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Alumni Profiles

Gloria Peckham

Gloria  Peckham

Faculty of Applied Health & Community Studies
Year of Graduation: 1995
Program: Animal Care

Training dogs that make a difference

My love of animals was kick-started during my first job at the Calgary SPCA. After moving back to my hometown of Hamilton, Ontario as a young adult, I landed a job in a factory. It was a blessing for me when free trade came into effect - it caused my company to close down and move to Mexico. Knowing the company was closing, I decided factory work wasn’t for me anymore and looked toward re-entering the animal field. This decision led me to enroll in the Animal Care program at Sheridan.

Upon graduation in 1995, I started my own dog grooming business. After two years I needed a change of pace, so I joined the Dog Guides of Canada, beginning in the kennel, and working my way up to a head trainer position.

A certified service dog trainer, I have been with Dog Guides for 19 years as of August 2015. It’s been a fulfilling career with many accomplishments. We have expanded our programs over the years from three to six, allowing lots of room for growth on our training teams. I started in the Special Skills training program about eight years ago and developed the Seizure Response program. In 2013, Dog Guides added another program – the Diabetic Alert program – of which I also am the Head Trainer.

We breed all of our own dogs and they are raised in volunteer foster homes. When a dog is one year old, it comes to us for formal training. We have about five to six months to train a dog before placing it with a client. Typically, a certified trainer has about eight dogs that they train at once.

One of the most challenging and interesting parts of this job is adapting our training according to the variety of disabilities we encounter. The characteristics within a specific medical condition like epilepsy vary from one person to the next, so everyone’s needs are a little different. But, the most rewarding aspect of this work is watching our teams succeed in the real world once they bring the dog guide to its new home.

Meeting the changing demands of the real world is an ongoing learning process, so new graduates should continue to grow their knowledge base. Sheridan’s Animal Care program is a great stepping stone.

Learn more about Sheridan’s Animal Care program