Hello, I'm Julie Forbes
One of my favorite things to teach is the art of presence. Dogs are masters at reading us. Elements of presence include energy, emotional state, posture, and quality of movement. Modern society is noisy: input, output, speed. We devise ways to communicate faster and faster, at a greater distance from each other. Dogs’ language is the opposite of this. Working with dogs is an opportunity to unplug from the noise and chaos of modern society. These magnificent beings invite us to meet them in the present moment; wise are those who accept the invitation.
Dogs are dynamic and perceptive in ways that we are only beginning to understand. The longer I am steeped in the world of dogs, the stronger my drive becomes to learn from them. We’re really just getting started.
When I work with a dog, I am the student. The most important aspect of communication is listening. I listen to what dogs tell me with their energy, behavior, and appearance. I listen to what their humans say, both verbally and non-verbally. Our relationship with dogs is intimate.
The magic of our primal connection can be found at the intersection of dogs meeting our needs and us meeting the needs of dogs. It is not a one-way street. I have learned that helping people have harmonious relationships with their dogs begins with this awareness and reciprocity.
Dogs have led me on the most amazing journey. It seems that my love for these creatures dictated almost every salient turn on my life’s path. You could say that my affinity for dogs is a result of a combination of genetics and environment. My parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and great grandparents all owned dogs and loved dogs deeply. In my living room hangs a painting my parents had commissioned to memorialize my childhood dog, Nukie – a German shepherd/Husky mix, with a heart that was as wild for human adoration as it was for hunting vermin.
For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by dogs. In high school, time spent not socializing or playing sports was spent reading books about dog behavior. After graduating high school, I left my home in Massachusetts and headed to the University of Vermont where I earned a degree in Animal Science (1999). It was at a doggy daycare in Vermont that I was introduced to my first dog that I had as an adult, Chewy. While my address changed many times in the first couple of years in the Pacific Northwest, I always felt at home with my big, sweet boy, Chewy, by my side. In 2002, I completed an apprenticeship in dog training and behavior. I later accepted an offer to run this apprentice program – an experience I am so grateful for.
Eager and ready to march to the beat of my own drum, I opened the company Sensitive Dog, in 2004. It was through Sensitive Dog that I met my brilliant wife Darcie Boltz (2008); an equally dog-obsessed soul who now owns and operates Sensitive Dog with me. In 2009, I began The Dog Show with Julie Forbes – An Evolved Perspective on Life with Dogs, which aired for ten years on KKNW AM 1150. I produced and hosted close to 500 episodes; and archived the show as a podcast. Darcie remembers telling a fellow dog enthusiast about The Dog Show podcast and the lady replied, “Julie is doing a pod what?" These were early days! Through The Dog Show, I met the most incredible people. We shared in-depth conversations, and a commitment to changing the world for dogs through understanding them, advocating for them, and celebrating them.
Over the years, I’ve worked with many inspiring non-profits, have had a blast emceeing and promoting countless dog events and have been blessed with the most amazing mentors.
Then there are the dogs… Hundreds and hundreds of glorious dogs who have taught me so much about themselves, myself, and my fellow human beings. Dogs have been my teachers and they have been my angels.
The journey continues, and I am so glad you’re here.
Dogs are the best.