“When I die, I want to come back as one of Linda's pets!”
This is one of my husband’s most common jokes to his friends & even to some of his business associates when he feels our pets are getting more TLC then he.
I know in my heart that my hubby affectionately enjoys making sure that I hear that comment regularly for 3 reasons:
1 - He knows that giving our pets loving care is one of my top priorities & every once in a while he wants me to know he feels a little neglected without admitting it.
2 - He uses me as an excuse why he himself dotes so much on our pets too. (“Linda makes me spoil them.”)
3 - He is proud of my life long & unwavering dedication to not just the caring & training pets, but to educating pet owners how understand & met their pet’s needs so they can all share their lives together in a peaceable kingdom.
My Long History of Caring for Pets
As long as I can remember, I have always had an empathic connection with animals.
All I wanted as I child was a dog & a horse of my own.
It became my lifelong passion & dedication to learn how to care for & to understand why animals behave as they do.
While I was studying biology & animal behavior at the University of Georgia (I thought I wanted to be a veterinarian at the time, I didn't), I acquired my first dog, Schaden, a male Weimaraner, in 1976.
Of course I spoiled my Weim completely rotten & then I desperately needed to find help to train him & get him under control.
We began group obedience classes offered by the local AKC club.
Within a year I was apprenticing to teach group dog obedience classes.
During this time I was first introduced to dog sport competitions.
Since then, I have loved the hobby of training & competing with my canine partners in dog obedience trials, tracking tests, conformation shows, and dog agility trials.
I still actively enjoy competing in dog agility trials now with my ever fun loving dog Petey.
Horses, my childhood passion
I can not remember a time I wasn't enthralled with horses.
My mother, though, had a deep terrible fear of them & tried to desperately keep me away from them.
Her Uncle Joe had a farm "up state" in Pennsylvania (were I grew up) & owned a black mare named Princess (really!).
When I was 6, my mother & my grandmother decided that if I actually was next to or even sat on a real horse, I would be so afraid of it (like them) that I would instantly get over my total infatuation with them.
The plan totally backfired.
It didn't take but 5 minutes after Uncle Joe introduced me to Princess that he had me on Princess' back, trotting bareback around her paddock for the next hour.
I was completely hooked on riding horses & learning everything about them!
Although I rode others' horses occasionally, it wasn't until I got a job as a regular babysitter at age 15 that I could afford to pay for weekly horse riding & jumping lessons.
I eventually became an active competing equestrian in dressage, show jumping & eventing cross country for over 15 years on my sweet Quarter Horse, Dodger.
For several years in my mid twenties, I owned & managed a horse boarding stable, High Spirit Farm, in the Redlands were I was the chief groom & stall cleaner.
After my first son was born, I decided to sell the farm with all of its hard physical labor.
It was time to board my horse while I focused on raising my two sons and caring for my numerous dogs.
Dog Training to the Rescue
Since 1978 I have volunteered my time to local dog clubs to provide dog training classes to the public.
When my first marriage fell apart, I was in my mid thirties with my sons then ages 5 & 4.
I needed to find a job that could support us.
Even through I had worked at the University of Georgia for over four years in two genetic research laboratories as a lab technician (that's how I put myself through university), I hadn't worked as one for over a decade & I just couldn't find another laboratory job.
My good friends said, "Linda, you have a real skill you are ignoring. You are a great dog trainer & a good soul that gives away your expertise all the time. Maybe you should go into business."
Initially I didn't have the confidence to open my own business, but I was instantly hired by a local in-home dog training service that recognized my skills.
In 1991 I launched my business as Wag Time LLC, changing its name to Wag Time Dog Training LLC some years later.
Proudly, my career was as a professional dog trainer was very successful for over 15 years.
Since I was one of the few dog trainers in south Florida that spent their own money to extensively travelled around the US to study & take certification courses in resolving canine behavior problems, including at Cornell University & through the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, clients were recommended to me constantly by local veterinarians. The APDT is recognized as the premier national & worldwide organization for dog training professionals.
I was one of the few dog trainers in Florida to first take & pass the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers' exam to become a Certified Professional Dog Trainer.
The CCPDT is the only independent certifying organization for the dog training profession.
In spite of over 12 years of business success, I closed my dog training business in 2003 when I realized that my managing the healthcare for my mother (she was dying of cancer) was really a full time time job I couldn’t turn down.
It is a personal choice I have never regretted.
In my mid-40’s I was inspired to become an acupuncture physician & holistic healthcare provider and I enrolled in a 4 year professional masters degree program in acupuncture and healthcare.
I became a Nationally Board Certified & Florida licensed Acupuncture Physician and Primary Healthcare Provider, with a private healthcare practice in Kendall until I retired in 2016.
Why I returned to a Pet Service Business
Of course, I have always continued to volunteer to teach dog training classes for local dog clubs.
Even before I retired & closed my healthcare practice in 2016, I continued to receive dog training & pet care requests.
It began when our neighbor desperately needed VIP petsitting while they were frequently traveling in preparation to relocating to another state.
They were having difficulty finding someone that was not only dependable & flexible.
They needed someone skilled that could handle their 2 dogs that did not get along.
Their dogs required extra consideration, special handling & some training.
Pet sitting for our neighbor not only made me realize that I really wasn't ready for retirement at the young age of 60, I realized that I had a renewed calling in life.
My own pet care business gives me the flexibility to choose my own work schedule while doing work I excel at & really enjoy, without the demand and responsibility of being a healthcare provider.
Now I provide exclusive, customized pet care services for your VIPs - very important pets.
- As a licensed business that is insured & bonded, I provide expert service in my job of professional dog trainer & petsitter.
- I care for all types of pets, not just dogs & cats.
- You can travel worry free knowing you have a skilled & capable caretaker looking after your pets that are staying stress free in their own home.
- I can help if you have a new puppy or young dog that needs midday care or a walk with training.
- If you have one or more dogs that needs to go out for a potty break during your long work day, my services include potty breaks or short walks.
A Different Dog Walk Visit
I offer a different kind of dog walk visit:
Shorter walks that are combined with play training to teach control with obedience for good doggy manners.
Although exercising dogs by taking them on runs or long walks does keep a dog more physically fit while taking off their restless edge, often dog owners don’t understand why their athletic dog still seems to have even more energy!
Simply, longer duration of exercise just makes an already fit dog even more fit with even more endurance!
These canine athletes are only tired immediately after their rigorous run or long walk.
By the time you get home from work, they have enthusiastically bounced back with vigor!
A shorter walk combined with play training is the kind of attention that your dog craves while providing your dog with a mental workout.
This encourages dogs to be less likely to have behavior issues that stem from too much energy and boredom at home.
It is also a good physical and mental tonic for middle aged and older dogs to have this activity 1-3 times a week.
* I strongly feel that exercise runs or extra long walks in Miami’s humidity & high temperatures (especially mid-day!) is unsafe and can easily lead to canine heat stoke.
In-home Private Dog Training
I also offer in-home private dog training with you as well as while you are away.
When you return home, if needed, I can provide you with training so your dog will listen, respond & behave better with you.
l utilized primarily positive reinforcement training methods in structured programs for:
basic puppy training,
good dog manners,
canine impulse & focus training,
as well as the management & retraining for behavioral issues.
Contact me to discuss why you are unhappy with your dog & how training might resolve the issue.