At Patrick’s Pet Care, we believe in hiring from the communities where we serve and in investing in our people. In addition to paying everyone a DC living wage, one way we do this is by providing professional development opportunities for staff to develop knowledge and skills that can advance their careers and allow us to provide the latest science-based, fear-free, force-free service to the animals in our care.
You have to pay rent and feed yourself, so you don’t always have the opportunity to pursue your dream. And with Patrick’s, I was able to do it and have the opportunity to go to some of the best dog training programs around. It’s honestly been amazing. I don’t think I would have had the chance to do this myself.
In Their Own Words
Patrick's Pet Care offers financial support for starting a career in dog training or grooming. When you join Patrick's Pet Care as an Apprentice, we'll pay for your training to become a certified force-free dog trainer or certified fear-free groomer.
Take a moment to hear what this opportunity has meant to our Apprentices, and how it has helped accelerate their careers.
Meet Our Past Scholarship Recipients
Emma has been an artist since she could talk, and for a long time she was set on becoming a college art professor. While working on her Master's degree, she decided to get a job just for pleasure and joy. That's how she found Patrick's Pet Care.
Emma started as a dog walker. Today, she is the General Manager of Montessori and Fear-Free Grooming. The most rewarding part of her job has been seeing the change and growth in the team that she leads. "To watch my team grow, work so hard, just to see my team having so much fun at work, is such a rewarding thing," explains Emma.
Thanks to a scholarship from Patrick's Pet Care, Emma became a certified force-free dog trainer through the Victoria Stilwell Academy. "It didn't cost me a dime," shares Emma, "and that was groundbreaking to my work with our dogs in our program."
She has also received scholarships to receive training at Peaceable Paws with Pat Miller and to attend the Paragon School of Pet Grooming.
The best part about working for Patrick's Pet Care? "Working for Patrick," says Emma. "As a dog walker, assistant manager, and general manager, my voice was always heard, I was always respected."
"I have a job that doesn't feel like work to me. It is hard work, yes, but because of the mutual respect, the diversity of the team, the fun that we have with the dogs, it is by far the best and most pleasurable employment I have ever had."
As a kid, she would often see her father watching Animal Cops: Houston and was mesmerized by the passion the animal rescuers had for their work. That’s when she knew she wanted to work with animals.
She first joined Patrick’s Pet Care in 2017 as a dog walker and day care assistant. Recently, Jerniece had the opportunity to enroll in Grooming School at Hagerstown Community College thanks to a scholarship from Patrick’s Pet Care, which fully covers the cost of her attendance. She is “absolutely ecstatic” about the opportunity. She one day hopes to work with show dogs, and the skills she’s gaining from her pet grooming classes take her one step closer to her dream. Today, she is the manager of the Brookland location’s Dog Montessori School program and one of Patrick Pet Care’s official Dog Groomer Apprentices.
Her favorite part of working at Patrick’s Pet Care is the transformation she’s able to witness in the dogs that come in for day care and grooming. “We get a nervous, scared dog that is absolutely terrified but the owner is dedicated to socializing their dog,” says Jerniece, “and you slowly begin to see that dog grow into its personality. Oh man—it’s a proud feeling because you helped in this dog’s development.”
Fun Fact: Jerniece boasts an encyclopedic knowledge of dogs and can name over 120 different types of dog breeds by memory.
After moving to Maryland in 2012, Andrew attended Montgomery College to complete his certification in Veterinary Assistance. He found Patrick’s Pet Care while looking for jobs within the animal care industry.
Andrew first joined Patrick’s Pet Care in 2017 as a Dog Day Care specialist. Recently, he had the opportunity to take courses at the Paragon School of Pet Grooming and Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training & Behavior and become a Fear-Free Certified Dog Groomer. Patrick’s Pet Care fully covered the cost of his education. “It was wonderful to have the opportunity to take these classes,” said Andrew.
Andrew says the courses have gone a long way toward helping him properly care for dogs. “They talked about things that they didn’t talk about at my college,” Andrew explained, “It’s given me an opportunity to learn everything I can about dog behavior and how to communicate with them well.”
Before joining Patrick's Pet Care, Dakota earned his Bachelor's in Psychology with the intention of becoming a marriage therapist. After graduation, he took some time off. That's when he stumbled on Patrick's Pet Care.
Dakota joined Patrick's Pet Care as a dog walker in 2017. Over the last five years, he's been a dog walker, dog day care teacher, and manager of the Columbia Heights and Brookland facilities.
