Saffrina Welch, BSc, CPDT-KA
I'm Going To Be A Wolf Biologist
I remember when I was 14 years old being asked what I wanted to do when I left school. Easy, "I'm going to be a wolf biologist" I replied.
The lack of native wolves in the UK didn't seem to hinder my chosen career plans, though my French teacher telling me I wouldn't be able to visit Canada because my French was so terrible, crushed me, briefly!
Today Vancouver has been my home for the last 11 years (my French teacher would still be disappointed with my lack of progress), and I've been privileged enough to work on a couple of really interesting wolf related projects, in some very beautiful parts the world.
The Wild Places
My work as a Zoologist took me to some wonderful and wild places. I spent two months living with and studying the wild Przewalski Horses in Mongolia (which included protecting the foals from wolf predation), I worked on various wildlife rehabilitation and habitat restoration projects in both New Zealand and the UK, and volunteered at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre in Manitoba - who doesn't want to live on a decommissioned missile base on the edge of polar bear country? I've also spent three seasons sailing up and down the coastline of British Columbia looking for marine mammals, bears, and wolf poop!
Sounds like a dream-career come true, right? It was, though amongst the samples of frozen wolf scat, something was missing. The truth was I missed having a dog, and though I loved working on remote field projects there were very few opportunities for me to implement a positive change. I really did want to create a better world, I just needed to find a better way to do it.
Going Off Track
I went back to school, putting my animal behaviour credentials to great use, and spent the next few years working towards my Professional Dog Trainer certification (CPDT-KA). Off Track was launched in the Spring of 2011, with the mission to create a better life for my clients, both two-legged and four.
In 2017 my daughter, Georgia, was born, bringing a new and exciting chapter to Off Track. Becoming a Mum has given me the perfect opportunity to focus my skills, and share my experiences and knowledge in this specialized area of dog and family training.
A Better Way
Though I'm no longer on the front line of conservation efforts, my work through Off Track has enabled me to financially support a couple of small organizations that truly are making a big difference in the world: Nurture Project International, and the Raincoast Conservation Foundation.
- BSc in Zoology from The University of Nottingham
- Certified Professional Dog Trainer, CPDT-KA
- Graduate from the Dog Stars Training Academy
- BTec National Diploma in Animal Care
- NVQ Level 2 in Animal Management
- Pet First Aid
What's In The Works?
In order to better assist the young families I work with, I am currently enrolled with Family Paws Parent Education, with the aim of become a Licensed Educator for their Dogs & Storks®, and Dogs & Toddler™ programs later this summer.
This is a area of dog training that I am extremely passionate about, and can't wait to share with you.
Workshops, Programs & Seminars
- Nicole Wilde. Fear Aggression & Creative Client Coaching
- Dr Sophia Yin. Lecture & Lab
- Terry Ryan. Chicken Camp - Targeting & Discrimination
- Marie Forleo. B-School
- Barb Weston. Reiki Level One
10 Random Facts About Me:
1. I've taken night classes in Sign Language, Belly Dancing and Welding.
2. I grew up with 17 dogs, ranging in size from 10lb to 90lb. Not all at the same time!
3. I've covered the coast of B.C. in a sail boat, but I've never drank wine in the Okanagan.
4. I was born in England, but tell everyone I'm Cornish.
5. I prefer to drink cider over beer (because I'm Cornish).
6. I used to played Field Hockey, Ultimate Frisbee and Roller Derby.
7. I can carve a birdhouse from a log using a chainsaw.
8. My first month in Canada was spent in Churchill, Manitoba, the next three months in Alert Bay.
9. When I grow up I want to be a Bee Keeper.
10. I can say “hello” in Mongolian....as well as “I would like a shower please”.