It's not so much about what I've learned, but about what dogs and people have taught me. This is my life and they are my companions.
- Zaragoza University (1st to 3rd year)
- Glasgow University Veterinary School (4th and final)
- Master Degree on Veterinary Acupuncture (Barcelona)
- Veterinary Homeopathy, by Coral Mateo
Athos was my first dog. He spent hours at the vet school with me, both in the classroom and at the bar, and we rode my scooter together. He taught me to respect his freedom and how wise dog decisions can be. I couldn´t take him with me to Glasgow and I missed him sleeping on my feet whilst I studied.
- General Dog training courses
- Assistance dog trainer
- Dog assisted therapy trainer
Justi y Luta
Luta showed me how to keep harmony in a pack, Justi taught me that sometimes it´s better to stay in the background, Pincho still gives me lessons of courage and perseverance, and Tina has forced me to improve my timing. With Aiko I had to implement much of what I teach on behavior modification and Drol has helped me to help other dogs, because he is the most balanced of the gang.
Justi y Pincho Drol Aiko Tina
In 2007 we founded "Askal", the first organization in Spain specializing in dogs for deaf people, that showed that abandoned mix breeds can be assistance dogs. Through Askal I have taught several groups of canine trainers and hearing dog trainers. People from different countries have attended our courses and spread the work with mongrels in their countries.
I am associated professor of the Assistance Dogs masters degree of the University of Barcelona (UB) and the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB).
Deaf people have taught me the beauty of sign language, the logic of their culture and the difficulty of living with an invisible disability. When I´ve placed trained dogs or I've helped them to teach their own dogs, I have learned to work at the pace and needs of each person, to communicate and explain better, and to develop the difficult task of teaching the dog and the owner at the same time.
Tete, Motas, Sims and Pincho were the first. All of them found that alerting people about sounds was easy and fun, so we knew that the Askal project was possible and moved on. Ever since, many more rescue dogs have lived with me at some stage of their training and with them, I have improved my timing because quick and clever dogs are the best hearing companions.
Some of the dogs selected by Askal from several shelters in Spain
Justi, Pincho, Drol and Tina have been my coworkers at the Pere Mitjans Foundation, a visionary organisation who believed in dog assisted therapy when no-one in Spain knew what it was. Then we expanded to other centers and other user profiles, but what I've learned about disability comes from the people of Pere Mitjans.
I think my working dogs are, above all, happy dogs, that have a great life and enjoy working with me.
At present I'm still working in therapy, but also teach several dog therapy courses organized by various associations and Universities (UAB, UB, EPSI). I am a professor at the first centre in Spain that has included working with dogs in the official curriculum Community Work curriculum.
I started adult training within the framework of development cooperation projects in the Dominican Republic followed by work throughout Latin America and Africa. I learnt the importance of collective knowledge building and creating a friendly environment that allows everyone to learn at their own pace.
I studied communication techniques, participatory processes, group dynamics, Neuro-linguistic Programming for teachers and personality studies using Seitai. For several years I worked as a consultant for NGOs, helping organizations to improve and strengthen their performance, develop their planning and resolve internal conflicts. At present all this experience is useful for lectures, seminars, courses and when supporting trainers in the management of their centres or customer relations. Sharing what I know and continuing to learn from those who come to participate.