Today I am Angry

I’m angry.  Really angry, really sad, and really tired. 

I have the best life, the best career helping dogs and their people as a certified dog trainer, and the most supportive community of graduates and students in The Academy for Dog Trainers.  Not only that, but the continuing education, both among ourselves colleague to colleague, and through case studies, weekly webinars, contests and so much more, is just astounding. 
My life is through the roof good.  And yet at times like today, i find myself Angry, Sad and Tired. 

I wonder if Veterinarians have this sort of support through their governing bodies and educational institutions. 
I really do wonder that.  They deserve it more than I can even put to words, but I really doubt that they do have it. 
Angry, Sad and Tired.

“Our greatest glory lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall” - Confucius

“Our greatest glory lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall”
- Confucius

Recently we have heard quite a lot about the high suicide rate among veterinarians, and those who are stepping up to help them.  Big hearted, animal loving, science loving, smart people who have spent money they didn’t have, and a lot of it, to get the education which allows them to do a difficult, often sad and thankless job.  They really are heroes; heroes traditionally lacking support, though that is starting to change, thank goodness.        

There are a lot of heroes in this game, from veterinarians to behavior specialists like myself and my colleagues, sitters, walkers, and even breeders who are practicing and promoting education, science, regulation, and force free, fear free lives for pets.     

Today while it may seem that I am angry AT veterinarians, I am in fact angry on their behalf. 
Angry on the behalf of pet owners, veterinarians, dog trainers like myself, and others who give deeply of their knowledge, education, and hard won expertise in the pet related industries. 

Angry, because it seems that so many of these truly lovely people, are not getting the support they need and deserve, and because of that do not have the most up to date information with which to help the pets and pet stewards in their lives. 


I am sad today because another puppy won’t get the early socialization that ensures the best possible chance of preventing fear and aggression, and may suffer all the fallout that goes along with that missing out. 
Sad, that this puppy’s people were told by their veterinarian to place a priority on disease concerns over socialization during this very short window that we are granted to get that prevention and socialization on board.  Advice that is in fact, the opposite of what the behavior arm of their very own, American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior now recommends. AVSAB recommends to prioritze early socialization over disease concerns due to the very real dangers of installing fear and aggression in dogs during this important phase of their lives.
Sad because this puppy already has some hills to climb from poor breeding, and now I will worry constantly about this puppy.  By the time they return to me, at 5 months old, it will be too late for most, if not all, of the preventative work we do in my Puppy ABCs class, and the classes like it that can literally save lives.   

Just saying that makes me want to go back to bed, pull the covers over my head, watch mindless drivel on the TV, and get drunk.   
But I won’t because there is too much work to do on education and because I am stubborn.  While I may stumble, I will not yet give up. 


“Jump into the middle of things, get your hands dirty, fall flat on your face, and then reach for the stars.” - Joan L. Curcio

“Jump into the middle of things, get your hands dirty, fall flat on your face, and then reach for the stars.” - Joan L. Curcio

I am tired because although I have only been fighting this fight a short time compared to some, I have seen an endless stream of scared, fearful, poorly bred, poorly handled, pack leadered, dominated, puppies come through my classroom. 
Tired because, each one of these little misunderstood and mistreated lives, takes everything I have to help.  It is what I signed up for in a way, but it’s exhausting, and I am too often sitting with puppy parents who are as sad and bewildered as I am.  But I am the professional and I have to step up and guide them through the thicket of bad information, down the long road they will travel with their fearful puppy. 

They will spend money, and I will make money, and the puppy will get better, maybe all the way better, maybe not.  I would gladly give up that particular money making opportunity, to never have another fearful puppy in the world again.  I don’t love these cases, they are really hard, and really gut wrenching, and in the best case scenarios, really rewarding.  But that reward comes at way too much expense in my opinion. 

Today I am Angry, Sad, and Tired,  and I may be all of things tomorrow too, but thanks to my friends, colleagues and all the good support in my life, I will be here fighting for as long as I can for change in all of the industries involved in our beloved pets. 

I will be here alongside my heroes, fighting hard for education, certification, regulation, and continuing support and education for all of the good people who provide these loving services.  And I will be more often very happy, than sad.


Dogs Who Attended Puppy Class are More Trainable

Extra Early Socialization for Puppies Makes a Big Difference

Veterinarians Are Killing Themselves. An Online Group Is There To Listen And Help





Every single image I’ve used here is courtesy of:, and I could not be more grateful.



Suzanne Bryner