Petra Ford, P.T., CCRT P.T., C.C.R.T. (Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist)

I can’t imagine a life without dogs.  I work with them, training them is my hobby, I live with them, they go almost everywhere with me.  They make me laugh, comfort me, guard my house, are loyal, pure hearts…  I’ve been an animal lover since childhood, choosing my stuffed animals over dolls.   I didn’t grow up with pets, but that didn’t stop me.  I started with horses, riding my bike to the stable every day after school.  Trail riding, jumping, dressage, cleaning stalls, brushing and bathing the horses.  Years later, recreational cycling led to racing mountain bikes and road bikes on a professional level.  During this time, I was living on my own and realized a life-long dream… I got my first dog!  Teejay was a happy-go-lucky, black Labrador Retriever.  He went everywhere with me.  He slept on my bed, rode in the car, attended bike races, shared my snacks (and stole quite a number of them), hiked with me, went swimming and became my best friend.   After a few years, it was time for a second dog.  This time, it was a yellow Labrador named Duncan.  When Duncan was young, I had to retire from racing due to health issues.  I now had tons of free time.  I wanted to spend more time with my dogs, so I looked into dog activities.   TeeJay and Duncan became certified therapy dogs.   We worked with children and adults with special needs, children with cancer and families of 9/11 victims and first responders.  I also discovered dog sports.  Field Training, Agility, Obedience, Nosework, Dock Diving.   Dog training is an exciting challenge that continues to teach me how to speak dog and creates incredible bonds with my dogs.

When I had the opportunity to start a canine rehabilitation business, I jumped at the chance.  It’s been a dream job!!  I get to utilize my skills as a human Physical Therapist to help dogs regain mobility and to improve their quality of life.  I love the challenges of running my own business.  A year ago, I expanded my business by adding a boarding kennel.   I was already offering online classes for canine conditioning and competitive obedience training.  I also started teaching webinars for obedience training and created a membership-based training website.  It’s ONLY because I have the most amazing employees and friends that this is all coming to fruition!!  I could never have accomplished it without them.

I believe very strongly in the power of the mind and positive thinking.  I wasn’t always that way and certainly wasn’t raised that way.  But through daily mindfulness practice, I’ve been able to make huge changes in my life.  As a single businesswoman with many interests, I lead a busy, often hectic life.  I make a conscious effort to also lead a healthy, balanced and holistic lifestyle.  Exercising, meditation, essential oils, reiki, healthy eating and yes, I do enjoy a glass of wine.

Dogs are my best friends.  They keep me company, protect me, travel with me, go to work with me.  They are affectionate, make me laugh, have taken me all around the country, have brought amazing people into my life and are always teaching me new lessons.  I am grateful and blessed to be able to combine all things dog into Petra’s Dog Resource Center.

Petra graduated from UMDNJ School of Health-Related Professions with a degree in physical therapy and has experience working with an extremely varied caseload including pediatric through geriatric clients with a vast range of diagnoses. Her areas of expertise include in-patient rehabilitation, orthopedics and neurology.  Petra attended the Canine Rehabilitation Institute in 2007 and graduated as a certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist.  Petra is fully certified in Canine Acupressure and is a Reiki Level 2 Practitioner.  Petra’s black Labrador Retriever, Tyler, was the 2008 and 2009 National Obedience Champion and First Runner Up in 2010.  In 2012, Petra and Tyler became the first and only American team to win the Obedience World Cup (they placed second in 2010).    Petra’s dogs have earned titles in hunt tests, field trials, agility, and nosework.  Currently she is competing at the Master Level in agility with Zaidan.  Zeal has earned his OTCH in obedience, was Second Runner Up at the 2017 National Obedience Championship, has won numerous Regional events and won the prestigious Obedience Classic Tournament in 2017.  Petra has written several articles on canine conditioning, canine injury prevention, competing with your dog and more.  She has been published in a number of magazines including Clean Run, Front and Finish, and Whole Dog Journal.   Petra currently offers webinars and online classes for canine conditioning and competition obedience training.

Nicole Osborne

I’m a mother of three children and two little Chihuahuas. I have been in love and fascinated with animals since I can remember. Growing up my family lived close to a brook and patch of woods that was just filled with small creatures for me and my friend to catch and observe. We caught crayfish, tadpoles, pollywogs, frogs, snakes and anything else that wasn’t fast enough to get away. I learned how to handle animals gently to without me or them getting hurt.

