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Meet the Team – Joanna’s Journey

DSC_1305Just Joanna !

We all have dreams and wishes in our lives but unfortunately it is often easier to stay in the rut you are in because changes are daunting and very scary, so, sadly many people remain partially happy for most of their lives.   To try and follow your dream or even more so make it come true is one huge massive step. However to coin the phrase by Martin Luther King “I have a dream” that is how my life changed when I met up with a “pocket rocket” by the name of Tracy McQuarrie

Looking back I don’t think I realized just how big this change was going to be as my entire working career had been in the corporate world, mainly in the pharmaceutical industry. For over 30 years I had been involved with and dealing with all the stresses and strains of working extremely long demanding hours, helping many people sort out last minute issues, working at fever pitch, total crisis management, dealing with highly volatile personalities and having time constraints that were impossible to adhere to with as well as bosses who were not interested in any excuses but needed their work NOW. Even to the point that if you were sick with something awful and had been booked off – as far as they were concerned you could work from your bed!!!.

I had always wanted to work with dogs and the more often I went to help out at Barkingmad as it was called in those days -on my way home from ,my “normal” job and get to know the 30 or so dogs – the more I knew I wanted to make it my permanent location. Here was the real world dealing with the results of neglect, abuse, cruelty and ignorance of people who no longer wanted to keep their faithful pets.   They could not comprehend the simple fact that all their dogs needed was love, kindness, food, water and shelter.

So now every day as one of the trainers at Dogtown the caregivers come with me and bring one of their special furkids on a “social”. This is where the dogs get a chance to come to one of our super duper play areas and see and meet up with some of their buddies from other Octagons. We practice various aspects of training, so that when the dogs get their chance to be adopted they already can sit, lie down, come when called, and take their treats gently without snatching and many more good behaviours. Also on some mornings we go off around the farm and the caregivers pair up with one of their dogs to lay tracks for them to follow or play the “search and rescue “ games. Here the dogs have to find their caregivers using their noses and all their natural senses and be a proper dog. It is absolutely amazing to see the joy in the dog’s faces when they find their caregivers or follow their tracks and then to see how proud the caregivers are of their own dogs and how their training sessions have paid off with such great results.   So being in a position to work with these dogs and their dedicated caregivers is so rewarding and helping dogs that have suffered and yet are always willing to show how forgiving they are never ceases to amaze me.

By giving them the love and affection they deserve It is the best feeling for me to be able to be part of the change in a dog’s life that came to Dogtown either timid, hurt or reactive and be part of his or her life giving them a second chance at finding their forever home.

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