Debby

Gary and I got married, moved to Switzerland and adopted a pug, called Pixel. I’d always dreamt of having a dog and he was wonderful; the most amazing dog. He was our child, he would come with us everywhere; he was like my shadow. He came on holiday with us to Austria, Italy, Prague; he went everywhere with us.

We decided to come back to the UK and obviously he came with us. He was our son. We tried having a baby for a long time, it didn’t seem to work out and so I thought I’d get another pug. We were looking and then I got pregnant.

I remember being about 8 months pregnant and crying, thinking ‘I’m never going to love this child as much as I love Pixel’. This is how important Pixel was. When our daughter was about 3 years-old, one day Pixel wasn’t well and when we took him to the vet, they said we needed to prepare ourselves. I thought he is just a bit funny, as pugs can be. He was a week away from being 8 years old, so quite young still.

He didn’t make it through the night. That was the worst day of my life. I missed him so much. That first weekend without dogs, I just couldn’t do anything. My neighbour was going away so I said, ‘please can I have your dog’ and we did; we had Harvey for the weekend and it was lovely having a dog again and I thought ‘I wish this was a job’.

Within two weeks, we rescued another pug that needed a home and Wilko joined us. I became a dog boarder and started dog walking as well. You come to really observe all different breeds, some get along very well, some don’t. I asked myself ‘why don’t they?’ and I realised they are really sending messages to each other and I just could not read them. In fact, Wilko got attacked by a Labrador, a friend’s dog, we knew very well. I thought there must have been something that they said to each other and I missed it. I got really frustrated, so I looked into it and found out about dog body language, dog psychology and I studied it. I realised that I could be a dog trainer, despite doubts from family and friends.

I studied and qualified with the IMDT (Institute of Modern Dog Trainers), we train with love, rather than force or punishment. I now run my classes, six group classes per week, private lessons every day. I run socialisation walks and I have joined the ISCP to become a dog behaviourist as well. After all this, I can say my business is quite successful; I am really happy with what I am doing.

I wake up excited every day to do my work because I am there to help. I feel very proud of myself for achieving this; I had a lot of people doubting, even my mother asking, ‘when am I going to get a job?’. From the worst day of my life, when I lost Pixel, I have created something that makes me so happy. I am grateful for him because he has left me something amazing.