“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain

I am Megan Armstrong. The owner of dogma training & pet services inc. This area will be dedicated to my thoughts, ideas, suggestions, and at times, rants. First, I am going to start with a little bit about myself. Like most people in this industry, I have always had a love for animals. I was raised in a family that respected and lived with animals. I was taught about respect and compassion towards all living creatures at a young age.

My plan was to become a vet. Then in my final year of high school I determined that this was not the path I was looking for. So, I got involved in the IT world and became a software developer/web designer. I had a desire to run my own business and did web design from home. With a more flexible schedule, I began volunteering at The Calgary Humane Society as a dog trainer’s assistant. I was overjoyed. I was hooked and my life quickly began to veer off on another path.

My husband, Dennis, and I adopted our first dog from Animal Services. We were looking at many dogs and ended up at Animal Services on a Saturday morning. All of the dogs were barking and excited and I looked over to see Dennis kneeling in front of a kennel. I could not see the dog, but rather just his paw reaching out in Dennis’s hand. He was quiet and sweet and we decided to spend some time with him. Out in the run, he was happy and played an amazing game of fetch (the best and only real full game of it he has ever played ). We were in love and decided to bring him home. We named him Guinniss.

After he received his neuter we picked up a terrified, shaking dog at the vet clinic. The next day, while out on his first walk with me, Guinniss lunged and barked furiously at the end of his leash towards a person on the other side of the street about 3 blocks down. And so began my journey with a very special dog. Guinniss is a gentle soul who was terrified of the world. He has been my greatest teacher and I have learned more from him than I ever could have learned from any person or books. We have had an amazing journey together and I owe him so much. He has come a far way from the insecure, reactive dog that found the outside world terrifying.

About a year after adopting Guinniss, we adopted a puppy from ARF. She was a small version of Guinniss, so we named her Deja Vu (Deja). Deja has taught me about patience and has made me a smarter trainer. Guinniss wants me to show him and immediately understands. Deja, well she always wants to see how she can improve things or make them more fun :). She was a challenge and after I finally opened up to new way of thinking, her and I clicked. She has taught me so many lessons which have carried into many of dogma’s foundation training; attention, self control and mental stimulation work. She is an adorably sweet girl, who’s enthusiasm for life inspires me every day.

We also have a cat that was our first failed foster. We were fostering him from The Calgary Humane Society while they were struggling with Feline Distemper. He was suffering from URV and we were not sure if he would survive. He pulled through and quickly ruled the house. He had no fear of the dogs and Guinniss walked around with scratches on his nose for sometime after learning from Domi about how to behave around cats. We named him Domi due to his similarities to the hockey player Tie Domi; small in size, but big in presence and confidence! He is like the mob boss of the house, so he is often referred to as Fat Domi. He knows many tricks such as sit, shake a paw and sit pretty.

I have filled my life with animals. I have worked in a variety of areas within the pet industry and have a passion for animals and their welfare. I have learned from the best and believe in education and learning. I opened dogma with the desire to create a facility based on respect, changing the lives of dogs and their owners and supporting rescue efforts. I have been fortunate enough to meet amazing people and have a passionate, wonderful team who share dogma’s mission and work hard every day.

Those who know me, know I have a lot I want to say and get out to the world. I believe in the value of life for all living creatures and want the best for all of them. My focus now is dogs. They are amazing – loyal, loving, adaptable and incredibly brilliant. We bring them in as companions and they fill that role unlike any other creature. We owe them so much and can learn so much from them. They deserve our commitment and respect. dogma has made it our goal that we responsibly fulfil this role for our dogs. It can be a challenge, but amazingly rewarding.