I was born and raised in Belgium in a family of animal lovers. At most points during my upbringing we had dogs, with my first memories being of our Newfoundland. Most visitors to our house were astonished by the sight of this impressive dog with a deep sounding bark, but in fact he was just a big, fluffy, sweet and gentle soul that loved all people and other dogs. He was the best pillow to fall asleep on.
At the start of 2018 my wife and I had the unique opportunity to move from Melbourne, Australia (where we had met a few years before) to NYC for work. For me this was the perfect chance to fulfill my dream of working with animals. At that point I had only two prerequisites; working outside and being surrounded by dogs. So immediately upon arrival in NYC I started doing research into becoming a volunteer dog walker for an animal shelter, I knew this was the best way to gain experience to find a job in this industry. I came across Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC), went to an introduction session, followed by a training course and started walking dogs for the shelter. I participated in outreach at adoption events and I welcomed corporate groups at the shelter, where I introduced them to the sweetest pups. It was at one of those events that I began chatting to a person who ran a dog walking service and one week later I started my new job as an official dog walker in NYC.
While it felt really good to walk these dogs in need at ACC, it also opened my eyes to the harsh reality that many dogs are surrendered to the shelter for behavioral issues. And that became even more clear after we started fostering a senior dog from the shelter. We took in an 11 year old pitbull mix, Rosie. We were told that she was good with other dogs, but we quickly discovered she was dog reactive and had separation anxiety. After 4 months we found, what we thought, were the perfect adopters for her, but sadly it didn’t work out and it was devastating for her and us. It was at that point that we decided to consult with different trainers and none of them could deliver us any progress on her issues. It was out of that frustration that I decided to become a dog trainer and help as many dogs as possible. I’m forever grateful for Rosie and her issues for pointing me in the direction of dog training. I’m excited to be working with Stacy at Who’s Walking Who so I can learn the trade from the best in the business. And yes, we ended up adopting Rosie who is happily living out her golden years on our couch.