About Heather Thomas MSc Clinical Animal Behaviour

 

Where it all started

Having grown up with animals from a young age, following in my late grandmother’s footsteps I developed a passion to care for animals. Not only did I have a love for all animals, I have supported many rescues such as Vale Wildlife Rescue and Daneline Great Dane Rescue and have fostered multiple breeds over the last decade.

When I left school I completed an animal care diploma and I attended various work experience placements at veterinary surgeries, rescue centers and wildlife centers. I started out dreaming of becoming a vet, but soon realised that it wasn’t for me and that I had a keen interest in animal welfare and behaviour. I started work in a kennels and cattery in Bristol in 2004 and fell in love with all of the dogs and cats that were in my care, my passion was to improve kennel and cattery welfare whilst I was there and I had started a dream to run my own business looking after animals. Whilst working at the kennels and recognising a gap in the market at that time, I started to offer a dog walking service in between my kennel shifts.

 

Heather Thomas
Heather Thomas with Lola and Lily

 

My First Dog

It was at this point that I also had my first dog Alfie a puppy Great Dane and knew more than ever how precious it was to have a great trustworthy pet sitter. I had always wanted a Great Dane for as long as I could remember and after having met some on my journey home from school each day and falling in love with the breed, this was my time to take on one of my own. Alfie was my soul mate and ambassador for my initial business adventure, Alfie was with me every step of the way during all the good and bad times of my business journey.

My First Business

I launched my very own dog walking service in 2005 and set out to change the way in which dogs were cared for catering for all breeds and sizes across Bristol. This fledgling business quickly turned into a popular service and a well-known name in the locality and I soon had to leave the kennels and applied for and achieved the first-ever home boarding license in Bristol and Bath. I was fully committed to my business and passionate about providing the best mental and physical stimulation for dogs whilst their owners were away or at work and a personalised drop-in cat feeding service. Despite the challenges (there were many) I was determined and so passionate about my work that I could no longer cope alone.

The business grew into a Limited company across a few years and built up a team of walkers and sitters across Bristol and Bath. Taking on a team of pet sitters was the hardest part of growing the business initially, finding the right people, training them and creating a team that worked and gelled were all learning curves and many of these challenges were difficult to overcome and were very lonely times, which I why I decided to help others on their business journey too. Over the years I have gained practical experience with many animals and have owned multiple species including, dogs, cats, chickens, parrot, budgie fish, and a bearded dragon.

I am now the proud owner and director of 3 animal-related businesses that all share the same ethos – to try and improve the welfare of animals. These businesses are run by myself personally upholding the highest standards and creating new higher standards within the industry. I am a constant source of help and guidance for other pet care companies that ask for advice regularly not only in terms of behaviour and welfare but with all things business too.

My Animal Qualifications

Over the last 6 years, I have been focusing my efforts toward formal qualifications in Behaviour and Welfare and I am now a Qualified Clinical Animal Behaviorist having gained an MSc in Clinical Animal Behaviour in 2019. I also have a degree in behaviour and welfare which was completed at Hartpury. Alongside all this, I attend various CPD seminars and conferences to stay up-to-date with the latest scientific research in Behaviour and welfare. My qualifications to date are listed below:

Animal Care NVQ 2003
Pet First Aid 2012
Animal behaviour diploma 2014
Ttouch workshop 2014
Zoopharmacognosy workshop 2014
Nick Thompson Holistic Vet seminar 2014
Trevor Cooper Dog Law seminar 2014
IMDT Institute of modern dog trainers 2-day career as a trainer 2015
Dog Law Certificate 2015
Canine behaviour practitioner Diploma 2015
Holistic Health for Dogs Certificate 2015
Qualified Dog Trainer with IMDT (Institute of Modern Dog Trainers 2015
Attended Natural Dog Conference 2015
Institute of Modern Dog Trainers (IMDT) One-day body language 2016
Institute of Modern Dog Trainers (IMDT) One-day Aggression and Rehab 2016
Attendance at IMDT 3 day conference 2016
TTouch practitioner clinic 2016
TTouch workshop 2016
Member of Dog Law SOS 2016
Full Member of pet professional guild 2016
Member of INTO Dogs 2016
VSA Mentor: Mentoring students who are signed on to the Victoria Stillwell training programme 2016
Attendance at WOOF (behaviour conference) 2017
VSPDT Victoria Stillwell Pet Dog Trainer 2017
Attendance at Victoria Stillwell conference 2017
IMDT impulse control seminar 2017
Degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare at Hartpury University 2018

MSc Clinical Animal Behaviour