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Graham Bloem was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and has had an affinity with animals all his life, although his true passion is for dogs. At age five, he immigrated to Toronto, Canada with his family, but enjoyed frequent trips back to South Africa. His experiences in wildlife settings instilled a dream of one day working with animals. From Canada, he immigrated to the United States obtaining US citizenship and he now resides in sunny San Diego, CA with his amazing family (wife Kyrié, two wonderful children, and dogs Lucy and Juno, a Heinz 57-rescue sweetheart and a giant Bernese Mountain Dog).
In 2002 Graham graduated with honors as an Animal Behavior College Certified Dog Trainer (ABCDT).
Over the next ten years, Graham worked as a dog trainer and instructor for a number of shelters, adoption agencies and kennels including his own company West Coast K9. Then, in 2012 Graham started a non-profit “Shelter to Soldier™” (http://specialtydogtraining.com/shelter-to-soldier/), which provides service dogs to military personnel.
The aim is to train service companions for military men and women battling post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or other psychological or physical ailments from their service in Iraq, Afghanistan or other active areas. In addition, this program will change the lives of many dogs, rescuing them from their uncertain lives in shelters and instilling in them the meaningful opportunity to become lifetime companions for our struggling service men and women.