About me

Animal Care College – caring for people caring for animals

I trained as a teacher and taught for over 27 years. I have been a Fellow of the Institute of Directors since 1984 and became a member of the Institute of Management in 1987.  I was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2011

I am an experienced writer and broadcaster on all subjects related to companion animals and for four years I had a regular weekly pet ‘slot’ on Jenny Hanley’s afternoon show on Saga Radio.

I publish the weekly publication Our Dogs  for which I write and report regularly and owned the magazine Dogs Monthly from 1992 until 1997. I have written three books about dogs with a fourth, Running Your Own Boarding Kennels now in its fifth edition. Two further books are in hand.  I devised Dog Directory and created the Eukanuba Rescue Dog of the Year Competition.

I was a member of the board of the Pet Care Trust (formerly the Pet Trade and Industry Association and now the Pet Industry Federation) for twenty years (1992 -2012) during which time I helped establish the Pet Care Trade Association and became Chairman of the Trust – the PCTA’s charitable arm.

I helped create and was a board member of the National Training Organisation for Animal Care for 15 years, representing the Association of British Dogs Homes on the late Lord Houghton’s committee set up to reform the UK’s Dangerous Dogs Act.  I also served as a Trustee of the Charity PRO Dogs for ten years and was a member of  the Dog Legislation Advisory Group.

I founded the Animal Care College in 1980 and the College now provides courses in most areas and at many levels of animal care. The courses include the training of kennelstaff, rescue and rehoming staff, judge and breeder education, understanding canine, feline  and equine psychology, animal behaviour, the development of kennel management skills and veterinary nursing and receptionist support materials. I am a Kennel Club Accredited Trainer.

As a consultant to the animal care industry I spend some time as an advisor to kennel owners, manufacturers, breeders, retailers, conference and exhibition organisers and show managements. I have also reported for Which? magazine in relation to boarding kennels. I have been closely involved with the Samsung company both in the UK and in Korea in helping the company chairman fulfil his vision of a change in Korean attitude to dogs and other pet animals.

With my wife, Angela, I was joint manager of Bell Mead, Battersea Dogs’ Home’s Country Kennels at Old Windsor for eleven years so I have also been deeply involved in the world of stray and rescue dogs and cats. Bell Mead was the UK’s most prestigious kennelstaff training college, boarded over 120 dogs, eighty cats, and housed and cared for 180 of Battersea’s dogs as well as having a very busy grooming parlour. Prior to this I was a director of a major boarding and quarantine kennel which incorporated a large pet store and from 1990 to 1996 was part owner of a small boarding kennels near Bristol.

I first became involved with the world of dogs as a breeder of Finnish Spitz. I was elected a committee member of the Finnish Spitz Club and ran the Nordic Open show for several years in the 1970s. With Angela, who was herself Secretary and subsequently Chairman of the FS Club, I own the ‘Toveri’ kennel name, one of the U.K.’s most successful breeding prefixes.

I am Chairman show manager  of Southern Counties Canine Association, one of the U.K.’s major dog shows, served as Vice chairman of The Kennel Club Breed Liaison Council for six years, was a member of The Kennel Club Working Party on shows development and judges training. I am President of the British Rottweiler Association and Chairman of the Rottweiler Breed Council.

Although not a dog trainer I have become deeply involved in the promotion of sound dog training and behaviour modification in recent years and been appointed the independent Chairman of the Pet Education, Training and Behaviour Council.

I have long been concerned about fragmentation of groups and advertising through the world wide web and the gradual erosion of personal responsibility through the increasing influence of institutions all too often more concerned with their own status than their objectives.  I have therefore launched a number of dedicated and entirely independent not-for-profit websites which provide, standards, recognition and involvement for all those involved.  These include I Judge Dogs, the National Register of Dog Trainers and Behaviourists, The National Register of Groomers: more are planned.

I judge 25 breeds at Championship level and I am passed to judge Best In Show and the Working, Pastoral and Utility Groups at Championship Shows in the UK.

During my time as a district councillor I was elected  Chairman of Bracknell Forest Borough Council’s Environmental Services Committee.

Despite my involvement with the world of dogs I have been owned for many years by a succession of cats. Mr. Brooks, a black cat of considerable presence, was the latest in a long line of feline companions.

I take photographs, too.  Dogs of course, but weddings (I photographed my first wedding in 1965), portraits and events as well.  Some of my work can be seen here

My main outside interests are theatre, all forms of music but especially blues and mainstream jazz vocalists, travel, eating and drinking – not necessarily in that order. I am a member of the Savage Club, the English Speaking Union and the Kennel Club

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