Corey McCusker 00:03
Hello dog lovers, and welcome to Muttz with Mannerz Canine Academy Podcast, where we’ll share dog training tips and educational information to help you raise your pup – young or old – so they can be a loving part of your family and your community for life. I’m your host, Corey McCusker, Canine Coach, along with me is my co-host, Diane Purser, Education Manager. We have a passion for pups, and we thank you for joining us today. This introductory podcast is our way to introduce ourselves to you, share our journey, our experiences, and why this series is so important to us. Diane, I think it’ll be beneficial if we share how we met and why we want to help pet parents with their pups, and why all of these topics are so important to us.
Diane Purser 00:49
Corey McCusker 00:51
So, we were both in corporate jobs for many years, different companies. Me, 20+ years. And I left to explore other paths – which I’ll talk about – but I was a banker and now I’m dealing with “barkers”… as you know. Let me just get you to share yours first.
Diane Purser 01:08
Okay – so, hi everybody. Similar to you, Corey I also left the corporate world after 20+ years, not that I didn’t like it, but I knew that I had other passions out there I wanted to explore. So at the time, when I left, I didn’t know what I wanted to do specifically, but I did know it had to be with animals and dogs in particular. So basically, I just started by immersing myself in every angle I could think of. And through that, the really big jumping off point for me, that got me to where we are today, was when I started volunteering at the OSPCA. And also, I had one of my dogs at the time, evaluated as a St. John Ambulance therapy dog. So I did a variety of roles at the OSPCA, but when I met you, through the YAPP – or Youth and Pets Program – we became friends with a very common interest. And from there, our shared vision became clear as we talked more, and it was solidified when we were both involved with the Dog Bite Prevention Program.
Corey McCusker 02:18
Yes, I remember that. And the volunteering, what you just talked about, has been something that I was always doing. When I was working full time, I spent my Sunday mornings at the Toronto Humane Society, downtown Toronto, working in the Wildlife, because I had dogs at home, cats, so I wanted something different because I loved animals. And then I relocated to Stouffville where I wanted to continue that volunteer work. And that’s where I ended up as the OSPCA as a dog walker, and we connected there. You mentioned the YAP program, and I think we can both say that was probably one of the most rewarding . . .
Diane Purser 02:56
Corey McCusker 02:57
And it was a very educational program for us, too. We watched these dogs that were in shelters. The whole program was taking the dogs out of shelters that maybe didn’t have a good chance of being adopted – maybe they were seniors, had behavior problems – just needed that extra loving care, or a little bit of training or exposure, and these dogs were paired with young offenders that had to do community service hours. I think that is where I realized the power of the pups, because I watched these young offenders be given a dog, learn training skills, learn how to take this dog over a thirteen-week period, and teach it the basic obedience, and a bond. That’s where I realized how dogs had such a powerful impact on the young and could help them become more confident, and become leaders. It was just amazing. And one of the reasons I started the Kids ‘n K9 Program was because of what I saw happening with those young offenders and dogs.
Diane Purser 03:58
Yes, it was just an amazing program.
Corey McCusker 04:00
It was. I can’t remember all of the names of the dogs. I remember every one that we touched and you had more exposure than I. Can you remember a certain dog, that you you were like, “Ah, this is just amazing.”
Diane Purser 04:12
Oh, yeah. And again, there was so many and they were all amazing in their own way. But I do remember I fell in love for the hundredth time – but with one in particular – I think his name was Ranger. And he was kind of a Shepherd-Husky mix. And although he was a fairly well-behaved dog, it was obvious he had not had a real home-life and really wasn’t playful. He was just very somber. We would take him for walks – which was our fond thing to do and talk – and he just would never play. And he wasn’t old. And I remember one winter, we were in a pen, a very large pen where we could have him off-leash, and I think we were trying to throw the ball between us and get him going, and then just all of a sudden out of the blue, after I don’t know how many weeks, he went down in a play bow and that was it. He just became a completely different dog after that, just an amazing, amazing dog. He was happy and he was trusting and was amazing.
Corey McCusker 05:20
I think yeah – the trusting . . . He became a dog – that you wanted him to be, so it was just great. I remember the Dobermans. There were two Dobermans that came into the program. One got adopted out before it actually started. But there was another one – and these Dobermans had been found in a crate – and one of the legs had been deformed, but they were still so loving. But this one needed a little bit more nurturing and training and stuff. But I just watched it evolve over… and I can… I think we can both say that that program . . . I don’t think there was one dog that didn’t go to a forever home after it.
Diane Purser 05:54
I don’t think so. I think they all eventually made it to a home.
Corey McCusker 05:58
Yes. It was an amazing program. And Diane, that is just one of the programs that we’ve been fortunate to be involved. I’d love you to touch on the St. John’s Ambulance program, because I know you were involved in it before. I’m still involved in it as an evaluator.
