Never be afraid to try something new.  Remember, amateurs built the ark; professionals built the Titanic. 

~ Author Unknown ~ 


Duke’s Academy for Dogs is a dream I thought would never come true. This has been my passion for years and nothing was going to stop me. At least that’s what I thought…and then a few people helped me along the way… 

Thank you Gaby Grohovaz. Gaby contacted me one day and said to me that she knew I was looking around for agility equipment in the hopes of starting a dog school – I had no idea how it would turn out. Gaby gave me the contact details of the gentleman I needed to contact – Mark. I arranged a day to meet Mark at his house to look at the equipment. It was a rainy Saturday afternoon that I went to see the equipment and I fell in love. This is how it started…Gaby, thank you so much for letting me know that Mark was selling his equipment and helping me get one step closer to my dream. 


My biggest thank you goes to my mom and dad. They helped me – without hesitation in buying the agility equipment from Mark. Without them Duke’s Academy for Dogs wouldn’t be around. Mom and dad – thank you for supporting me and believing in me and my idea of owning a dog school, it means the world to me and I will be forever thankful. I love you both lots. To my sisters – thank you for always encouraging me with the idea of owning a dog school…Thank you Christine and Caryn. 


Now that I had my equipment and the “trainer”, all I needed to complete my dog school was the grounds and some students. Mr. and Mrs. Magill (Ouma and Oupa Magill) were two very wonderful people who opened their plot up to me and let me use a piece of land. But I still needed students. 

Thank you to my "adopted sister" Sarah Donlin who always supported me and my dream and always gave me words of encouragement when I was feeling defeated!  Thank you my sister!!!  Love you lots!! :) 


Duke’s Academy for Dogs has started and I received my first phone call. A gentleman by the name of Dave has a Border Collie puppy named Cash and would like to start training and I suggested that they start right away. My first student!! How exciting!! 


                              “The person, who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing and becomes nothing.                                                                   He may avoid suffering and  sorrow,  but he  simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live”  

~ Leo F. Buscaglia ~ 



Today I have two very special people and their two very special dogs training at Duke’s Academy for Dogs – Natalie McManus with Zena and Garnet Edwards with Zeus. I have never met two people more suited for each other than this couple. Their ability to help whenever and wherever leaves me speechless. Natalie and Garnet have a very special place in my heart (as do their furkids). They are so dedicated to their furkids and will do anything for them – they have that special connection that is so rarely seen. Garnet had first started obedience training with Zeus when he was still very young. Today they both do agility and obedience and love it (and are doing well too). Natalie is currently training Zena in the agility classes now too.

Last year for my birthday, Natalie and Garnet somehow managed to contact a man named Pieter from VETVALUE ( We chatted a bit – not knowing what was going on – and then Pieter told me that Natalie and Garnet had organised with him to get a sponsorship of agility equipment to the value of R10,000! I couldn’t believe it! I am still speechless a year later. Everything was falling into place and I could officially start Duke’s Academy for Dogs. I was so excited! Natalie and Garnet, what you did for me will always be a true reminder of the wonderful people you both are! You are both stunning people and I will never forget my 25th birthday because of you. Thank you so much for everything you have done. 


To Pieter and the staff at VETVALUE, I do not have the words to thank you and to really show you how much this means to me. My dream was made possible because of you and your kindness. Today I have a dog school with more than 20 students and it would never been possible without you and all the wonderful people who have played a part in getting Duke’s Academy for Dogs going. 


“You have to risk going too far to discover just how far you can really to”  

~ T.S. Eliot ~ 


Bobby Boyd, I had announced on Facebook that I was struggling to get new grounds and then I had mentioned Rietvlei Zoo. The catch with Rietvlei Zoo is that no dogs were allowed. Hmmm…Bobby Boyd is close friends with Tina, the lady that runs Rietvlei Zoo. He so kindly put in a good word for me and helped me get the grounds. Bobby, thank you so much. 


I want to say a very special thank you to a friend who has been there by my side through thick and thin. We met years ago through the dog world when she competed with her Border Collies and I had Duke. Joanna Wing – you have made me stronger by showing me how to be my own person and be strong through difficult times. Joanna you are my soul mate in the friendship world and for this I am eternally grateful. I am so glad that our paths crossed. Thank you for everything my beautiful friend!! When things were looking grim for Duke’s Academy for Dogs, you showed me where the light was. Thank you!!   


“The two important things I did learn were that you are as powerful and strong as you allow yourself to be, and the most difficult part of any endeavour is taking the first step, making the first decision”  

~ Robyn Davidson ~ 


Today I have a school at Rietvlei Zoo in Alberton and all thanks to these wonderful people. When I was 13, I had a dream…today I am 25and I am living that dream! To all you wonderful people who are reading this now, this is not just a dog school or a hobby, it is a dream that I am passionate about and I love working with all you amazing people and your beautiful furkids. 


“Of all the people I have ever known, those who have pursued their dreams and failed have lived a much more fulfilling life than those who have put their dreams on a shelf for fear of failure.”   

                                                                                                                                             ~ Author Unknown ~

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