Pam Peters of Chilliwack has gently shaped dog owners’ reactions and behaviour, as well as their beloved dogs.
Peters was honoured recently with a special plaque to mark 34 years of “dedication and commitment” to the Saturday Morning Dog Walk.
Every Saturday morning at 10 a.m. the members would gather in a circle at Chilliwack Central elementary school grounds, and Peters would put them through their paces.
She would lead them through obedience training, tips and drills, that culminated with a group dog walk all over the downtown core.
“What she was teaching us all these years was responsible dog ownership,” said Joyce Fairley, who joined the walk six years ago with her border collie. “She always pressed that point.”
Peters ultimately helped legions of distraught folks who showed up to the park on a Saturday morning, completely at their wit’s end, as well as those who just wanted the company of other dogs and their companions.
“Pam has given so much to so many people over the years — and for nothing,” said Fairly.
“First she teaches the dog. And then she teaches the owner. I knew nothing at first. Everything I know about dogs I learned from Pam.”
The group created a free and safe place to socialize dogs in a structured environment.
“I seen miracles accomplished here,” said dog owner John Lynch. His motivation was getting his two poodles meeting other dogs weekly for company.
The tips and tricks are very much appreciated, said Rachel Wille.
“The last two weeks I’ve seen a remarkable difference in my dog, Cooper,” she said.
Last weekend marked Peters’ last dog walk before she moves out of town.
“She will be sadly missed,” said Jocelyn Lavoie, who attended with her dog Baxter. “She’s brought a lot of people together, too. Several friendships have started here.”
Peters was particularly good at settling down reactive or aggressive dogs and some of the drills focused on correcting that behaviour.
She had three reminders for dog owners when trying to teach commands and get them to heel:
• Say it once (don’t keep repeating, sit, sit, sit)
• Be fair and kind;
• Dog’s ear should line up with pant seams
Peters is getting ready to move out of Chilliwack, to a rural area outside of 100-Mile House.
“I want to say just a huge thank you to all the people who came out to the Saturday Morning Dog Walks all these years, as we couldn’t have done it without you,” Peters said. “I hope it continues.”