The Full Story
Hello! My name is Bren Axon. That's me on the right.
I’ve always been mad about animals, with a special passion for dogs and horses since a child. Every birthday or Christmas if I was asked what I wanted for a present, I would say “a puppy” without fail. Sadly, having a puppy was something I was never to experience as a child. Instead we had cats, and though they were, in the eyes of this child, a poor substitute for a puppy, I always loved the cats, and still do. I was also horse mad as most little girls are, and had lessons at a local riding school.
When I was about 10 or 11 years old I decided, to make up for not having a dog of my own, to become the neighbourhood dog walker. There was Sally, (always my favourite) the dreadfully obese yellow Lab who lived down the street, who could spot a dropped item of food from a good 100 yards. Shane, the young, extremely large, exuberant Lab who lived opposite. He probably weighed the same as me at that time, and quite literally used to drag me the two miles to the park and back. There was also Rudy, a female Airedale who was owned by the couple who ran our local post office and whose best pals were a couple of squirrel monkeys that the owners kept. They all became “my dogs” in the absence of my own and I have very happy memories of the hours I spent walking (or being dragged around) the neighbourhood and taking them to our local parks.
It was not until I was into my early thirties that my husband and I moved out of London which meant we were able to have a dog. Gosh, I waited a long time for her! She was a black German Shepherd puppy called Miss Piggy.
I recall my husband saying when I first broached the subject of having a dog, (and before we were married) that he "certainly never wanted a dog, nor was he ever going to". It suffices to say my determination was such that we have in fact always had two dogs in our home. I work on the philosophy that you might as well have two dogs if you are going to have one, so Mr. Faro, a 22 month rehomed German Shepherd from the same breeder joined us when Miss Piggy was 11 months. We have had mostly larger breeds, and for the last 21 years, our breed of choice has been a giant breed, the Leonberger.
I spent most of my working life in lawyers’ offices in the City of London and the South West of England. I volunteered with the RSPCA for many years with experience of the day to day running of a busy branch which included the rehoming of dogs and cats in our care. I also served the RSPCA as a member of the South West Regional Board during my time with them. It was an honour to be able to do so, as I am very passionate about animal welfare and rescue.
I also became a Magistrate, presiding in the Criminal and Family Courts which was a humbling and sobering experience for me.
I have a long history of volunteering not just with animal related charities but also human centred ones. I’ve a counselling qualification and for several years back in the UK I volunteered for a national organisation which helps people who are suicidal and despairing. I also volunteered with adult literacy classes, and Victim Support. Once we arrived in Canada, I looked for volunteer opportunities here too. I believe that all I’ve experienced in my working life, along with volunteering with animals and people has given me valuable skills which I now bring to my current occupation.
In 2006 we emigrated to Canada. Moving enabled me to pursue a lifelong dream, which was to have a job working with animals and become a certified dog trainer. I started boarding dogs in our home in 2008 which I continued until mid 2020. I began pursuing my quest to become a dog trainer back in 2007 by taking a two week course for trainers in Washington State, run by Terry Ryan. Later, I attended a 3 day seminar given by Dr. Ian Dunbar in Vancouver which really gave me the impetus to get on with the nuts and bolts of being a trainer. I graduated with Honours from the Animal Behaviour College in 2010.
I am a professional member of the Pet Professional Guild, a well-known international organisation that promotes positive and humane methods of dog training and handling. I am also a member of the Pet Professional Network, an organisation supporting force free pet professionals around the world to help them improve and grow their businesses. Both organisations have a strict code of ethics that their members are expected to uphold and I am regarded as a member in good standing in both organisations.
I am constantly updating my knowledge about dogs and their behaviour by attending seminars, workshops, webinars and taking on-line courses in order to further my education in the training of our canine companions and offer my clients the best service that I can. However as trainers, we never stop learning and every new dog we meet teaches us something.
Until recently, my husband and I shared our lives with two female Leonbergers, Juno and Bella who came from Cindy Koppen at Seelowen Leonbergers in Powell River. Sadly in Feb 2020 our beloved Bella lost her brave fight with cancer. We miss Bella more than we can say but we still have Juno her sister, who is always an absolute joy to us and who is referred to as "Mummy's Princess" !
Juno was missing Bella and seemed to be very low and depressed and we also missed having two dogs in our home. Consequently, Arik our Leonberger boy joined us in Sept 2020 when he was 9 weeks. The name "Arik" is an old Norse name, and means "Leader" or "Noble One". We have Fran Montgomery of Little Mountain Leonbergers to thank for letting us have this precious boy.
He’s a very intelligent boy and has certainly been challenging! But that’s good for a trainer, because as I said above, every dog teaches us something new and Arik is no exception! His nickname is not as regal as Juno's; he is generally referred to as "The Monster"!
My training services are based in Brentwood Bay, Victoria BC and I cover the greater Victoria area.