Darlene has always loved animals. When she was a little girl she would find cats in sandboxes at playgrounds and take them home. There was not an animal she didn’t want to have as a pet. Growing up she had fish, birds, hamsters, cats and dogs. She always wanted a pony but her mom didn’t go for that! However, she did take horseback riding lessons.
She was a volunteer at the local humane society, Lollypop Farm. She began as a gift shop cashier and had the opportunity to go through the Turken Training program. This program was a dog training program. Brian Kilcommons started the foundation to help shelters make dogs more adoptable by providing the shelter with dog trainers. The training was grueling and some people didn’t make it through the program. There was book work and hands-on training. Although the course was difficult, to see the shelter dogs flourish was rewarding. After the months of training Darlene received her certificate and continued to work with the shelter dogs. Within six months another opportunity presented itself. Lollypop decided to have a help line called Pet Peeves. Pet parents would call the help line and ask for advice with their pet problems. There was a cat group and a dog group, Darlene took the training for the dog group. She completed the training and then another opportunity presented itself.
Darlene was shopping at Petsmart and noticed a sign stating the store was in need of a dog trainer. So she completed an application and was interviewed. She was interviewed by the store manager and the regional dog trainer. Both decided because of her experiences she would be an asset to Petsmart and hired her. However in order to teach you must complete Petsmart’s accreditation process. This process consists of reading materials, videos and hands-on training with the regional trainer. Darlene received her accreditation and taught at Petsmart for several years. She enjoyed working in the store and teaching Puppy, Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced and Private lessons.
She decided it was time to leave Petsmart and start Scooter’s School of Sit & Stay. Upon successfully completing the exam, she became a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) evaluator. Now she teaches group classes consisting of Puppy, Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. She also provides Private lessons catering to the student’s individual needs. Upon request the CGC exam is offered.
Darlene’s most recent accomplishments include becoming a member of the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) and a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT). The DWAA is a professional organization of writers, photographers and illustrators that promotes the interests of dogs. The APDT is an organization of dog trainers committed to becoming better trainers through education.