For many years, I lived vicariously through every dog owner in my West Village neighborhood. While I was desperate for a dog of my own, a very demanding job made that impossible. Finally, after switching to a job with a more predictable and consistent schedule, I adopted an adolescent Black Lab/Hound mix from rural Georgia in October 2009.
I was "over the moon" about my girl and had BIG plans for us. Not only would she train with me for the NYC marathon, but we'd also study to be a therapy dog team and become fixtures at every outdoor cafe in the neighborhood.
After a few weeks of living with me, it became clear that the universe had VERY different plans in mind for us. In short, my girl didn't have the nerves of steel required to navigate NYC with confidence and verve. Things to which many city dogs are accustomed - joggers who brush by too closely, skateboards, motorized wheelchairs, screaming toddlers and homeless people - startled and/or scared her. And she was becoming more stressed out by the day.
My girl needed someone to help over a really big hump and the only person she had in her corner was me, who didn't have a CLUE. Never one to quit without a fight, I attended group training classes with her, worked diligently with a few private trainers and even consulted a veterinary behaviorist, all to no avail. And to add insult to injury, all of these efforts made things worse and left me feeling pretty discouraged and helpless. I actually began to entertain the notion of moving upstate so that my dog could live somewhere that didn't stress her out. If you knew me personally, you'd know that this was a desperate cry for help and thankfully, a friend of a friend passed on information about Who's Walking Who just in the nick of time.
My girl has a pretty amazing life today thanks to WWW, her hard work and my blood, sweat and tears. She and every other dog in this world deserve nothing less. I want to help as many dogs as I can get to that place, but realized that I couldn't do so without having some serious dog skills, at which point I decided to do the WWW apprentice program. I'm super excited to be part of the WWW team and very much look forward to working with and learning from the best.