Hi! My name is Amelie. I'm a certified professional dog walker & pet sitter. My journey into the field of Animal Behaviour is not typical. While I've always loved animals, I didn't dream of working with them.
My first dog was Chanel. It was 1995, I was 15 years old, she was the family dog. She was the best, most cuddly dog ever. We got really lucky with her as she was "easy", in that she had no reactivity, no anxiety, she liked everyone (except for cats and squirrels). She just wanted to be pet. The "bad" things she did were chasing a squirrel down the street and occasionally chewing up items around the house (one of my favourite R.L. Stine books fell victim to this). We did what was "common knowledge", meaning that no one told us to punish her, to lock her in a room, to yell at her, to say "no, bad dog!" we did it because it's what people did.
Boss came to me in 2007. He was, what I later learned, reactive, anxious and fearful. He and I were extremely lucky that the woman who worked at the pet store around the corner was an Animal Behaviourist. At the time, I had no idea what that was, that this was a scientific field, that this was something one could study. This was quite the revelation, I was fascinated.
She began telling me about her work, her studies, explained body language, explained what Boss was telling me. At the time, I was a personal trainer and fitness instructor at a gym AND I was an ABA Therapist for kids under 7 with autism. My relationship with Boss improved immensely when I began LISTENING to him and respecting his boundaries.
In 2012, I was hit by a drunk driver. I was unable to work, was in constant pain, and ended up on welfare. Walking was a big part of my rehab, physically and emotionally. I began walking friends dogs to get me moving. Soon, I began getting requests outside of friends and family. With an increase in demand for dog walking services, I decided that if I were going to work with these animals, I needed to learn more about them.
I shadowed a certified animal behaviourist, I took classes via Coursera, took de Main de Maitre's Professional Dog Walker course (no longer offered) and I became Pet First Aid certified. Because of this, I was able to get myself off welfare and offer professional science and evidence based pet care services.
I continue to take classes, attend seminars and workshops, from certified and accredited professionals and institutions. I'm subscribed to science journals to receive the latest research on animal behaviour.
To read more about my qualifications, visit the education section.
I look forward to meeting you and your pet