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.

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