Meet the Founder

Updated: May 7

While we hold an independent and unbiased front here at ADEPT, we're also keen to maintain a personable approach. With that in mind, we thought it was only right you should know the people behind the blue and orange gradient - starting with our Founder.

I'm Chloé, the founder of ADEPT. I have been an assistance dog handler for almost a decade now, with both success and failure along the way.

It all began when I was 13 and found myself desperate for an alternative focus to my declining health. Upon discovering US-based Service Dog partnerships, I was determined to find if the same could be done here in the UK, except there was almost no literature to be found on the topic. While there has been some progress, largely this remains true today if the focus is on unbiased and unaffiliated information; encouraging me to start ADEPT and the rest is history.

My first AD prospect was a working line German Shepherd Dog. We were ultimately unsuccessful in our attempts due to a number of reasons. This perceived failure left me with my self-confidence decimated. Though I firmly believe that this situation gave me a greater appreciation for the trials and tribulations of assistance dog training, especially when the outcome isn't the desired one, enabling me to better empathize with handlers who face washing their dogs out.

Following my failure, I opted to train a 5-month-old Springer Spaniel named Ted who was much more naturally suited to his hopeful job. He reached a standard where he could be considered 'fully trained' at 2 years old and has worked by my side ever since; across many cities throughout the UK, enduring long hospital stays and attending major events with me.

However, as every AD handler knows, working lifespan is the downfall of us all. Preferring to be ahead of the curve, I opted to start training Ted's successor when he was 7. Enter my third AD prospect, Cinna, a 7-month-old working Cocker Spaniel. While Cinna is better suited than my first prospect, he does not possess the natural aptitude as Ted did. This presents me with a curious journey where success is far from guaranteed and my skills as a trainer are pushed to their limit. Moving forward, I am keen to dispel the stigma surrounding supposed failure in AD training, making my honesty around Cinna's progress somewhat stark compared to other perspectives commonly seen when following prospects training.

Outside of Assistance Dogs I have many other passions. I am a qualified Companion Animal Nutritionist, liaising with professionals on how nutritional changes can improve health and behavior. On a cathartic level, art has always been something that brought me clarity leading to me pursue becoming a pet portrait artist. I have been lucky enough to reach clients on a worldwide level, having sent portraits everywhere from Canada to Australia. Though most of my time is spent on pursuits aligned with ADEPT, whether that be working with the media on disability awareness, producing the ADEPT Podcast or managing client & trainer interactions to support more partnerships in achieving independence as I have been able to.

Long term I hope to be able to continue the work I already do but on a wider scale while maintaining a high level of quality to whatever I am working on. I truly believe that the best way to support people with disabilities is to empower and enable them with the skills and support they need to succeed in their own right. My hope is that ADEPT can be a part of that system for years to come, beginning on a UK level with the aim of expanding over time.