Understanding Meat Trade Survivors with Maja Kolankowska  

Maja is a talented trainer from Montreal, Canada.  She works in person and virtually through Ivy League Dogs.  

Maja and I have something in common: we both started training in shelters.  Maja’s skill set is unique, though- she worked with dogs rescued from the meat trade.  These dogs came with a unique set of challenges.

Maja weighs in on what it’s like to work with and adopt them and how they differ from other dogs, including street/free-roaming dogs.

Maja is highly recommended if you’re in the Montreal area and need help with your dog.  

While we do not discuss these dogs beyond their housing, life and behaviour, this topic may be distressing to some listeners.  We recommend taking care while listening!  

Bringing Cats into the Spotlight with Zazie Todd  

Although I’ve worked with thousands of dogs, I’ve worked with many more cats.  Most cats who came into the shelter were not cared for on the same level as our dogs.  When I started managing the shelter, only 6% of cats who came in as strays were claimed by their owners.  We increased this number over the years, but most people don’t see their cats as they do dogs.  I’m hoping this podcast will nudge cat welfare in our homes closer to the goalpost!

Even in caring homes, cats often take a backseat.  We miss many of their stress and health issues, and their very nature makes it hard to spot in our felines.  

Zazie is a thoughtful, caring, and brilliant cat advocate.  Her book Purr: The Science of Making Your Cat Happy made me jump for joy, and I highly recommend it and Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy.

You can take advantage of Zazie’s amazing work and her blog on her website, Companion Animal Psychology.  https://www.companionanimalpsychology.com/. You can also check out her podcast, The Pawsitive Post in Conversation, which she cohosts with Kritsi Benson. 

Episode 2: Beth Bigler on Pet loss and finding your way forward  

On this episode of the Wild at Heart Podcast, we're switching gears.  I'm talking to the amazing Beth Bigler, a pet loss grief counsellor.  We're getting into it and talking about grief counselling, what to expect and how to find your way forward.  And while talking about death, we're doing it in a supportive and transformative way.  It's also intimate because Beth was my counsellor after I lost my dog, Zelda. 

If you've lost a pet, if you're worried you’re going to or if you're helping someone through their pet loss grief, tune in.  Beth has changed my relationship with pet loss, and I hope someone out there finds a new way forward out of their loss because of this episode.  

Grab some tissues and a cup of tea, light a candle and snuggle in.  

You can find Beth on her Instagram account @honoringouranimals and her website here

This episode is in memory of my dog Zelda, my protector, best friend and teacher, and Roemie and Scarlet, two dogs who meant the world to Zelda and me and their excellent guardians, Kari and Kath. 

Episode 1: Jean Donaldson on the fetch debate  

Welcome to the inaugural episode of the Wild at Heart podcast! In today's episode, we'll explore the ongoing debate surrounding the current and disturbing anti-fetch movement with the invaluable insights of world-renowned trainer Jean Donaldson. 

Recently, a surge of online posts claims that fetch is detrimental to our dogs, causing a severe welfare issue. However, these claims are based on biased opinions and pseudoscientific theories instead of hard facts. Gain direct advice and scientific and factual information from Jean, who will explain why fetch is beneficial for dogs and help us understand why some people believe it is detrimental, even though it is not. By the end of this podcast, we hope to have cleared up any confusion surrounding this alarming trend. 

Jean Donaldson, the founder and principal instructor at The Academy for Dog Trainers, where I was certified, has extensive experience working with complex cases. Jean founded the Montreal Flyball Association and is no stranger to intense, happy and drivey dogs!