When I graduated from high school I knew only one thing for sure: I loved dealing with people. In college, I chose to study education and earned my Master’s degree. During school, I had internships counseling drug addicts, studying animal-assisted therapy, and working in the human resources department of a big German company. When I graduated, I still had not decided what I wanted to do.
While I was trained to work with people, I always felt a strong bond with dogs. As a child, I walked my neighborhood’s dogs and eventually got my own cocker spaniel. After I moved out of my parent’s house, I volunteered at a pet shelter. I tried to tie my educational history to my love for animals, however, the field was still in development, and it did not occur to me that it could be a realistic career path.
In 2008, my husband got a job offer at UCSF in San Francisco. I was more than ready to go abroad, and I knew this was the beginning of a new chapter in my life. Before our arrival in the US, I searched for pet shelters in San Francisco, thinking I could volunteer while waiting for my work permit.
From the first moment I entered the San Francisco SPCA, I realized there was so much more to dog and animal training than I had ever known. I learned about modern and science based dog training methods, and was stunned by the huge market that had evolved to become the dog industry. I got excited over the idea that my vague thoughts about what I wanted to do as a career could become a reality.
I worked at the shelter for a year and then gained experience working as a dog walker and then at a dog daycare. I then decided to go back to school one final time. In the summer of 2012, I graduated from the Academy for Dog Trainers. The program detailed animal learning, domestication, dog behavior, breeds and training methods. I even trained dogs in front of cameras to get feedback on my mechanical skills.
Today, I have my own business training dogs. My goal is to help owners understand their pets better and find the right solutions to common problems. I also teach puppy classes for a dog training school in my spare time.
The first time I stood in front of a class as a trainer, I had the feeling all of my previous experiences had prepared me for that moment. I love training dogs and I love training people; my worlds have collided in a good way.