After almost a decade running a dog obedience business, Paula Del Bosco is ready to take up the reins at Whistler's animal shelter as the new executive director.
The 17-year Whistler resident has several ideas for WAG (Whistler Animals Galore), including a renewed focus on education.
"Part of my goal is to educate people about proper animal care," said Del Bosco. "People learn in different ways so I want to make sure we are not just teaching in one style, but in different ways."
After the Olympics wrap up, Del Bosco would like to have someone from WAG go into local schools to talk about how to greet, treat, and read animals. That way, if a child is in a park and they see a dog running at them, they will be able to read the animal and know how to react.
"Kids who are afraid of them can feel more confident," explained Del Bosco, who has been volunteering with WAG and Pemberton's animal shelter, PAWS, for years. "Those who already have dogs know how to read dogs better and understand what dogs' needs are."
On the other hand, Del Bosco knows she will also have to work through challenges like fundraising for the animal shelter in tight economic times.
"Like most charities this year with the recession that has happened, people are focusing on taking care of themselves, so WAG donations are a bit down," she said.
WAG's board of directors announced Del Bosco's appointment on Monday.
Beyond her dog obedience business and extensive volunteer work with animal shelters, Del Bosco has also been actively involved with CARDA (Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association) where she has helped train dogs to uncover people trapped in avalanches.
She has also done many years of fundraising for the Breast Cancer Foundation, and has held management roles with Trattoria di Umberto and Crown Resort Association.
She has a certificate in Kennel Management and Dog Obedience from the Canada West Canine Centre.