My name is Neville Mistri and here's why I became a dog trainer. In 2012 I was 15 years into an IT career. I was working 9 hours in the office, commuting another 2, and then working from home. My days started at 4:30 a.m. and often ended between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. I was feeling a burnout approaching, but I was hearing the same story from my fellow IT comrades at other companies and I didn’t see a clear path to change.
I had a 130 lb German Shepherd at the time who was essentially my best friend. He was strong, healthy and full of energy, but he had a rare neurological disorder that made it difficult for him to relieve himself when he wanted to, so we spent a lot of time outside so that he had ample opportunities to empty his bladder. I thought I was taking care of him. But within a few weeks of putting him down after his 9th birthday I realized how much he had been taking care of me. I had taught him obedience and a few cool tricks and games like fetching my slippers and playing hide and seek with me. However, he taught me perseverance, positive attitude, and to live each moment to its fullest.
With Ike gone I had even more time to think about my life, and suddenly my job and my contributions to my corporation seemed relatively trivial. He was better at showing me recognition and appreciation for my efforts than my corporation.
So when I was offered early retirement, I left my job and started to board, day care, and walk dogs. I immediately felt genuinely appreciated and regained my exuberance for work. I went on to complete a certification in dog psychology and basic obedience training and then continued my pursuit of advanced certifications.
I love my new life! I spend my days with dogs that want to learn and play and just get out for a few minutes each day. I help dog owners relieve their guilt for being away for so many hours of the day - something I knew too well. Most gratifying for me is helping to improve the bond between humans and their best friends.