When I was a kid I acted like a dog. Literally, I walked on all fours, barked, cocked my head when I was confused (which was a lot), and would even paw at my mother to get her attention. I watched our dogs closely and mimicked them. Much to my twin brother’s dismay, I even behaved this way at school. Fortunately one day a teacher told me I was too old to behave like that so I ditched the dog act to behave like a human. Nonetheless it was no surprise to anyone when I adopted my own dog the minute I moved into my own apartment. And it was even less shocking when just a year later, in 1997, I began instructing the dog training classes at Petsmart in Gainesville, FL.
I wanted to learn so much more than I could at Petsmart and from the books on the shelf so I started working with long time trainer and author, Dee ZurBurg. For a year I soaked up everything she could teach me while teaching for her at her school. She took me to seminars and dog obedience trials and encouraged me to read all the latest books. It was during this time that I learned that any dog can be taught anything using purely positive methods and kindness. In January of 1999 when I left Gainesville I told Dee I wanted to move back to Wilmington where I planned to start a Doggy Daycare.
It took almost three years working at Dogtrain, gaining more experience, and coming into my own as a dog trainer. By the time I opened DAP in 2001 I knew how to fairly teach and manage every dog with kindness. I knew because I had seen another way and it made me very uncomfortable, so I had to be sure I learned. DAP was very popular with my former students right from the beginning. So much so that in 2002 I opened a second location on Carolina Beach Road. By 2006 I made the decision to focus on one location and make it perfect.
What we have now is a perfectly designed set up that we find keeps the dogs safe, is easy to manage and the dogs always have lots of fun! In fact DAP has been operating so smoothly for so long and with the same staff members in place that since January of 2010 I have been living in Vermont almost full time. I visit Wilmington every couple of months and spend several months here in the winter over the holidays. I talk with the DAP humans daily and love looking at all the pictures on Facebook everyday. I miss DAP when I am away however while in Vermont I stay busy teaching classes and working on all kinds of projects with the Humane Society of Chittenden County.