Tom Shelby

Healing with Animals, Dog Trainer

Religion-wise, I was born a Jew, baptized Catholic, and raised Protestant, so I figure I’m covered. I was incredibly lucky to have met a girl named Jaye in my sophomore year in college who became my girlfriend, wife, and mother of our 3 kids, Tara, Kerry, and Brett.

I’m grateful beyond words that Tara is an amazingly excellent and compassionate Doctor, Kerry a tremendous advocate and teacher of the deaf and hearing impaired, and Brett an award-winning teacher, and dog training behaviorist. Also enormously grateful for still having beautiful, smart Jaye as my equal partner. Not wanting to beat it to death, but I’m also extremely grateful for my real life’s work, dog training. It was Mark Twain who said, “If you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life!”. I got paid to create harmony in households with unruly dogs, basically, to play intelligently with dogs. It was pretty serious with over 800 training appointments a year, all by word of mouth. Clients ranged from over 100 celebrities to a freebie for a homeless person with two dogs. Granted, there were times Jaye said to me, “Why couldn’t you have been a jeweler and brought that business home instead of these dogs!?”

In addition to my endeavors at creating family/dog harmony training, there was another serious aspect to my life involving dogs, K-9 Search, and Rescue(SAR), which I did on a voluntary basis for over 20 years. As you are reading this you’re dropping 40,000 dead skin cells a minute, and I taught my Doberman, Michelle, to find missing people by tracking and air scenting. She found 2 people alive, and some not. My first book, Michelle and Me, were true stories of searches we were on. My next Doberman, Mikey, tracked a woman 11 miles, with me on the other end of a 40 ft. leash.

Enhancing the social contract man has made with dogs as an occupation, causes me to look in the mirror and see “Mr. Lucky”. Add to that the fact that I like to write, and for the last 6 years have had a column in the Martha’s Vineyard Times called “Ask the Dog Charmer”. Yeah, I live in a gingerbread cottage in Martha’s Vineyard. It’s like living in Disney Land. And lastly, my book, “Dog Training Diaries”, which came out in November, to my astonishment and joy, was selected as Editors Choice by Modern Dog Magazine. Perhaps this short Bio should be re-titled– TARA’S DAD, GRATEFUL.

Tom’s Philosophy of Medicine

Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight, or night? Why?

If you could choose your age forever, what age would you choose and why?

Which is your favorite way to dance: with others or alone?

What superhero do you most resonate with and why?

If you were a vegetable, which one would you be and why?

If you were to geek out on something, what would you geek out on?