Volunteering with Dog School leads to a new career

by Tracey Smith // September 2017

How volunteering as a class assistant created a career opportunity for our new Coach  - from red to purple, changing of the colour!

For as long as I can remember, dogs have been a part of my life, having grown up with them in the family home, right up until now, owning my own.

Dog training/behaviour has always fascinated me and been a passion of mine but as I didn’t have the right qualifications I found it very hard to get my foot in the door, I knew I had to start somewhere I just didn’t know where, that’s when I looked on the Dogs Trust Website and came across a vacancy to volunteer at Dog School Leeds!

I wasted no time in applying and within a few weeks, I was accepted and started in Dec 2016. I volunteered at any opportunity I could, my usual shifts were Friday evenings and Saturday mornings but I would always offer more hours if I could;  I absolutely loved being a part of the team and learning at the same time.

In March 2017, I had my review with Head Coach Louise where she stated that I had great potential and could see me being a Coach at Dog School one day. I was absolutely over the moon to receive such amazing feedback. Four months later, a Coach position became available, I honestly didn’t know what to do, was it too soon to apply? Had I gained enough experience? After much deliberation I applied for the role and was given an interview date, I had never been so nervous about an interview in my whole life, this was the break I had been waiting for, for such a long time, I just didn’t realise it would happen this soon! I felt the interview went well, but I also knew I was up against some stiff competition so as the day went on, and the next day, I started to feel that the reality of me actually getting offered the job was slim to none, but at least I had shown my interest and also gained interview experience; however there was no need to worry as just 24 hours later I received the call I had been waiting for! I was offered the job and genuinely cried!

Two months in and applying for that Volunteer position was the best thing I ever did! I wouldn’t be where I am now and I most certainly would still be stuck, very unhappy in my 9 – 5 office job. I wake up every morning, looking forward to coming to work. The team are amazing and so supportive and I can’t wait for what the future holds, but for now, I’m going to enjoy the ride, Dog School really is the place to be!