ESBOCES teacher Lisa Konnerth attended the Westminster Dog Show at Madison Square Garden in New York City and asked Tonilyn Fay, Eddie's owner, for her business card. Ms. Fay was happy to visit the Canine Careers program to discuss the giant schnauzer breed and talk to the students about responsibility in breeding and placing the animals in good homes. She said, "I do it out of passion and love for the breed. There's a great deal of conditioning that goes into creating a champion." Tonilyn has been in the business for 11 years and is the proud owner of six adult giant schnauzers and five puppies.
The process begins when a pup is about 4 weeks of age. By virtue of their socialization skills, charisma, personality, and how they do in handling classes, Tonilyn evaluates the pups for potential champion quality. Then, it's off to conditioning. For a dog to become a champion, they must be outstanding in their field. She said, "There are specifics that fit the standard of the dog; their structure, presence, and movement, for example."
The dogs exercise everyday and feed on raw meat and high quality kibble. She said, "It costs about $1,000 a month to feed them."
Students in Canine Careers chose the program because they are interested in handling and caring for domestic animals. They learn the basics of grooming, handling, breed identification, and more. By inviting canine professionals into the classroom, students gain knowledge, confidence, self-esteem, and skill to further prepare them for careers in grooming shops, veterinary hospitals, animal shelters, and boarding kennels.