by Willa Condy
When you arrive at Jackie Kellock’s Canine Psychology Center on Ross Spur Road in Fruitvale, BC you notice the statue by the road of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. There are no large signs stating kennel by the road. There are a few barks but very little noise. First time visitors wonder if this is the right place. Then you meet Jackie Kellock.
Kellock has worn many hats during her life. Counsellor to working at Northern Lakes College in Alberta as Director for Readiness program for first nations adults where she had 21 instructors in different communities. It was during the 25 years she worked at the college that she started observing dog behaviour.
“I used to go to the dump and watch dogs there. There would be packs of dogs that were wild, living in the dump, raising babies in the dump doing all this stuff.” said Kellock. “I learned how packs work.”
When Kellock retired her oldest daughter encouraged her to check out the Fruitvale area. The Kootenays have a habit of hooking people and Kellock was no exception.
But retirement was going to wait. Kellock had been in the area for two months when she was asked to help get a Brain Injury group going.
“8 years later I was still working for Brain Injury. I was their director and with the help of a wonderful board we managed to get programs in most of the communities and Brain Injury became a different entity from when I first started,” recalled Kellock.
It was time for Kellock to start the next chapter. When asked by a co-worker what she was going to do Kellock replied-
“I am going to open a kennel again, take in a couple of boarders and maybe some dogs that need homes.”
She didn’t know how well the kennel idea would work. Within the first two weeks she had 6 dogs at her kennel.
For the first three years Kellock ran the operation solo. It was a labour of love and she was good at it. Word of mouth spread about Kellock’s operation and she added to her staff.
Kellock had been a dog breeder and enjoyed showing her dogs at dog shows when she was younger. A light bulb moment at her last dog show changed her perspective on dogs.
“I looked around and there was about 1500 dogs in that show. I thought I wonder if I am becoming a part of the problem? I thought there are so many dogs that need homes and here we are just breeding more of them. That was the last time I bred a litter and the last time I showed. I said if I was going to have more dogs the majority would be dogs that no one else wanted,” said Kellock.
There are dogs being boarded by Kellock but also dogs that need to be rehomed. Some were fear biters, others with behaviour issues that the owners couldn’t cope with. Kellock works finding some new homes. Other dogs become part of her pack.
Kellock boards dogs and also offers day care at her kennel. The boarders stay in cabins with beds. Their crates are there if they prefer to stay in their crate. There is a quiet calm feel to the cabins and the dogs. There are fenced fields that give boarders a place to run and play. At night they are safely in their cabins.
She also consults with dog owners needing help with their fur babies. Kellock gives the owners new coping skills. Currently she consults with three to four new cases a month.
When Kellock receives the first phone call from a prospective client she is patient and explains a little about how she works.
“That is one of the things I tell people on the phone before I go to the house. If I can help you to see things different then your dog will change. It is inevitable,” said Kellock.
Kellock charges a $100 fee for one session and comes to your house and works with the owners and the dogs. Her background in counselling is an asset. It helps show both the dog and the owner new coping skills. Kellock does not judge the owners.
After that first session Kellock stays in touch and if the owners require more assistance then she returns, just charging them for her gas.
Kellock has not needed to advertise. Word of mouth has brought her boarders, including some that flew in from out of province to drop off their dogs and then headed skiing.
Kellock does not give up on dogs or their owners.
“90% it is you and how you are dealing with the dog. That doesn’t make you a bad person it just means at this point you don’t have the tools to turn this dog around.”
For more information contact Kellock at (250) 367-0124.