Puppy inspired owner to change career and now she's helping save other dogs' lives | TeamDogs
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Puppy inspired owner to change career and now she's helping save other dogs' lives

Dog first aider Gemma Vales has been sharing her knowledge to the people of Manchester

Danielle Elton

Posted 2 months ago ago

One woman has explained how her life and career completely changed after getting a dog.

Getting a new puppy is life changing - the little fluffy bundles of energy have the ability to completely turn your life upside down, mostly for the better.

But once those first few, very tiring, days spent settling in your new addition are over, you’ll soon wonder what you ever did without them.

One owner whose life changed perhaps even more than some since getting a pet is Gemma Vale.

Although she had grown up with dogs, miniature schnauzer Geoff was Gemma’s first with her boyfriend, and he led to a complete change in career.

As she now has her own Dog First Aid franchise in Manchester.

It couldn’t be any further from her previous role for a gas company processing prescriptions in the home oxygen department.

But although quite a difference in jobs, Gemma’s love for and interest in animals was not new.

“I’ve always had a love of animals and took particular interest in my animal behaviour courses at university as part of my biology degree,” said Gemma.

“We always had dogs and horses when I was growing up, but Geoff is the first dog that is mine rather than a family dog.

“Geoff is quite mischievous and loves to chew things up so while he was tearing the felt off a tennis ball one day, it occurred to me I wouldn’t know what to do if he choked.”

This then led the new dog owner to attend a dog first aid course of her own, and she was so amazed by what she had learned that she just had to share it with others.

Gemma told TeamDogs: “I told all my friends and family about it, who then wanted to go on a course themselves but there was no one in the Manchester area for Dog First Aid Franchise and there was no intention of them returning soon.

“I felt very passionate that this was something all dog owners and carers should know and this led me on the journey to join the Dog First Aid Franchise Ltd team as the Manchester Franchise Partner.”

Gemma then went through rigorous training to gain all the skills and knowledge she needed to make her new venture a success. As well as dog first aid, this also included training on the business side of things.

She said: “After extensive and continuous training with our in-house vet team, I’ve now been spreading the knowledge to dog owners and professionals in Manchester for two years.

“I have had a few of my course attendees go on to save a dog’s life, which as you can imagine is incredibly rewarding and I cry tears of joy when I receive emails from owners who have successfully saved a dog’s life.”

And as well as helping other owners, Gemma’s new-found knowledge has also been handy when it comes to her own dog, Geoff. Twice she’s had to use what she’s learned on him.

She said: “The first time was when he ate raisins that were discarded in the park.

“I knew raisins were toxic to dogs, so me and my boyfriend acted immediately and got Geoff to the emergency vet where he had a hospital stay of three days while they flushed his system and ensured his liver and kidney function had not been affected.

“Luckily, he made a full recovery with no lasting damage.

“The second time was when Geoff ripped his nail completely out of the bed and it was bleeding profusely.

“It was the height of lockdown and the vet was unavailable for three hours. I applied a pressure bandage to stem the bleeding, which it did and we were able to later remove it and keep it clean and dry (pavement walks) until it had healed.”

Gemma shared with us the five things she thinks all dog owners need to know.

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