Deb has had animals all of her life. There were always family dogs in the house and she was given her own mini-schnauzer at the age of 5. (Which of course mom and dad had to take care of but "Snoopy" was truly HER dog). When Snoopy passed away at a ripe old age well into his teens, a Springer Spaniel mix was brought home to the chagrin of her parents. But of course they fell in love with "Dusty" and when Deb moved from home, "Dusty" had to stay.
When Deb was in a position to own a dog of her own, she went to the local shelter in November 1999 and adopted "Smokey", a Norwegian Elkhound. She renamed him "Dakota" and quickly brought him to obedience, rally and agility classes. He is the dog that 'started it all' with Deb's involvement in training dogs and participating in dog sports of all kinds. Dakota was not a traditional breed and gave Deb a run for her money, but they worked hard and successfully obtained rally and agility titles. Dakota was sadly put to rest in April of 2013 to prevent him from suffering from nasal cancer. He was approximately 15 years old.
Dakota was adopted while Deb lived in a condo, but after purchasing a house in April 2000, she went on the search for another dog. Dakota was possessive so he needed to meet and greet every potential new dog and had to agree to the adoption. Eventually Dakota picked out "Diamond" in September 2000, on Deb's birthday. Poor Diamond, an American Staffordshire Terrier, was a classic abuse case, scared of her own shadow, possessive of her food bowl, and some signs of fear aggression. Deb renamed her Hannah (registered name Handle With Care) and with a lot of patience and love, rehabbed Hannah into a loving pet and social companion. Deb trained Hannah in flyball but never competed in that regard. She also trained Hannah in agility. Hannah was extremely soft and motivationally challenged to the point that qualifying in agility was difficult due to always being over time or her wanting to eat the judge from time to time. But patience and hard work paid off and Hannah and Deb eventually earned their AKC Championship in Agility (PACH). She also competed in CPE and NADAC and has numerous agility titles in those venues. Hannah sadly passed away suddenly of heart based hemangiosarcoma in January of 2012.
Somewhere along the way, Deb got it into her head that she NEEDED a third dog. While in her head she wanted a breed more suitable for agility than her Elkhound and her Amstaff, that was not meant to be. One day she ran into another Amstaff while at a kennel. "Petey" had been abandoned there by his prior owners and was patiently waiting for a new home for quite some time. Deb brought "Petey" home to foster... but this proved that Deb could never be a successful foster home. Petey kept his name and kept his new couch which he claimed the day he walked through the doors.
The addition of Petey meant that Deb had to learn new skills. 2 dogs are friends... 3 dogs are a pack. Pack management became essential and these three rescue dogs taught Deb a great deal. Eventually they all figured it out and while the two males were not best buddies, they were able to live together in harmony with proper management.
Of course, Petey wasn't here just to be a lounge lizard. Even though that is what he prefers! He was also trained in agility and completed his AKC Novice titles as well as a few NADAC titles. Unfortunately he ruptured both cruciates which meant a LOT of surgeries for him. He came back to do agility but was injured one day just playing around the house and was diagnosed with FCE. Deb rehabbed him to ensure a quality life and he amazingly still walks on all fours. Occasionally, when NADAC is in town, Petey can be found running a fun tunnelers course. Petey is also a certified therapy dog and has visited nursing homes, hospitals, children reading programs, and senior day care centers. He is currently retired from this regard. At approximately 13+ years of age he has gained the right to lounge around the house and do whatever he wants.
Deb's most recent addition is Staffordshire Bull Terrier "Bonnie". Registered name Elivid's Shaken Not Stirred. Bonnie is an adrenaline junkie who keeps Deb on her toes ALL THE TIME. She is highly driven and quickly earned the nickname "Bonster". Like the others, Bonnie is learning agility but she is also introducing Deb to a whole new realm of dog sports. Deb showed Bonnie in AKC Conformation and finished Bonnie's Championship completely owner handled and including many prestigious wins at major shows and a Group 2 placement!
Deb decided to delve deeper into the world of Obedience and Rally with Bonnie, and they currently have achieved their Rally Novice title as well as Beginner Novice Obedience. They are now working towards their AKC CD and CDSP CD-C. Additionally, Bonnie and Deb are training for tracking, nosework, weight pull, and dock diving! Bonnie is a very well rounded multi purpose dog who is exposing Deb to LOTS of new things. In addition to Deb's canine experience, she is also experience with other animals. Deb has worked with horses for almost 40 years and is experienced in all levels of their care. She owned her own horse and rough boarded him meaning she just paid for a stall and was responsible for stall maintenance, feeding, etc all on her own. "Stormy" was a gorgeous Pinto who did it all. Deb competed with him for many years and obtained his Register of Excellence as well as many Championships the Pinto Society of America. After finances forced the sale of Stormy (Deb kept contact with his new owner for the rest of his life) Deb continued to ride horses with a jumper trainer who her best friend happened to marry. She showed jumpers for several years before eventually going back to college and then settling into married life. Deb hopes to one day again have a horse of her own... If that wasn't enough, Deb has taken care of various farm animals for friends over the years including cows and sheep. Deb also has some limited experience with lizards. ;)
Debra is located in Jutland, New Jersey and is available for pet sitting and dog walking services.