Dana Garduno: Canine Compassion
By James Florence, Senior Writer
NOVATO — Dana Garduno always had an affection for dogs, but she hadn’t planned to make a career out of it until she moved next door to a kennel. “I was looking for a place to live and found one located on the same campus as Bridewell Hilltop Kennels,” she explains. “My sister had actually worked there, so I was familiar with the business. Considering how close I was and the fact that I loved animals, I thought working there would be a great fit. I applied and was hired, and I’ve spent the last few years working as a kennel assistant.”
Dana says her favorite part of her job is simply being around dogs. “I enjoy hanging out with our dogs, whether in play groups or one-on-one. Sometimes we get dogs that are too shy or aggressive to be in playgroups, and I make sure they get special attention.” Dana says she also gets a little help from her sidekick. “My dog, Perseus, is a wonderful companion for new dogs at the kennel. Any time a dog is unsure about being here and isn’t getting along with the other dogs, Perseus will befriend them.”
A resident of Novato, Dana says she appreciates the convenience of her location, as well as its pleasant natural setting. “I like being so close to where I work. Plus, it’s a really nice area to live—it’s up on a hill and surrounded by all kinds of trees and nature. It has a wonderful view and it’s very peaceful…other than the dogs barking.”
Outside of work, Dana spends most of her time with her own dogs, including Perseus, a dachshund-terrier mix, and Hercules, a terrier-Chihuahua mix. “I also foster dogs—currently, I’m fostering two miniature schnauzers,” she adds. “Not surprisingly, most of my time revolves around caring for them all.” While her dogs keep her busy, Dana also enjoys hobbies like painting and cooking.
As a pet boarding professional, Dana says while it’s good to be proactive and organized, she also needs to be able to adapt to unforeseen scenarios. “I’m always thinking ahead, but if something unexpected comes up, I do my best to put everything else on hold and deal with it. Working with animals is fun, but it can also get a little hectic and unpredictable, so it’s important to be flexible.”
When asked the first thing she’d do if she were to retire tomorrow, Dana says she’d take her animal involvement to the next level. “I would probably open an animal rescue. That’s always been a dream of mine, and hopefully I’ll get to achieve it someday. Of course, I’d also do some traveling, especially through Europe.”
Q: What was your first pet?
A: A miniature dachshund named Sparky.
Q: Coffee or tea?
Q: What kind of music do you like?
A: Oldies. I love Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole, and my favorite band is The Beatles.
Q: What was your favorite toy as a child?
A: A stuffed walrus named Mr. Wally.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for dessert?
A: Banana ice cream.