Shock, excitement and pure elation were just some of the feelings TAFE NSW Animal Studies teacher Deb Coleman said she experienced when announced as the Association of Pet Dog Trainers Australia (APDT) Dog Trainer of the Year for 2017.
Deb, affectionately known in Orange as “The Dog Lady”, will accept this prestigious award at a special ceremony in Adelaide in October, having upstaged a world-class field of applicants.
“I was nominated by another dog trainer, Vicki Cleaver, and I was very shocked to win the award because I was up against the best trainers in Australia,” Deb said.
“To be chosen as the best by two of the most highly respected international trainers in Pat Miller and Nando Brown is very special.”
A humble Deb, who runs her own highly respected and successful dog training and behaviour business in the Central West and has been a teacher at TAFE NSW for eight years, shared the excitement of her win with her Certificate II Animal Studies students.
“My students were absolutely thrilled to hear their teacher had won a big National Award,” she said with a smile.
“Obviously I don’t teach for these type of accolades, but for my students and peers to think I’m worthy of such an award is very gratifying and as good as the award itself.
“I’m extremely passionate about people being able to understand their animals, care for their animals and have a good lasting relationship with them – anything else that comes on top of that is a bonus.”
Deb will be presented with a trophy, a $300 cheque and a certificate of appreciation at the annual APDT Conference in Adelaide in October.