About us ...

                                       ... Toni Shelbourne

Photo: Ann Carter
Photo: Ann Carter

Born into a family mad about animals it only seemed natural that Toni would be destined for a career with them. She says "animals just walked into our lives, sometimes arriving injured, others just flying in the window."

She has worked with dogs and wild canids since the late 1980's; during a long and successful career with the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association she quickly progressed from kennel staff to supervisor and then to staff training.  In 1997 she studied under Linda Tellington-Jones and other top Tellington TTouch Instructors, becoming one of the first pupils in the UK to qualify as a Companion Animal Practitioner.  In 2000 she left GDBA to pursue her passion for the Tellington TTouch Training Method and is now one of the highest qualified practitioners in the UK, working with all animals including cats, dogs, small animals, birds, reptiles, wildlife and non-domesticated animals. She has also qualified as an Equine Tellington TTouch practitioner.

In 2001, Toni joined the UK Wolf Conservation Trust, where she went on to become a Senior Wolf Handler and Education Officer for the organisation.  Through observing the wolves at close quarters, Toni developed a unique insight into their behaviour which led her to question the prevailing popular ideas about the alpha theory in dogs - ideas which often came into direct conflict with her own knowledge and observations gained at first hand.

In addition to her background in animal welfare and conservation issues, Toni edited the UK Wolf Conservation Trust's international magazine Wolf Print for two years, has contributed numerous features to national dog magazines, rescue society newsletters and websites and made many appearances on TV and radio. Her first book, The Truth about Wolves & Dogs, was published in 2012, and Among the Wolves: Memoirs of a Wolf Handler is due out in May 2015.

Toni currently combines working as an environmental educator, canine behaviourist, lecturer and presenter, with teaching children about farming and the environment for the award winning John Symonds Trust which runs out of Rushall Organic Farm, in rural Berkshire.  As well as working privately with clients, Toni runs workshops, seminars, gives talks and demos and works closely with a number of rescue shelters and assistant dog organisations.

                                                ... Karen Bush

Yes, those ARE genuine Blue Peter badges we're all wearing!
Yes, those ARE genuine Blue Peter badges we're all wearing!

Karen always knew that she wanted to do something that involved horses when she grew up, and on leaving school promptly trained on a working pupil basis at North Herts Equitation Centre as a riding teacher.

Because working with horses doesn't usually pay very well, Karen turned to writing in her spare time late at night to help make ends meet - first of all short fiction stories for magazines and cartoon strips for comics before trying her hand at factual articles and finally books.

Karen continues to combine writing with teaching riding on a freelance basis. As well as having written hundreds of articles for the leading UK canine and equestrian interest magazines including Horse & Rider, Your Horse, Horse, Pony, Horse & Pony and Your Dog, she spent several years as an agony aunt on the pages of Pony and Your Horse, became a magazine editor for a year, and has had over twenty books published to date. She currently owns a chestnut warmblood gelding called Flash who lives in happy retirement near Bath, and is mercilessly manipulated by two rescue whippets called Archie and Angel.