Olivia’s clear love and interest for animals was motivated by the time spent at her grandparents; their home an unwitting sanctuary for those lost or unwanted. Olivia now lives with Tom the cat, lovingly inherited from her grandma.
In 2014 Olivia joined Sallie Bollans’ Stroke Rehab Dogs as a volunteer gaining insight into Animal Assisted Therapy and eventually assisting in the delivery of weekly sessions. This position indulged her creativity, developing fun new games for the stroke survivors and four-legged therapy assistants, that would meet individual rehabilitation goals.
In 2017 Olivia graduated from The University of the West of England with a first class honours degree in BSc Animal Science. This course covered all aspects including; behaviour, welfare, health and disease, nutrition and anatomy and physiology to name only a few. Having studied on site with a leading equine centre and working farm, this opened opportunities to assist with milking and veterinary care. Taking a particular interest in therapy, Olivia spent two years working as a student canine hydrotherapy assistant alongside her study. This led to a dissertation investigating the effects of a buoyancy jacket on canine heart rate while swimming. Findings of this investigation were presented at The Society for Experimental Biology 2018 Gothenburg conference.
It was a lecture Olivia attended with a leading researcher investigating the link between personality and welfare that caught her interest. Her determination to challenge current perception and encourage good welfare, made joining Sallie in concept training a natural step. As well as assisting with classes, Olivia offers 1:1 sessions and fulfils the role as designated head of IT; most recently helping to translate and develop virtual LCTE workshops. Outside of classes Olivia runs a 1:1 concept dog walking business.