As well as working with clients “virtually” when shutdown began in March 2020 I also continued my growth and education in the dog training and behavior field and am now a proud graduate of the Victoria Stilwell for Dog Training and Behavior Academy!
As many of my clients know, continuing my education in the field of dog training and dog behavior is of paramount importance to me so that I keep my knowledge and skills fresh and current. I do this each year by attending conferences, webinars, reading books by renowned trainers and each year choose a course that I feel with further my development.
This year I chose to do the Victoria Stilwell dog training and behavior course. I have followed Victoria for many years and am a great admirer in her belief of positive/force free training but also of the huge work she does both here in the USA and the UK to really drive this training philosophy forward. She also does a lot of work to promote and support rescue and shelter dogs, something that is very dear to her heart.
The Victoria Stilwell Academy is the world’s premier institution for professional dog trainer education founded by renowned dog behavior expert Victoria Stilwell, and graduates of VSA have been individually taught in-person by Stilwell and other VSA faculty. All VSA graduates are rigorously assessed at the highest level for both skills and knowledge in the areas of dog training, behavior modification, canine ethology, creative problem-solving and more.
Additionally, great emphasis is placed within VSA’s industry-leading curriculum upon effective and empathetic human communication skills. This unique focus results in professional dog trainers who are prepared not just to train dogs successfully using powerful force-free, positive reinforcement-based tools and techniques, but also to help dog owner clients to learn how to truly transform canine behavior and set their dogs up for success using the latest in modern behavioral science methods.
I throughly enjoyed doing the course and am delighted to be part of the Academy where I will continue to receive good input from fellow trainers and a support network. The course also kept me focused during what has been a very stressful and difficult time for us all!
For any aspiring dog trainers out there I highly recommend this course, details of which can be found below.
A sad beginning with a happy ending for Cleo!
~ by Jen Dehestani
My name is Jen Dehestani and I am very involved with animal rescue on the Caribbean island of Aruba. Aruba has an estimated 30,000-40,000 stray and semi-stray cats and dogs on an island with a population of a mere 105,000 people, and geographically is only 21 miles long and 6 miles wide. This ratio is quite staggering. Many go to Aruba on vacation to enjoy a slice of paradise but it is no such place for the animals of the proclaimed “One Happy Island”. Many locals view animals as vermin and treat them extremely poorly. Even many “owned” dogs are not treated well, not cared for properly/ neglected, and left to roam around on the streets, reproducing freely with other unsterilized dogs. Below is the story of one such dog, “Cleo”.
Cleo(patra) was found in an overheated concrete backyard. She was tied to a pole with an iron chain in the hot sun with no shade available. She had to keep herself and her six puppies alive for a very long time without food or water.
She was extremely skinny and dehydrated, in very poor condition, neglected, and not well cared for. Her owners had left the country on vacation and thought the dogs could survive without food or water for a FEW WEEKS while they were gone.
Nearby neighbors made reports and tried to improve Cleo and her pups situation by contacting a group in Aruba called the Crijojo Trappers, who primarily focus on spay/neuter but often help with many calls about animal abuse/ animals in need. When the “owners” were reached, their response was “we don’t want her, you can have her killed” (killed in this awful place called “the kill cage”, where animals are placed no questions asked and killed by a government employee within 24 hours).
Cleo had no place to go, as all the fosters on the island were full and all the rescue groups on the island were at capacity and unable to take in any additional adult dogs. So together with a foundation called Cunucu Dog Rescue we put our heads together and started fundraising to be able to pay for Cleo to stay at a lovely dog daycare / boarding facility in Aruba called Iguana Dog Resort run by two amazing people, Joop and Liz. Through the kindness and generosity of donations from many individuals, we were able to pay for vet /medical care and months and months of Cleo staying at Iguana Dog Resort until a local foster became available on the island.
Then finally after six long months Cleo was officially adopted by a wonderful family in Belgium recently! Lots of land for her to run, children to play with, even horses. A “forever“ home to finally call her own. Cleo’s journey is one that began in despair and suffering at the hands of her previous “owners” to a completely new lease on life, a home where she will only know love and kindness for the rest of her days on earth. Her story had the ending it did because of the kind hearts of so many people along the way. A village of good people.
There are a handful of amazing animal rescue foundations who work around the clock helping Aruba’s animals. Sgt. Pepper’s Friends, New Life For Paws, ARF, Luna Foundation, Cunucu Dog Rescue, United Dogs Aruba, Crijojo Trappers.
Cunucu Dog Rescue, ARF, Luna Foundation, and New Life For Paws, are all 501(c)(3) organizations. Should you wish to make a donation (that is tax deductible) the donation links are below.
In times of darkness, the light is what will get us through. We keep on fighting the good fight!