Dogs have taught me unconditional love.

Butter and Ash, my two lovely Shetland Sheepdogs, and all the other dogs that I have rescued and rehomed bring out the best of me. Dogs have taught me unconditional love, resilience, and the true meaning of living life. Dogs let go of their painful past (if any), live in the present, and don’t waste their time worrying about the future.

When I got Butter, my very first dog, I was very interested in dog training and actually trained her all on my own. She is a smart dog and learnt tricks very quickly. When Butter was one year old, I decided to volunteer at a dog shelter to help the less fortunate dogs. I remembered the first time I stepped into a shelter. It was overwhelming to see so many abandoned and rescued dogs and I actually teared. These dogs are hidden from society, only to be cared for by selfless people who love and treat dogs as sentient beings.

Since then, I have rehabilitated many rescue dogs that were deemed aggressive at the shelter. I have worked with dogs who were so afraid of human contact that they were once impossible to be put on leash and go for walks. It truly humbles me and is one of the best feelings in the world when I am able to gain the trust of these dogs, put them on leash and lead them out of their cages to walk for the first time in their lives. It really saddens me to see so many dogs being abused and abandoned in our country.

Through my volunteer work, I came to realise that I am blessed with a gift in helping dogs. Hence, I went on with academic pursuit and got certified as a dog behaviourist and trainer. Concurrently, I co-founded a dog charity that rescues and assists in rehoming dogs, as well as providing medical assistance when necessary.

My love of dogs has brought a big change to my life. It has made me a more compassionate and intuitive person. Since dogs can’t talk, I have to rely solely on my observation skills, scientific knowledge and experience when I work with them. This made me a better person when I am dealing with people, because I will talk less, listen more, and observe body language and emotions.

This year, I decided to give up my full time job as a Public Relations professional to pursue a new career in dog behaviour and training. I am now known as The Dog Alchemist and I want to continue to help and train dogs for as long as I can. When I help a dog, I may not change the world. However, to that dog, I have changed its world. I will continue to advocate adoption and using positive motivation techniques to train dogs to become good canine citizens.

Photography by ALDO SINGAPORE
Marie Choo