Meet Theresa Corley, a dog geek like you

    About

    My Goal for This Blog

    To educate, entertain and share with fellow dog lovers the many lessons that living both a personal & professional life amongst dogs teaches me.

    What Makes Me a Dog Geek

    Theresa & Dexter

    Once upon a time…

    …there was a girl whose parents decided that having an only child wasn’t such a bad thing. Still, the house was a bit too quiet so they began to bring home furry creature after furry creature until the house was full. The young girl adopted the furry creatures as her siblings and the rest, as they say, is history.

    I have cared for and loved animals for as long as I can remember. I have always felt compelled to understand them. Dogs are incredible companions, listeners, learners & teachers.

    Here are some fun facts:

    Want something more serious? Keep reading. I outline my professional experience & philosophical views on some hot button animal issues.

    Professionally

    I began formally working with animals as an adoption counselor at

    (animal shelter) in Colorado at age 19. I went on to run the foster care program for the

    (back then it was called the Humane Society of Santa Clara Valley) in California where I was tasked with training & coordinating nearly 100 volunteers. My years at HSSCV were, perhaps, my most formative as I also was responsible for making some very difficult decisions. However, it was also about doing everything in our power to find homeless animals forever homes. Education was paramount. During my time there I also was a

    going into classrooms & speaking at school assemblies about responsible pet ownership.

    I moved to Northern California for college and began working at an animal hospital. I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development/Counseling, but continued working in Veterinary Medicine. I worked my way from Kennel Assistant to Practice Manager. I learned how to minimize patient’s stress, how to identify & prevent medical problems, as well as how to relate to clients faced with the myriad of decisions associated with responsibly caring for an animal. Along the way I had the privilege of working alongside some amazing Behaviorists, Veterinarians, RVTs, CSRs & fellow dog geeks who I still call friends today.

    In 2010 I opened Pampering Pickle Goodies & Gifts for Dogs in Placerville, California, a dog boutique focused on quality products that promoted the human-animal bond. At the start of 2013, my mother became very ill and passed away which led me to close my business. She fostered a deep love and respect for animals in me that I will always cherish. Miss Pickle rode home from the shelter on my mom’s lap and she called my pets her granddogs.

    While operating Pampering Pickle, I began developing a series of educational videos, infographics and white sheets for Veterinary Receptionists/CSRs. It was originally just to help out some of my colleagues in Veterinary Medicine. After my mother’s passing I returned to Northern California and due to overwhelming support and interest, I am expanding the series into a full educational program which will launch at the beginning of 2014. I encourage you to check it out.

    Combined, that makes up my 20+ years of experience in animal healthcare & welfare.

    Philosophically

    Training:

    I believe in the power of patience, understanding, science and force-free training. I’ll tell you why. It makes sense whether from an empathetic position (heart) and a scientific position (head). Dogs and humans are both mammals with strong social ties and capacity for learning. I received my degree in human development with an emphasis in counseling. What I learned in college was that traumatized and stressed out humans don’t benefit from techniques like flooding or physical domination. What I learned in my 20 years in animal healthcare & welfare is that dogs don’t benefit from these techniques either. Patience, consistency & a clear understanding of what is expected make all of the difference.

    Spay/Neuter:

    I am a strong spay/neuter advocate. Animal populations continue to explode out of control. Meaning that the number of animals needing homes far exceeds our communities’ capacity to provide meaningful, lifelong homes.

    to learn more about pet overpopulation from the American Humane Association.

    Breeders:

    The breed specific knowledge of

    (click to read the American Humane Association definition) has been incredibly valuable to me over the years. Often times, they were able to remove animals from the shelter and into loving homes which opened up space for non-purebreds to be adopted. Breed groups are often heavily involved in rescue & community education efforts. Sadly, the animal welfare community has been long divided between those who are “rescuers” and those who are “breeders”. Unfortunately, responsible breeders get lumped in with backyard breeders, puppy mills and other offenders to animal kind.

    No Kill Efforts:

    I have often said that no kill facilities offer a philosophy & a choice in how to run an organization rather than a complete solution. It’s true that caring people work tirelessly to start and maintain no-kill shelters and rescues. Caring people also work tirelessly in traditional shelter and rescue environments that engage in euthanasia.

    I happened to be working at HSSCV when the . We took a lot of verbal attacks from well meaning people for killing helpless animals. Why couldn’t we just be like the SF SPCA who were just miles up the California coast from us? Just build more kennels, work harder to temperament test & rehabilitate. In theory, it really does sound great. Who in their right mind would WANT to purposely kill a helpless creature? To better understand this conundrum we can first look at the SF SPCA’s own definition of no-kill “…an adoption guarantee for every healthy and treatable animal and the supporting programs to prevent animal homelessness.”  Great!

    Wait.

    What if an animal is unhealthy or untreatable? What if you have to choose between spending a $1000 donation on one animal, but by doing so you’ve spent everything  and must now turn away ten animals who may be euthanized OR spend $100 on ten animals, but then you may have to euthanize the one that required $1000 in care? Questions like this begin to change the very definition of what untreatable means. Are you starting to see the problem? If our nation were dealing with a finite number of homeless animals, a large population of skilled volunteers who could treat, train & rehabilitate those animals and a bottomless pocketbook, then no-kill would be the answer. The reality is animals not suitable for no-kills often end up in traditional shelters.

    What it comes down to, for me, is that people have the choice to create and support whatever kind of organization they so choose. We just cannot stand divided against each other. People who work in no-kill shelters are not better humans than those that work in euthanizing shelters. As a society, I believe it is best to focus on a common solution like spay/neuter efforts rather than remaining divided over philosophical issues.

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