My name is Sarah Jenkins (ABIPDT). I have worked with dogs for nearly 15 years and have personally had dogs in my life since I was 2 years old. I am a Canine Behavioural Advisor and Trainer with my own business, based in Whitstable, Kent, Jenkins Canine Services. I started my career all those years ago at Lord Whisky Animal Sanctuary where I became the head kennel person. It was working there that gave me the inspiration to become a dog trainer.
I wanted to help those poor dogs that had been abandoned or rehomed. I started the long but very enjoyable journey required to become a qualified behaviourist. In my opinion experience is equally as important (if not more so) as any academic qualification. My ability to read dogs has come from the numerous breeds that I have taught both on classes and on a One to One basis.
As a behaviourist I frequently help people who are experiencing problems with their dogs. These problems can range from general naughtiness to more serious issues such as separation anxiety or aggression. I constantly campaign for the breeds that have been tarnished with the “devil dog” label (Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Rottweilers, German Shepherds etc). I genuinely believe that no dog, no matter what the breed, is born bad.
Everyone has a dream of what they would do if they won the lottery, new car, new house, exotic holidays etc. My dream has always been to open my own rescue centre where I could rehabilitate the dogs that came into my care and find them their own home where they would be safe and loved. Every dog deserves that.
Tarka – My Inspiration
Sadly I recently lost my Rottweiler, Tarka from bone cancer at only 7 years old and my world came crashing down. She was an incredibly special girl and had an amazing temperament. She was loved by everyone and was well known for her “Tarka cuddles”. She was also my demonstration dog on training classes and never failed to perform, she changed so many people’s perception of Rottweilers and was such a great ambassador for the breed. I don’t ever want to forget how wonderful she was and so I recently thought, “why wait for that lottery win, why not make it happen” and so the idea of the “Tarka Sanctuary” was born!
Why I want to do this
I watch the news and get saddened by how many dog attacks take place, so many children being scarred or worse killed. Nearly always as a result of human error, mostly by their owners lack of responsibility. Unfortunately there are a number of cases where rescue centres do not do their job properly and many simply rehome any dog to any home just to meet their targets. Some are run by inexperienced people and sometimes the dogs come out worse than when they went in. The lack of ongoing support is shocking as well. Once the dogs have left they don’t want them back! The inexperience shows at times when bad advice is given by the rescue centres. A prime example of this is when a “behaviourist” of a big rescue centre advised a couple that rehomed a Collie from then to not walk their dog because it doesn’t like other dogs! Six months later when the owners called me the poor dog was stir crazy! This needs to change. Rehoming needs to be done from the dog’s perspective! I am linked to a rescue centre where I offer behavioural support. They listen to my views and value my opinions. It can and does work!
I am about to register as a charity and start fundraising to get the Tarka Sanctuary up and running. I plan to make it a rehoming centre like no other. I have the experience, the passion and the drive to make this happen and have the support of some wonderful people both clients and friends. Also a fantastic team that all want to be a part of this wonderful venture. I have plans to have special boarding kennels to help fund the centre, a day care crèche and a low income veterinary clinic so that all dogs can receive the care that they need even if money is an issue. I want to run programmes for children and adults with disabilities where they can come to our centre and learn to handle and be around dogs. Plus so much more! The dogs in our care would receive daily walks and training. Dogs will only be rehomed to a home appropriate for his or her needs and all would go with our support. We would carry out follow up visits together with training classes to help the new owners bond with their new dog(s). The new owners would also have peace of mind that if for whatever reason things didn’t work out the dog will always have a place back with us.
How you can help
This is my dream and I want it to be everyone’s dream. A place where dog lovers can volunteer to be around the dogs. Be it to help with the husbandry side of things or to walk the dogs. Or simply just to come and spend time cuddling and making a fuss of them all! I would like work experience students from schools or colleges to have placements with us.
I would like your views right from the beginning so that you can all play a part in creating the best dog rescue centre! I am appealing to everyone to help this happen, be it by donating or running fundraising events on the charities behalf, donating time to help organise things or simply offering your ideas and support. This is a massive challenge at great cost but if we don’t try then we can’t succeed! Please help me (and my wonderful team) to help all those dogs out there and give them all a voice and a chance at a new life because at the end of the day as my motto says “every dog matters!”