Recently, Patrick's Pet Care offered Dakota a position as an Enrichment Dog Walking Specialist and Apprentice Dog Trainer, which comes with a scholarship to cover all of the costs of becoming a certified force-free dog trainer.
"I'm the happiest with where I'm at right now, for sure," shares Dakota. "I love to have fun. And I feel like I'm having a lot of fun whenever I'm out with the dogs, I just love being outside and having a one-on-one connection with a dog for an extended period of time."
Dakota eventually hopes to launch his own dog walking business outside of DC, and is grateful to have had the opportunity to train under highly regarded experts in the industry.
After graduating from high school in Georgia in 2016, Adrianna returned to her hometown of Washington, DC to enroll in nursing school. That summer, she started part-time at Patrick’s Pet Care (PPC) as a dog day care attendant at the Columbia Heights location. Dog Day School had not even been invented yet.
“When I started at Patrick’s [Pet Care], I had no clue what I wanted to do. I was in nursing school, which I hated.” Adrianna eventually quit nursing school to work at Patrick’s Pet Care full-time. Through Patrick’s Pet Care’s scholarship program, Adrianna had the opportunity to study under some of the best dog trainers in the industry, including Victoria Stilwell and Pat Miller, ultimately earning her fear-free, force-free certifications and becoming Assistant Manager of Dog Montessori School at the Brookland location.
Through these experiences, Adrianna realized she wanted to pursue a career in animal welfare. She credits her experience at PPC for helping her realize this was even possible. “Patrick showed me you can work with animals and do what you want to, because so many people had told me that I couldn’t.”
Four years after starting at PPC, Adrianna is now pursuing a degree in Animal Welfare. She says that the best part about her experience at PPC was, “the little family you create there. Seeing the way everyone supports one another. And the bonds, and the understanding – you don’t see that in a lot of work places. It is a family that you don’t know you need, but you definitely need.”
Where she is now: Adrianna is now pursuing her career in animal welfare at the Humane Rescue Alliance.
Rebeca grew up surrounded by many animals, from cats and dogs to parrots and cows. She originally planned to study international business, but had always been curious about pursuing an animal-related career.
After a close friend suggested she look at Patrick's Pet Care, she applied for an opening as a dog walker. Rebeca walked dogs for about three years. "I loved dog walking, loved all the dogs I was with every day," shares Rebeca.
Impressed with Rebeca's work, Patrick asked Rebeca if she would be interested in becoming either a dog trainer or groomer. "Grooming caught my attention," says Rebeca, "and I think that was one of the best decisions ... I'm very grateful for the opportunities."
Rebeca initially attended the Paragon School of Grooming on a scholarship from Patrick's Pet Care to become a grooming tech. Later, she received a second scholarship to train to become a stylist.
"One of my favorite things is being able to help dogs with bad grooming history," shares Rebeca, "and help them overcome their fears and have a better experience."
Rebeca says working at Patrick's Pet Care has been an amazing career and experience. "Every day is just great—you get along with everyone, every one is like family to you. We work as a team, which is amazing," explains Rebeca. "I'm very, very grateful for the opportunities."
Although she’s always known she wanted to work with animals, she could never quite settle on a specific career path. Then she found Patrick’s Pet Care and discovered her love for dog training.
In October 2019, Patrick’s Pet Care enrolled Nikita in Peaceable Paws Dog Training—and she immediately knew she’d found her calling. “I fell in love with having the little lightbulb click in their heads,” she explains. Working with the dogs, she observed how they would go from “I don’t know what you’re asking me” to “I’m doing what you ask, can I have this cookie now?”
She’s now enrolled at the Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training & Behavior, thanks to a second scholarship from Patrick’s Pet Care, to advance her dog training and behavior skills. “For me, this opportunity has really been amazing,” shares Nikita. “First of all, honestly, monetarily—it’s not always possible to pursue your dreams when you can’t always afford everything. You have to pay rent and feed yourself, so you don’t always have the opportunity to pursue your dream. And with Patrick’s, I was able to do it and have the opportunity to go to some of the best dog training programs around. It’s honestly been amazing. I don’t think I would have had the chance to do this myself.”
Employee Centered & Dog Centered
For the employees to be dog centered, we believe the management needs to be employee centered. If we take good care of the employees, they'll be able to provide the best care for the dogs.