Trainer fears for dogs during cost of living crisis

AN Enniskillen dog trainer has expressed concerns that the cost of living crisis is causing more pets to be abandoned.

Sharon West, a local dog trainer, and former dog daycare owner has voiced her fears for the future when it comes to the welfare of local pooches.

“More and more dogs are being abandoned due to the cost of living crisis,” Ms West said.


“I have changed my pricing structure [for dog training] due to this, and I also help Bright Eyes Animal Sanctuary with dogs with behavioural issues.

“I’ve also spoken to the Enniskillen Foodbank about potentially arranging an animal foodbank to run alongside their trolleys in local supermarkets, to help people with their beloved pets.”

Ms West was hopeful this would make a difference, no matter how much as she always wanted to work with animals, especially dogs.

“Growing up I wanted to be a vet right up until I left school, but for different reasons, I never got the opportunity. Whenever I was looking after my ill mum, she asked me why I hadn’t ever worked with dogs,” she explained.

“This made me realise for the first time in my life that nothing was stopping me.”

She then looked online for any available courses and was hooked straight away.

“I applied to a course, ranging from an A-level equivalent to degree level, which I am still working on,” Ms West said.


She even got the opportunity of going to Dublin for two days to study with the world-renowned dog trainer, Steve Mann.

“I have studied continuously for four years, with another year to go! But I’m sure I’ll keep learning daily for the rest of my career,” she said.
Ms West was even nominated for the National Pet Awards, in the dog training category in 2021 and 2022, but refused the invitation due to complicated circumstances.

“It was so lovely that my clients felt so happy with what I do, that they even chose to nominate me. But unfortunately, the rest of the IMDT [Institute of Modern Dog Training] trainers and I decided to not attend as unethical trainers were also included, and we strongly don’t believe in their practice,” she said.

“So out of principle, we declined our invitations.”

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