rio Grande Valley where I worked for a vet.
At the same time, I got Loki in group classes in Mission at Valley Dog Training Center. Then I started to work for them for a couple of years until they closed down doing basic obedience training. They didn’t do so much as the behavioral issues, from what I remember. I continued learning more about behavior issues and opened up Smarty Paws, training friends’ dogs with the behavioral interest. So it made me open my own business and help other people.
I have a Doberman that is six years old named Leah, and I have a Rat Terrier named Emmy that’s 11 years old. We love hiking, camping, playing games, and doing agility here. I love helping families overcome their dogs’ problems and their dog’s issues and getting them to be a family dog and a properly socialized dog in their household that they’re willing to take out with them and incorporate into their daily lives, so they don’t have the issues that I had with dogs growing up. I know more about that now and the daily struggles that people deal with and their dogs. I just find it rewarding to help families and consider myself a family dog trainer.
So if you need any help with your dogs, reach out to us. SMARTY PAWS DOG TRAINING at 281.756.7215.