Zoe H. Wells, CPDT-KA
Dog Trainer & Teacher,
Care Provider & Dog
Zoe loves two things with intense passion: Animals and Art. She grew up with a beautiful owl-eyed cat named Rooney who slept in her crib from the day she was born. Ever since, she has been incredibly connected to animals and could never live a day without an animal companion. As a kid, she worked in her parents' professional theater in Key West, Florida, honing her skills in performance and technical theater. She received a B.A. in Dance/Drama with a Minor in Biology and traveled the country as a choreographer. Alongside performing, she pursued work in veterinary hospitals as an assistant and technician where she learned to handle animals in a medical setting, give medications, clean teeth, assist in surgeries and learned a wealth of information about how diet, treatment and breed affect health and behavior.
Once settled in Philadelphia, she founded P.S. Pet Sit in 2006, a pet care company that offered pet sitting, dog walking, boarding, overnight care and training assistance for over 700 clients. The P.S. Team won Best Pet Care Company in Philadelphia, PA for three years and also won Best Business Plan by The Women's Opportunity Resource Center in 2009. After owning P.S. Pet Sit (later, P.S. Pup Struts) for two years and falling in love with Tuuli, an english white golden, she decided to rescue her first dog, Pippin, a field golden. Life will never be the same. The magical bond she has with her, and her husky mix, Zora is without limits. Her life is now devoted to dogs. She volunteers and works with several organizations as a foster mom, walker, dog trainer and adoption counselor at UnChain Forsyth, Humane Society of Winston-Salem and Asheville Humane. She also enjoys taking Pippin to assisted living homes as a therapy dog.
Zoe is pursuing her Masters in Social Work which expands her knowledge in psychology, mental illnesses (many of which dogs share with us), communication techniques, therapeutic techniques, and how genetics and the environment influence human and canine behavior.
She views dog training as a beautiful blend of art, therapy and science. Her multi-faceted approach focuses on therapeutic experiences, the pursuit of mastering the art of communication and by employing methods that are supported by empirical data. (Example: the idea of "dominance" is an archaic theory which is completely unsupported by any relevant study -- What is actually supported is that domesticated dogs - and wolves for that matter - work in groups/packs/families, and the individuals that gain the most access to resources or can be viewed as "leaders" are the dogs that form the most alliances, i.e. are the friendliest. Take THAT! patriarchy)! Her training methods stem from the work of Patricia McConnell, Jean Donaldson, Pat Miller, Ian Dunbar,
and one of the most significant contributors in the world of positive reinforcement training, Karen Pryor. (Zoe attended the Karen Pryor Dog Training School for Clicker Training and placed and passed the Council for Certified Professional Dog Trainer's exam, culminating in certification as a professional dog trainer (CPDT-KA). With her approach, both species learn to better communicate and build trust, which allows for each dog to feel safe and therefore blossom. By specifying each dog's sense of motivation and discovering what they find rewarding, she applies operant and classical conditioning to reach your dog's full potential while fostering a deeper connection between people and their animal family members. This in turn allows for both parties to get their needs met, which she believes is the foundation for any mutually beneficial, loving relationship.
Zoe is deeply invested in each and every one of her clients, both dog and human, each step of the way. She wants to see each family succeed in their efforts and ensures that through availability, sound instruction and demonstration and by offering supplementary services for you and your dogs. The commitment is genuine. Her devotion to your progress is limitless. She LOVES doing this work and looks forward to working with you and having fun in the process!
Zoe's Companions & Teachers
My first dog. She was a foster of a colleague of mine (owner of Fairmount Pet Supply in Philadelphia). Apparently given as a christmas present and then given up, I rescued her on my 31st birthday. She changed my life.
She helped grow P.S. Pet Sit by being a surrogate mom to puppies, and a therapy dog at assisted living facilities, and teaching me every benefit there is to having a dog.
I rescued her and her brother and sister in 2012 from a chaining situation when working with UnCHAIN Forsyth. I fostered the pups from 7 weeks until they got adopted. I couldnt let Zora go. She was a calm, confident puppy, an Upward Dog from the day I brought her home, always looking to me for training and guidance, and also having an independent, resourceful mind. Now, we are working on how to curb (and satisfy through substitution) her intense prey drive to chase and hunt!
Tuuli, my introduction to english white s, was one of my first clients with P.S. Pet Sit. Her mom made sure she got the best care when she was away (which was a LOT). I spent nearly every day with her for over two years. When I learned she was moving back to San Francisco, my heart sunk to the floor. Two days before she moved, I adopted my first puppy, Pippin, a rescue female golden. Yippee! Thank you , Tuuli. You taught me so much about dog behavior, patience, fun and resilience. You changed my life for the better.