Waggleview with Annie Peters, President and CEO of Pet Partners
The Dog Owner: Annie Peters is the President & CEO of Pet Partners, the nation’s largest and most prestigious organization registering multiple species of animals for therapy work.
Dog type and Name: Kylie – a rescue. We had her DNA tested and she’s allegedly ¼ bulldog, ¼ beagle, ¼ Great Dane and ¼ too mixed up to tell. At Pet Partners we have a wonderful board member who is a senior level executive at Pet Smart. When describing his own dog, he referred to him as a BOAB – Best of All Breeds. That’s how we think of Kylie now!
Q: Why did you choose this dog? Kylie is actually my daughter’s dog. When I relocated to Seattle to take the staff leadership position at Pet Partners, Maggie and Kylie followed me and moved across the country, too. We live in close quarters, so for now we dog share Kylie. The best part is that Pet Partners is an animal-friendly office environment, so Kylie gets to come to work with me.
I asked my daughter why she picked Kylie from all the dogs at the shelter. Maggie said: “All the other dogs were barking and she was just lying there all curled up. When I walked over to her, she licked my hand through the door (which is funny because that’s how she shows love even now). I asked to take her outside and I threw a ball for her. She chased after it so joyfully and when she brought it back she jumped up on the table and into my lap to lick my face. That was our moment. She chose me.”
Q: Do you talk to your dog? If so, what do you talk about? We talk about everything! Sometimes it can be about whether she wants a treat or wants to wear a coat. Or telling her to “guard the house” as we leave. When Kylie and I are home alone, I’ll often solicit her opinion about something on TV.
Q: If she could talk to you, what would she say? “More treats, please!” “Why on earth do you call me Kylie Pants? I’m a dog. I don’t even wear pants.” “Thank you for loving me so much.”
Q: If your dog had a job or career, what would she be doing? We joke that it would be mattress or sofa testing! It could be childcare. She LOVES kids. We would love to register as a team with her at Pet Partners but she wouldn’t be able to pass the neutral dog exercise in our evaluation process. We don’t know what happened to her during her first year of life but even with training and trying to help her feel safe, she is afraid of other dogs and acts out aggressively.
Q: What lesson in life has your dog taught you? That communication means you really need to understand what the other person is trying to tell you. My daughter has an ex-boyfriend who loved her but had no knowledge whatsoever of canine body language. We needed to advocate for Kylie and finds way to educate him “Yes, she loves when you rub her belly; see how she is encouraging you to keep going by nudging your hand?” “She doesn’t seem to be enjoying that interaction right now. See how she is turning away from you and licking her mouth?”
Q: How does your dog inspire you? We suspect she had a rough first year but she is still so loving. She would also forgive that old boyfriend no matter how many times he annoyed her. (Good news! Maggie’s boyfriend now works at an animal physical therapy clinic and gives Kylie massages where she just melts into his arms. He can read her body language better than we can!) And she always seems grateful. She reminds us that showing gratitude is important.
Q: Where is your dog’s favorite place to go with you? To Lake Washington to swim or for a day hike in the beautiful mountains around Seattle.
Q: Who or what does your dog find the most interesting? Children! She gravitates towards them as if she wants to say “Hi! I’m Kylie. What’s your name? Want to play?”
Q: What is the most annoying thing other dog owners do? Let their dog approach Kylie while saying “It’s okay. My dog is friendly.” That’s wonderful but our dog is sometimes uncomfortable with other dogs. Please don’t approach us without asking.
Q: What does being a responsible dog owner mean to you? Advocating for Kylie so that she always feels safe and secure. It’s also a core belief of Pet Partners’ Therapy Animal Program. Pet Partners refers to it as YAYABA™ – You Are Your animal’s Best Advocate.
Q: Do you ever dress up your dog? If so, as what? When she was younger she was known to enjoy Halloween. Now, like her grandma, her dress-up is limited to more functional clothing – a raincoat for soggy Seattle walks and a warm coat when it’s chilly.
Q: How has your dog changed your life? It’s been wonderful to watch how my daughter loves and cares for her. I know when the time comes; Maggie will make a wonderful mom to a human (not furry) kid!
Q: Does your dog have a philosophy of life? Trust but verify. She always sniffs a treat before she accepts it.
Q: I love my dog because she makes me not just happy but also healthier.
Q: Have you ever made dog treats for your dog? If so, please share your recipe.
I’m a terrible cook so I don’t torture Kylie with my own baking. She did however model for a photo to promote Pet Partners’ signature fundraising event, TREATS and SWEETS DAY, where bakers can bake treats for humans and animals while raising money to support Pet Partners! The photo shot would have gone better if Kylie didn’t seem to hate having her picture taken.
WAGGLEVIEW®: These interviews are focused on leaders in business, the arts, the community, or at home. My hope in doing this is to present remarkable and respected people in their community with their beloved pets. Who can resist reading about pets and what these people do? This is a platform for people to display their talents; their own business, a new book, a deeply loved passion for a charity or their own job. It also shows their love for their pet!
Thank you Annie for taking the time to participate in the Waggleview®.
As you all know, I am a big advocate of animal assisted therapy. You probably have seen a few (LOL!) pictures of my dog, Louie, in his Pet Partners scarf doing his important therapy work of spreading happiness. To learn more about Pet Partners and how you can become involved click HERE. Also if you would like to participate in Sweets & Treats Day, click HERE.
What is your dog’s philosophy of life?
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To read the most recent waggleviews, click HERE with Claire Wiseman, PhD, Psychologist, Director Red Skye Foundation and click HERE with Penny Guisinger, memoirist and freelance writer.
Some other recent posts on this site are about The Gift of Mindfulness as a guest writer on Awaken Everyday and the 10 Best Tips for Attending Your First AWP.
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