What is your professional title, purpose or passion?
I am a dog and puppy trainer, but really I train the human that is attached to the dog! I empower owners with skills and tools to be able to train their own dogs with ethical, kind and science backed training techniques to help get the very best out of their dog and puppy.
What did you want to do when you were a child and what changed?
When I was growing up I wanted to be a vet! I have always been fascinated with animals, but when I tried to pursue this, I realised my maths skills were not up to scratch. I’ve always really struggled with maths and numbers. Words have always made more sense to me, so instead, I pursued a career in book publishing and then finally found my true passion and meaning in dog training when my old boy Kirby dog died in 2014 after 20 long years together.
What's the best career advice you've ever been given?
Feel the fear and do it anyway!
What is the best thing about your current working environment?
That I’m working for myself and everything I do is helping to grow my business. I hated working for other people. I also love the flexibility that self-employed brings. I also get to hang out with my dog and cats a lot more than I did before!
Where do you see yourself in five years' time?
I see myself with my fiancé, dog and two cats living somewhere slightly out of London with some green space around us. We’d probably have another dog by then and maybe some human children on the way too. I’d like my business to keep on thriving with a couple of employees to help spread the load. I’m excited about the future!
Tell us more about a charitable organisation or project you think is great.
Battersea Dogs Home is one of my favourite dog charities. It’s where Kirby dog was rescued all those years ago when I was seven years old and where I’ve since volunteered and where I continue to support. They do amazing work!
What drives you?
The tangible changes that I see in the dogs and humans that I work with.
Any final comments?
I’d love to talk to you about your dog and how I can help!
What does a normal day look like for you?
A normal day usually starts with an early morning dog walk with Byron my Australian Shepherd x Collie. Then depending on my day, I’ll make my way to the tube or the bus and visit either 3 or 4 humans and their dogs in one day. Depending on how late I finish, I’ll get in and catch up on admin. I keep on top of my social media when I’m travelling in-between clients and check to emails and call people back. If I have some time between clients, I’ll try and pop home to walk my dog again, or have a little sit down and cup of tea. I work pretty much every evening but I have weekends off - they have become sacred to me! On Monday evenings I run my Puppy School classes and on Wednesday evenings I run my Adolescent Dog classes. I’m usually run off my feet during the week and I’m still working out an appropriate work/life balance!
What have you achieved that you feel most proud of?
Launching Kirby Dog Services from scratch 3 years ago and watching it grow and grow before my very eyes! The Guardian making a short documentary about my work was pretty cool too! But mainly the fact that I’ve worked with over 1000 different dogs of all ages, breeds and backgrounds and made some kind of a difference to their lives and their human’s lives makes me feel ridiculously proud.
Tell us about a a woman who inspires you
Would it be cheesy to say my mum? She’s been dealt some harsh blows during her life and still manages to carry on with grace and dignity. She’s probably the cleverest and most resourceful person I know and I just love her so much!
What was your biggest failure?
Being too amenable to people and going above and beyond for absolutely everyone at my own detriment. Oh and not putting enough money aside for my tax bill!
What do you like most about yourself?
I think I’m very kind and have boundless empathy for people and their dogs.
How can we make the world more inclusive and accepting?
Impeaching Trump helps and also Education!
What skills have been key to your journey so far?
Organisational skills are super important and so are my people skills. I think my years in PR and Marketing in the book publishing world have really helped with that. Even though I have to be able to read dogs and their body language, a huge part of my job is reading their humans and forming good rapport with them too. After all if they aren’t on board with what you’re telling them, they aren’t going to do their homework!