No matter how fiery your passion or love is, not many can summon up the courage to leave their career behind and take the leap of faith to pursue their dream profession.
Not Samy Valu Chandrasagaran, who is now living his dream life working as a dog behaviourist.
But he was not always living his dream life, not until recently. The 32-year-old had worked with a prominent IT company for 12 years, reaching even the top position of a sales director. Yet despite his success, he still felt that there is more he could do.
He said he was good at two things: cooking and training dogs. He later decided that his love for dogs is stronger, and five years ago left his high-flying job and made the career switch. He also sold his condominium unit and bought a semi-detached house in Puchong Utama instead, so he could bring his pet beagle home (pets are usually not allowed in condos).
Samy also expressed sympathy for pet dogs, saying that they looked miserable being chained or caged up. His wife, Priyal Gunasagaran suggested that he do something about it, which got him to offer dog-walking services to his neighbours who were unable to spend time with their pets.
Six months later, on a client’s suggestion, he decided to open a dog home boarding and daycare centre. But first, he wanted to get certification in the area of dog training.
In his quest to improve himself, he turned to the internet to enrol in courses such as Dog Psychology 101 run by Universal Class, and Understanding Dog Cognition and Emotion from Duke University, as there were no such courses being offered in Malaysia.
However, while his expertise ensured that dogs are well-behaved at his centre, the pets reverted to their bad behaviours while at home. That led Samy to make home visits in order to assess the dogs in their home environment as well as how they are being treated, then offering solutions to their owners.
And that’s how his first steps to becoming a dog behaviourist began.
“After doing that for one-and-a-half years, I told myself that if I wanted to be one of the best dog behaviourists around, I have to get my direct education from the best – Cesar Millan,” says Samy.
Fortunately for Samy, his wife Priyal was supportive of his endeavours and was even vital in connecting him to the best – Cesar Milan. She had found out the legendary dog behaviourist will be in Singapore on a talk show and encouraged him to try his luck getting in touch.
As it turned out, Samy not only got to meet his inspiration but also took part in and eventually became one of the eight finalists for the dog-training reality show Cesar’s Recruit: Asia, where winners will have the chance to be Cesar’s apprentice by helping them help dog owners find solutions to their pet problems.
Each week in the series Cesar’s Recruit: Asia, two contestants go head-to-head to show their understanding of dog psychology and dog rehabilitation skills as well as the ability to communicate their message to dog owners. One will be eliminated and the other will proceed to the next level. Those who make it to the final round will be given passage to Millan’s Dog Psychology Centre in California, the United States, and ultimately the winner will be crowned Cesar’s Asian recruit.
This story is first published on Star2