Dawn

dawn, millie and skootchie

Well, here I am. Me and my girls. We were at a book signing for a training book their pictures were in. There aren't a ton of pictures of me around, but there are a few more on the gallery page.

The first tidbit to know about me, if you haven't figured it out already, is that my life revolves around dogs. I own three, which got me as involved as I am with everything dog related: rescue, training and dog sports. But we'll get into that more later. :)

Some boring facts: I work for a government contractor as a Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) Analyst. I'm going on my 5th year now and I still love my job. Basically I am a go-to gal for when something goes wrong with the HR systems. Every company has a system that keeps all of the employee data. My department administers, updates and controls ours. We also own and maintain our own HR intranet for employees. This past fall I was the Project Lead on the redesign and implementation of Self-Service for our employees. It was a stressful but rewarding time.

Although I love my job, it is just a means for me to do what I want with my private life. And that takes us back to dogs. :)

Training

I volunteer at Canine University on Tuesday nights. CU teaches positive reinforcement training with a clicker and treats. I started helping out about 7 or 8 years ago after I got Millie under control. I thoroughly enjoy it - it's kind of like a Zen activity for me. It's always nice to help people understand why their dog is doing what it is and explain how they can get their dog to understand what it is they want to do instead.

Flyball

Flyball is a sport I compete in with my Min Pin Freddie. It's a fast-paced dog sport in which 4 dogs jump over 4 hurdles to get a tennis ball from a spring loaded box and then head back over the 4 hurdles being careful not to crash into the dog going up at the start line. Basically it's a dog relay with jumps and a tennis ball. I trained Freddie with the clicker back when there weren't a lot of people using it in the sport. That was a bit of a challenge, but very worthwhile in my opinion. Freddie was featured a couple of times in print: our local paper, The Boston Globe did an article on the sport and recently, a special magazine about Toy Dogs had a small feature about him and I competing in Flyball.

Rescue

I've been involved in Miniature Pinscher rescue since Skootchie came into my life in 1997. I helped start a nation-wide Min Pin rescue but left after 3 or 4 years to start my own. It's much more peaceful this way. :) Helping dogs find a new home is a wonderfully rewarding experience. The most frequent question I get asked is how can I give them up once they're in my house. The answer is, it's a mind set. To be good at rescue, you have to know from the very start that it's temporary - no matter what. If you keep every dog, you won't be able to help another one. Unfortunately, there are just too many out there for that to be possible. As wonderful as it is, it's also pretty draining. To avoid burnout, I have to take a step back from time to time and just pay attention to my dogs.

School

I'm currently enrolled in the Web Degree program at Baker College Online. I graduated with my certificate (4.0 gpa) and am working on my degree. I figured since I do it for a living, I might as well have that special piece of paper that says I know how to! Seriously though, I was never a good student in high school and I didn't go to college - I thought I knew it all then. But, people have to grow up eventually and it looks like I just might've. I actually enjoy school. I have a deeper appreciation for learning now than I ever did. I'd recommend it to anyone who was toying with the idea. It's amazing how much you can learn!

Random Factoids

My favorite colors: Black, purple, and orange
I *love* dragonflies and flowers
I have an alarmingly wide variety of interests
I am fairly fluent in American Sign Language
I'm addicted to Tivo
I love men with tattoos
I only drink dark beer
I love sitting in front of a fire
My favorite chick flick: The Notebook
Henry Bendel Lemon Verbana is the scent I have in my bedroom
Satsuma from The Body Shop is my personal scent
When I think of more, I'll add them...

Now go look at my furry kids. :)