By VanEastVet, on Wednesday, October 28th, 2015
VanEastVet: On your site – and on some of your marketing material as well – you say Proudly Serving Delightful and Difficult Dogs Since 2005. What does that mean?
Jo Dworschak: The reason I started the business is because I had adopted a German Shepherd cross that was beyond a handful, and then I ended up getting into a car accident on Commercial and Broadway and dislocated my shoulder so I couldn’t walk him.
VanEastVet: When was this?Jo: That was probably like 2004. I couldn’t walk him because I had my son and him, and I couldn’t push the buggy and walk the dog at the same time so it was really a challenge, and I couldn’t find a dog walker that would take him because he had leash aggression. I was going to go into school to do graphic design because I have a background in that and in marketing, and realized that nobody was willing to take dogs that have behavioural issues and most dogs that were being adopted have behavioural issues, so I wanted to be able to help with that. So that’s why I started the business.
VanEastVet: Were you trained in that sort of thing, or did you become trained, or did you teach yourself?
Jo Dworschak: I have a background in horses. I used to break in horses so I have a background in working with animals, and trust means training. I ended up hiring a trainer, Christine Reynard, to help me get used to dogs, because I was actually afraid of them.
VanEastVet: While you owned one you were afraid of them?
Jo Dworschak: I was always afraid of them. When I moved to Commercial Drive there were so many dogs I had to get used to them. Which is really stupid, because I had horses but I was afraid of dogs.
VanEastVet: Why do you think that was?
Jo Dworschak: Because I was attacked by a dog when I was a kid. Got a nice little indent in the top of my head. (pointing to scar)
VanEastVet: How old were you?
Jo Dworschak: Probably six or seven I think? It was the neighbours, they had an Irish Setter that pushed me down the stairs. I got up and there was just blood all over my face. (laughing)
VanEastVet: (laughing) That is traumatic!
Jo Dworschak: It was really traumatic, but because I have an understanding of animal behaviour now I really love helping people to not let their dogs become like that, and helping people who are afraid of dogs not be afraid of dogs. Understanding that there is a rational fear to anything, but maybe across the street if someone walking their Cocker Spaniel, that is not logical. My fear was not that bad, but some people definitely are.
VanEastVet: That’s amazing you got over that, that’s pretty awesome.
Jo Dworschak: I love getting over fears, that’s a big thing of mine.
VanEastVet: What’s another fear you got over?
Jo Dworschak: I shouldn’t have this on record but I do stand-up comedy, that was a fear of mine.
VanEastVet: That’s a big one.
Jo Dworschak: Yeah, that’s terrifying. Really easy to either succeed or fail at, you never really know what’s going to work. Worst case, nobody laughs.
VanEastVet: Yeah, what I keep hearing, that’s what everybody says. That you have to find out for yourself that it’s not the worst thing in the world.
Jo Dworschak: That’s the worst case. I do storytelling as well.
VanEastVet: Do you consider those in the same realm? Or is your stand up one thing and your storytelling another?
Jo Dworschak: It’s the same realm as in you’re learning to share information with people in a way that’s entertaining, and trying to get them to like you, which can be a little bit challenging. The reason I got into doing storytelling was because I wanted to get better at speaking to groups of people because I have some stage fright. Then I decided to try stand up to get better at storytelling and now I do both.
VanEastVet: How often do you perform?
Jo Dworschak: Three times a week.
VanEastVet: Where at?
Jo Dworschak: Wherever they let me! (laughing)
VanEastVet: So you think more of your clients are coming to you with delightful dogs or difficult dogs?
Jo Dworschak: Difficult dogs. The owners understand that there is a solution to deal with different behavioural issues, and so I take on the dogs that have behavioural issues. To be able to go hiking, that exercise and socialization, that really does take the curb off of behavioural issues. It’s the same thing for people: if you’re depressed it’s really hard to get out and walk, but getting out and walking really does help.
VanEastVet: It is the best thing you can do.
Jo Dworschak: It really is the best thing you can do. Which is why I love my job.
VanEastVet: Is it great to be able to say that?
Jo Dworschak: Yeah.
East Van Dogs proudly provides walking, hiking, daycare, and training for delightful and difficult dogs in all of East Vancouver. Their hours are 8 to 6, Monday to Friday. You can contact East Van Dogs through their site, their Facebook page, or at 778-773-1022.