My name is Gordon Banks, and I am extremely fortunate to be part of the Dogtown SA family.
My original vocation choice was in architecture, and after qualifying in 1973, I began a long career working in private practice, larger corporate environments and finally as a partner in a small architectural/construction company.
I acquired my first GSD in the late 1970s and hence developed a huge passion for working with dogs as both a handler and then a trainer, particularly in working trials.
By 2010/11, I had become very frustrated and disillusioned with the construction industry, but the thought of changing careers so late in life was somewhat unnerving. Then a young lady, Tracy McQuarrie, appeared on the scene and offered me a position at a then fledging Dogtown. With much prodding, nudging and persuasion, amply assisted by my wife who worked in cahoots with her, I finally accepted the offer and began working at Dogtown.
I soon realised that working in animal rehabilitation required a lot more knowledge than I had and although the idea of going “back to school” at the age of 60 was pretty daunting, I enrolled with COAPE SA and qualified with an Advanced Diploma in Animal Behaviour. I then acquired full membership with the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers (IMDT) in the UK and became the first person in South Africa to be IMDT accredited.
I am now Head Behaviourist, a position which is as rewarding as it is challenging and never has the statement “every day is different” been more appropriate than in the domain of animal rehabilitation and helping misunderstood dogs to reach their true potential. The dedication displayed by the caregivers when working with the dogs, be it implementing a specific behavior modification program for a particular dog or simply taking the dogs on mass for a social walk, is truly fulfilling for me. I also have the added bonus of being the one who gets to take rehabilitated dogs to their forever homes when they get adopted.
In assisting with the building of the new Dogtown Centre in Hennops and the ongoing maintenance I guess I haven’t completely divorced myself from the realms of construction either – the best of both worlds for me.
Want to Work With Dogs? Here’s How To Get Started