Dynamo Dogsports offers sanctuary for frontline workers and their pets
By Ishita Verma | December 23, 2020
A 14,000-SQUARE-FOOT warehouse in Capilano has been turned into a training facility for dogs, and it’s as adorable as it sounds. Dynamo Dogsports is co-owned and run by Seanna O’Neill, former manager of the Canadian National Agility Team.
Seanna passed on her passion for dog sports to her daughters, one of whom, Kirstin O’Neill, operates the facility and competes alongside her. Outside of sports, agility training can improve the bond between a dog owner and his or her pet, changing the relationship from ownership to a partnership. “You have a fraction of a second to make a decision, and the dog has to respond quickly. So, they really have to develop that working relationship,” Seanna says. Dynamo Dogsports also offers barn hunt, flyball and agility courses.
In 1999, Seanna opened up one of the first dog daycares in Edmonton, offering a safe, comfortable space for dogs to relax, play and socialize in. Her daycares follow a structured regime where dogs are partnered up by personality compatibility. “We work with them. We teach them. So when they go home, the dogs are tired mentally, and physically,” she says.
Seanna noticed that many of her clients were frontline workers, whose shifts changed periodically. To accommodate them, she takes their dogs in earlier in the day, or sometimes later. Playing with their dogs in the training centre also gives the frontline workers a break. “It just gives them something totally different to think about,” Seanna says, adding, “We can all forget we’re in a pandemic for a little while.”