About me…

…and Dogs

I grew up in a small town near Toronto and spent 22 years of my adult life in Northern California. Now I’m happy to call Saratoga Springs, NY my home. I spent the majority of my life as an athlete- soccer, cycling, rowing in University and later ultra-running. As a cyclist I competed on the European road cycling circuit and lived part time in France. Later my husband John and I started a Bike Touring business in the Northern California wine country. Shortly after we opened our Bicycle Touring Center I began racing Ultra Running marathons and competed in events anywhere from marathon distance to 350 km events.

In California we had four dogs- two of which were born deaf. The female deaf dog had multiple bites to her history and I negotiated with one of her owners- who was an addict-in order to get her released from the shelter where he surrendered her. It’s quite a story that falls in line with many of the dogs that have come into my life. I’ve also acquired dogs from independent transporters-true animal activists driving hundreds of miles to save dogs and getting donations for gas money.

I currently have a deaf male American Bulldog (Buck) and a female American XL American Stafford shire terrier/mix (Izzy). She spent two years in an over crowded Central California shelter passed over many times for ground and flight transports to northern rescues.

In my younger days I’ve also worked on a suicide hotline, led youth sports programs for at risk kids and was a running partner for a number of marginal shelter dogs. For many years my daily life has been filled with dogs that need a little or a lot of extra guidance and understanding. I’ve also had my own animal care business.

Far too often, for various reasons, dogs don’t get the life they deserve. I’ve always wanted to be an instrument in animal welfare so the “captive” dog could lead more fulfilled lives. I’ve often been drawn towards the dogs that are often called the “aggressive” dogs or the “difficult” dogs. My interest is not egocentric, I’m not a dog whisperer- the bottom line is that I relate to these dogs because my life has been a lot like theirs and I was labelled “troubled” many times throughout my life. We apply labels and judgement to the things we simply do not understand. Understanding the purpose of behavior in dogs can ultimately help build more meaningful bonds with the species that are so closely evolved alongside us.

The latest information and education on dogs as a species and sentient beings can help us understand them accurately. Dogs and humans evolved symbiotically over thousands of years. So what happens to make a relationship between two closely knit species breaks down so badly that the one species resorts to aggressive behavior and biting? I believe there is so much to be understood about dogs and animal welfare through this study.

Dogs are individuals, have unique learning styles and are different breeds with differing functions in their genetic make up. Behavior doesn’t make a dog good or bad, it’s simply a group of actions in communication in order to obtain a resource. A dog’s function is to survive and thrive and I’m looking at their language and communication signals with people.