My name is Alena. I grew up in Germany and moved to Ireland when I was 20. I don't think I can remember a time I didn't want to own dog, however I was never allowed to. When I was 8 years old my neighbour had a German Shepherd cross called Mira who I was allowed to borrow for walks, as this neighbour did not have enough time to take care of the dog. Mira and I soon became good friends and added another furry friend, Benji, to our walks. The time that I spent in the forests with these dogs was very special for me. Especially because Mira usually pulled her owner around the village and Benji would not walk with anybody but his owner and me (due to him being mistreated for over 10 years before he found his loving home). For some reason dogs always reacted in a positive way to me and were willing to be trained by me.
Later on I started watching a dog training programm on TV with the famous German trainer Martin Rütter. I was fascinated how he helped frightened or aggressive dogs and their owners. And deep down I always wished I could do the same work he did. But at this point I didn't know how this would be possible.
When I came to Ireland all the years of watching this TV show finally paid off when I started volunteering in a shelter and I was able to help train the dogs that came in which increased their possibilities to find a new home.
In this shelter I also found the love of my life, my dog Jack. He was not liked by the other volunteers and he also never got any of the visitors looking for new companion interested in him. After he was in the shelter for 5 months I made the decision to find a job, car and house (I was an au pair at this point) and give a home to this dog. I don't think I have ever been more determined about anything in my life and after another 4 months we were able to move in together.
Two years later I heard abut classes offered by Nanci Creedon which would prepare people to be dog trainers. I started saving up money for this course and started studying with Nanci in September 2015. I am now proud to say that I am a qualified dog trainer and I hope to be able to do what I already wanted at 12 years of age: help dogs and owners to live together happy and harmoniously.