I joined 4H at a young age and was taught more skills on how to take care of animals. My dream as a young child was to be a Veterinarian.  In my science class in high school my teacher kept an Iguana and corn snake in the classroom all year. Every day I could, I would hold the snake and slowly get the Iguana to let me pet it.  Eventually I was able to hold the Iguana.  My teacher told me she was amazed at my patience because the Iguana would never let anyone near him.

I’ve owned and cared for many pets through the years, from dogs to snakes. My love for dogs has inspired me to pursue a career with dogs. I’m currently enrolled in online classes to become a Vet Tech. I’m excited to be working at Aqua Paws helping animals heal and get stronger so they can live their lives to the fullest. I’m also happy to be working at Playful Paws at Petra’s caring lovingly for the dogs as if they were my own.

Laurie Shepherd, CCMT

The best way to describe Laurie is “There is always room for one more”. Her whole life has revolved around animals. Dogs, cats, horses, pocket pets, fish you name it, she’s owned it! She has been a veterinary technician for over 23 years and loved every moment of it. She was passionate about every aspect of veterinary medicine especially surgery.   After all those years of working at hospitals, she wanted to redirect and focus on rehab. When she found Aqua Paws she could not wait to get to work.  Such an amazing and rewarding job to help dogs and cats heal and be a part of bringing back quality of life for them.  She got certified as a Canine Massage Therapist from Brandenburg Massage Therapy school and brings everything she already learned from being a tech to Petra’s Dog Resource Center.

Outside of work, she is trying to keep up with her 2 children and fur babies. She has Border Collies, Chihuahua’s and her kitties.  A lot on her plate, but it’s what makes her who she is.  She loves every moment with them and loves working with the girls at Petra’s Dog Resource Center..Life is good!!

Sara Giovenco, CCMT, CCRA

When Sara was a child, she always loved animals! Growing up, she had a variety of animals, including a cat, a few dogs, always at least one bird, a hedgehog, bearded dragons, chameleons, frogs and many colorful and exotic fish. She took horseback riding lessons and wanted to work with horses. Later, she moved on to wanting to work with birds and exotic animals because that’s what she grew up with and she wanted to be able to help people with these unique pets.

Sara took a veterinary assistant college course to try and jump start the veterinary career. She did an internship at a local veterinary office and while she liked it and the people she worked with, she wasn’t sure that the veterinary route was the way she wanted to go. However, she had learned about canine rehabilitation in her course, and when she got the chance to work at Aqua Paws she was delighted. Being able to rehabilitate dogs is such a rewarding job and she is glad to be able to help people and their pets in such a fantastic way.

She is so excited to work in the field that she even got certified in canine massage therapy from Brandenburg Massage Therapy in Ohio and we are so proud to announce that she has now completed her certification course from the Canine Rehabilitation Institute and is now certified as a canine rehab assistant.

When she isn’t at work, she loves to spend time with her two birds, Luna and Zev. She also loves to spend time at the beach, doing nosework with Zayna (Petra’s Labrador) and reading.


Rylee Rose

Ever since I was a child, I’ve had an extreme affection for all animals. I was always that kid who would dig in the dirt looking for bugs rather than playing with toys.  The curiosity towards animals I possessed as a kid led me down my current path…trying to find a career working with animals. I have worked at a number of kennels, none of which provided any opportunity for growth.  But that all changed when I started working here at Petra’s Dog Resource Center. What started as a simple job cleaning up the kennel has reshaped into one full of opportunities. I love interacting with all the dogs in the kennel and enjoy giving them as much love and attention as possible.  I am also very excited to continue my training in canine rehabilitation so I can work one on one with dogs in need and help them get back to their happy-old-selves.

Currently, I have a handful of my own animals:  two dogs, a cat, a bird, and a bearded dragon. In my free time I enjoy playing with all my pets, but I also enjoy expressing my artistic side. Oil painting, drawing and playing guitar are passions of mine

Brittany Trojahn

Hello everyone, my name is Brittany here to share a little about myself. It all started a few years ago when I decided to take night classes at Morris County School of Technology to become a Veterinarian Assistant. After hard work and dedication, I became state certified. My journey then led me to working for a couple of animal hospitals in the surrounding area. My passion has always been helping and taking care of animals. I also love interacting and playing with our furry friends. When I’m not working, I am home spending quality time with my daughter and Fiancé. One of my favorite things to do is spend time with my family whether that includes staying home watching movies with them or enjoying a nice sunny day at the park. I hope everyone enjoyed reading about me now I cant wait to meet your furry friend!

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