It’s not that Eden Halbert doesn’t like people. She does, really.
But she’d take a wet nose and a wagging tail over a handshake and a walk in the woods with her dogs over a corporate retreat … any day of the week.
‘They’re just joyful and being around them is joyful,” Halbert said, explaining her affection for dogs. It was this affection that pulled Halbert out of the Bay Area corporate world almost a dozen years ago and later brought her to El Dorado County in 2007, where she’s the owner and designated dog-lover of Sierra Dogs, an in-home dog boarding and training business. She’s also started Sierra Luna Photography, dedicated to pet photography (portraits and candids).
Halbert has a master’s degree in French literature and work in human resources prior to her tail-wagging career shift.
“Working in the corporate world just sucked out my soul,” she said. “I found myself not wanting to go into work in the morning.”
Her day’s highlight came when she walked by the dog park. Halbert thought, “Too bad I can’t make a living working with dogs.”
Too bad turned into “maybe” when Halbert began researching her options and educating herself. She attended dog training seminars and conferences, joined discussion groups and received certifications. Soon her business blossomed and Halbert found a career that made her smile.
“Like people (dogs) have their own personalities but they’re less complicated,” she said. “I like people well enough but in the end I like dogs better.”
Her greatest satisfaction comes when a dog makes progress, keeping both her and the pooch’s owners happy. Her approach is straightforward, she said. She and the doggy parents sit down and outline goals, schedule and budget ”and then they hand over the dog.” Halbert accepts dogs of all ages and her sessions run from two to four weeks, depending on the dog and goals.
The most important goal is to find the “best solution for each family,” whether it be teaching the basics in Puppy Training Camp or curbing bad behavior. When clients return to pick up their dogs, Halbert does a bit of “people training” too, teaching them how to maintain and expand on the progress she’s made with the pooch.
Halbert also happily accepts boarding-only clients. She keeps dogs well-fed and loved while their families are away on vacation, during the holidays or when an emergency occurs and Fido needs to be out of the house for a while.
Halbert said she also enjoys “the business side” of the job — something anyone considering opening their own business should consider — and her ”planner by nature” personality ensures she has back-up plans for her back-up plans should an emergency arise. Above all, she said she wants the animals to be in a safe environment.
Working alone can be tough for some people but Halbert said she enjoys the quiet, constructive time she has with the dogs. Besides, she’s not really alone. Even when the four-legged clients go home, Halbert has her assistants Luna, a 10-and-a-half-year-old Alaskan Husky mix, and Vesta, a 5-and-a-half-year-old Siberian Husky mix.
And she never gets bored.
“(This job) always keeps me interested,” Halbert said. “It’s always fresh, never boring.”
For more information about Halbert, Sierra Dogs and Sierra Luna Photography call 530-503-5183 or visit Sierra-Dogs.com.