Ali Taylor works as the Head of Canine Behaviour and Training for Battersea. In this article, she tells us all about her incredible job and what she gets up in her day-to-day role.
My name is Ali Taylor, and I am Head of Canine Behaviour and Training at Battersea. I have worked at Battersea for almost 30 years. It’s still the best job ever. I feel so lucky to be doing a job so worthwhile and I still get happy butterflies walking into work.
I have worked at Battersea for almost 30 years. It’s still the best job ever.
I usually start a typical morning between 7 and 8am. Not everyone knows this, but there are three different Battersea centres, and I work across all of them. This means on any given day I could be at our London centre, out with members of the team at Battersea Old Windsor, or at our centre at Battersea Brands Hatch. Sometimes I make it to multiple centres on the same day.
Wherever I am, though, I usually start my morning catching up on emails. I get lots of them, so it pays to start them early.
As Head of Canine Behaviour and Training, I’m lucky to head up a brilliant team of four managers and 20 canine behaviour trainers and advisors across all three sites, and together we deal with a variety of different things day to day. This means that next on my morning to-do list is catching up with all of them, either in person or remotely.
Wherever I am, I will then walk through the kennels to make sure I’m aware of what dogs are in and how they’re all doing and say hello to any new faces, provided they’ve settled in and are happy and comfortable seeing people. From there on, my day becomes very varied, and no two days are ever the same.
There might be a meeting with other teams from across the organisation, or a catch-up to plan the week ahead, making sure we have enough staff to cover different areas and to work with all the lovely dogs in our care. Regardless of all the other work we have on, the most important thing is to make sure we have a plan for every dog that comes into our care, and a clear plan for any extra socialisation - either training with people, or other dogs, or any specific behavioural work that they might need or benefit from during their time with us.
As a team, we might then be running some training for Battersea staff and volunteers. This could be anything dog-related including body language, general care and welfare, or behaviour tricks and training. We also work with the Battersea Academy team to run sessions with staff from rescue centres all over the world, both in person and online.
I was on Holby City a few years ago, and I even had a starring role in the Beano!
While that’s happening, I might be filming somewhere on site at one of our centres, either with the lovely Paul O’Grady and the ITV crew for Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs (or POGDOGS as we affectionately call it) or for any number of other media requests. This could be on camera or giving quotes and comments to journalists, either in writing or on podcasts and radio broadcasts. You might have seen me or other members of the Battersea team pop up in all sorts of places over the years, thanks to our brilliant Communications and Marketing teams. I was on Holby City a few years ago, and I even had a starring role in the Beano!
As well as caring for the dogs on site and sharing our expertise with people internally, we also offer support and advice to the general public who might need help in solving a variety of different dog-related problems. My team and I deal with requests and questions that come in, but we also work with our Content Team to create advice articles and videos which we publish online on the Battersea website and our YouTube channel, for all pet owners to access 24/7.
I recently calculated that I’ve fostered over 1,000 dogs and cats in my time at Battersea, and it’s just as rewarding as my day job.
As if I couldn’t get enough of working with animals on site, I also now own five Battersea rescue dogs and usually always have a foster dog at home too, who are all there to greet me at the end of the day. I recently calculated that I’ve fostered over 1,000 dogs and cats in my time at Battersea, and it’s just as rewarding as my day job.
There really is nothing like working with or caring for a dog who has come into a Battersea centre feeling scared and unsure and then getting to see them skipping out the door to a happy, loving new home. I’ve said it before, but my job is the best job in the world, and seeing dogs get second chances and the love they deserve really can’t be matched.
The Battersea Way
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Or begin pawing through our dog-friendly holiday cottages and treat yourself and your four-pawed best pal to a break together.
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