Diane Purser 06:13
Yeah, that’s another great program. So, like I said, I wanted to immerse myself in everything to see where my real passion came out. And in the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program, I realized that I could share my dog with others, particularly seniors, people who were in long-term care, or were in retirement homes, and bring joy and happiness to them through visits with my dog. And just some of the visits and some of the people I met over the years were so amazing, and it was just so fulfilling. And of course a piece of that also, was the Bite Prevention Program, which the OSPCA did in partnership with St. John Ambulance. And it was through that program, that my real interest in education and my real – I guess – knowledge myself – of seeing and understanding all of the assumptions that lots of people bring into their relationships with their dogs. What their expectations are and things, and how really, more of us really need to be prepared ahead of time to make sure – as you and I want – for all dogs to stay with their families in a happy environment for their entire lives.
Corey McCusker 07:37
It’s so true. So, I also was involved in the therapy program. I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful pet Maltese, Fred – who I didn’t get till I think the age of a year and a half – and he actually ended up being a therapy dog. And I will never forget when I went into the homes, and the seniors would be sitting there. He would just light up their faces, in that minute, you just see the joy that the dogs brought.
Diane Purser 08:03
Corey McCusker 08:04
And it was also that these seniors probably did have dogs when they were younger. So it just brought back those fond memories of having a dog, too.
Diane Purser 08:15
Corey McCusker 08:15
So it was just great.
Diane Purser 08:17
Yes. It was just an amazing program, Corey. The one thing we haven’t talked about is, and what’s really led us a lot to what we’re doing right now, is our involvement with rescue.
Corey McCusker 08:30
Yes. So, with myself, when I moved to Stouffville, I had a horse, and I guess I decided I liked big animals. So what I did is that I decided I was going to rescue a Great Dane because I had a house now. When I was in downtown Toronto, I had a little tiny miniature Dachshund, so I decided, let’s get a Great Dane. I’ve got a house. I’ve got a backyard. That is where my learning started. My great, deep learning started because I rescued this beautiful Great Dane called Tiny. I drove to Waterford Ontario to a pig farm to pick him up. And he came out of that house, bones and everything else, and I was like, “Oh my heart be still.” I wanted this dog. I opened my back car door – which at the time I didn’t even know if it would fit a Great Dane – and he jumped in the back of the seats. And I just thought okay, I’m taking him home. When I took him home and I started our journey, it ended up that he became so attached to me that when I went back to work he had developed very serious separation anxiety, went through windows, chewed things, everything. So I started getting a dog walker to help out. I got a trainer to help out. He unfortunately passed away after a couple of years from bone cancer. I got another Great Dane and this Great Dane brought me new learning and new lessons. And this Dane was, again, very attached – separation anxiety. So that’s one thing I’ve learned about the rescues. But she also became aggressive towards humans and children and dogs. So I decided I really wanted to help this dog, but I didn’t have the knowledge. So I went out and invested in a dog instructor program. I learned so much information during that program. And that is what led me to my career because I wanted to help people understand the importance and the foundational building pieces so that the dogs would stay there with them. And, Diane, I know you’ve rescued a few too.
Diane Purser 10:15
Oh, yeah. But like you were doing with Danes, and I was also rescuing harder to adopt dogs. I learned from our very first dog, which was not a rescue, all the good and the bad things to do with a puppy. And from that point on, my goal was to always get a rescue, and to also be knowledgeable enough to deal with a lot of the different things that can happen if you don’t train your dog properly. I’m sure you can hear all my dogs in the background. Right?
Corey McCusker 11:01
We love it.
Diane Purser 11:03
But of the things that I remember most and what developed my interest in dog behavior is that after going through the YAPP Program and seeing the different things that these dogs were going through, I adopted, a definitely a hard to adopt Pomeranian, named Tippy, who had been held up in a drug house. And where your dogs were aggressive towards, she was so fearful. It took forever to try and build up her confidence. And that again, wasn’t an easy task. But we had her for 10 years, and at the end she was a wonderful little dog. And then the two that I have right now that are making all the noise, they’re supposed to be my seniors. They’re both 14 years old. We adopted them at 13 as a bonded pair, are giving us lots of joy. We just want to make sure that they get the best last couple of years of their lives.
Corey McCusker 11:58
That’s so amazing. So, we want to wrap things up right now. And we just hope that we’ve shared some of our own personal experience and why we’re so passionate about this. We just talked about the rescues, but we are also passionate about sharing education because – with the puppy owners – because we know when you get the puppies there’s so many things that are new and exciting but also frustrating with the training. So we are going to be providing podcasts with a number of information for all pet owners. Our whole purpose, and our friendship, has started this way. It’s built on our vision of helping pet parents and educating owners so that your pups can stay with you for life. And we really want to avoid them ending up in shelters or being rehomed. Thank you for joining us today for our introductory podcast. We hope you join us for future ones. To learn more about us, please visit, www.muttzwithmannerz.com. You’ll find blogs, other podcasts, and information. If you have any questions or have ideas for future podcasts, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks, everyone.