Hi I'm Serena! I am 26 years old, was raised in the South Bay, and graduated from the University of Southern California in 2020. My history with pets truly began when I met my best friend Lucky at the age of five and it was then that my life changed forever. For 18 years I learned from Lucky about all things dog but also about life and love - we formed a connection that was stronger than any I have ever known. In 2020, my best friend passed away and in is honor, I use his own paw as my logo.
As I grew up, I continued to love pets as I loved my own but it wasn't until 2016 during my high school senior project that I realized I could turn my passion for animals into a lifelong career. I was given the amazing opportunity to volunteer with South Bay Mobile Vet alongside Dr. Deborah Robertson, a family friend and veterinarian with over 30 years of experience, many of those years include taking care of my own dogs. I continued to work with her on and off as a Veterinarian Assistant for many years. Dr. Robertson has taught me everything I know about the medical side of the pet world and I couldn't be more grateful for her taking me under her wing.
Throughout the years, I have also volunteered my time with Animal Hospital of South Bay, Wags & Walks, South LA Animal Shelter, and The Amanda Foundation. I was also a member of USC Providing Animals With Shelter (PAWS) and volunteered with them throughout my college career.
In the summer of 2018, I participated in an internship with The Puppy Academy where I learned about dog psychology and puppy training. I also became a certified Instructor of Pet CPR and First Aid. During that same summer I also decided to become an independent contractor for the companies Wag! and Rover, completing over 200+ walks, sittings, and visits. That summer, I dedicated all my time to pets and I had the best time of my life.
Since 2018, I have completed thousands of bookings including Dog Training, Pet Sitting, Dog Walking, Visits, & More. Through this work, I have obtained extensive experience with cats and dogs of all breeds, sizes, and ages. Since graduating from college, I have dedicated myself to building my business, continuing my dog training education, and pursuing my dream full time. I am proud to say that Sandy Paws South Bay is an official, insured LLC! In 2022, I achieved my AKC CGC Evaluator Certification and ABCDT Dog Trainer Certification. In 2023, I also achieved the CPDT-KA Dog Trainer Certification.
As a Certified Dog Trainer, I specialize in training that is Positive Reinforcement Based R+, Least Intrusive Minimally Aversive (LIMA), and Relationship and Science based. My training is fully customizable and addresses the needs and desires of each dog and dog owner.
Pets are my passion and this work is so much more than a job for me. I know that I am going to be doing this for the rest of my life. Come join me and my team on our journey to "know all the paws" in the South Bay!
VETERINARY ASSISTANT AT
Part-Time Veterinarian Assistant; assisted veterinarians with blood, urine, and fecal testing and physical assessments of the animals; trained to properly restrain and comfort animals during procedures; practiced with injections; observed euthanasia, small mass removals, anal sacculectomy, dental work; transported deceased animals for aquamation; office support and organization
Assisted veterinarians and vet techs with holding and caring for animals; trained to do physical assessment of animals including weight, temperature, and general check-up; trained to chart during anesthetic procedures; cleaned and sanitized surgical equipment; observed spays, neuters, and dental work; cleaned hospital property and restock supplies; prepared supplies for vet techs and veterinarians; trained to care for boarded animals
INTERN PUPPY TRAINER AT
THE PUPPY ACADEMY
Participated in 3-month summer internship program; learn about puppy training, dog behavior, and dog psychology; learn how to maintain a clean, safe environment for puppies; assist head trainers with puppy training
STUDENT & GRADUATE OF
ANIMAL BEHAVIOR COLLEGE
2021 - 2022
Pursued a 52 week week long, ABC-DT dog training certification and Pet CPR and First Aid certification. Training program is positive-reinforcement based and aims to teach students how to train humanely and effectively, help owners and their dogs create a lifelong bond, and cultivate a mastery of basic commands and obedience. Online curriculum is 11 stages long, over 950 pages, and includes 18 instructional dog training videos. Following the online portion, students participate in an externship led by an ABC certified, professional dog training mentor.
CANINE GOOD CITIZEN (CGC) EVALUATOR AT
THE AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB (AKC)
2022 - Present
Approved by the American Kennel Club (AKC) to administer AKC Family Dog Programs including AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy, Canine Good Citizen, AKC Community, Urban CGC, AKC Fit Dog, AKC Trick Dog, and Virtual Home Manners.
BH150 Management For Reactive Dogs
Dogs with Big Feelings Conference 2022
The Aggression in Dogs Conference 2022
CERTIFIED COUNCIL FOR PROFESSIONAL DOG TRAINERS
"CPDT-KA® certification recognizes the knowledge and experience of professional dog trainers. Certificants must provide references that attest to their work and pass a rigorous written exam that focuses on the science behind dog behavior and the application of training techniques. CPDT-KA® certification provides an independent, scientifically valid measure of an individual’s understanding of the field of dog training, including instruction skills, learning theory, ethology, equipment, and animal husbandry."
In 2020, I brought home Freddie who is my now 2 year old mini sheepadoodle.
Freddie accompanies me on many of my daily work adventures.
He's my best buddy and now my paid employee!
(Paid in treats and kisses)
Scroll down for more information about Freddie's training(:
Freddie and I have been training together since he came home with me at 11 weeks old.
At 2 years old, Freddie now knows more than 30 different commands.
Freddie has received the following titles from the American Kennel Club (AKC):
Canine Good Citizen (CGC), Community Canine (CGCA), and Urban Canine Good Citizen (CGCU). In addition, he has received his Trick Novice (TKN) and Trick Intermediate (TKI) titles.
Freddie is also a fully trained Psychiatric Service Dog (SD). He is task trained and has passed his Public Access Test (PAT).
Here I have compiled a video of Freddie at just 6 months old demonstrating only a portion of what we have been able to achieve together.
In raising Freddie, I have become a more experienced and knowledgeable dog trainer (and even dog owner) than I ever could have hoped.