Four-legged friend changes her life!
Jee Hae Choe was born and raised in American Samoa in the village of Faleniu, and at 17 she graduated from Tafuna High School where she joined the United States Marine Corps right after.
In the year 2012 she was honorably discharged and went to college to pursue a degree in business management.
“My only goals at the time was finding job security and hopefully owning my own business eventually,” says Choe in a Samoa News interview.
She added, “I adopted my first puppy name DannyBoy in 2013, hoping that the responsibility of caring for another would help pull me out of severe depression. I was homesick, lonely, and miserable. DannyBoy has taught me how to live each day in the moment to find joy in the little things in life, and helped me integrate myself back into society.”
Jee Hae said this has become an inspiration to her because veteran suicide rates have increased dramatically over the last few years, and she was diagnosed with major depression and generalized anxiety disorder early 2014.
“Training my puppy provided a measure of peace, and as we grew together, he eventually became my service dog. With him by my side, it took some years until I finally felt confident and willing enough to put myself out in the world, to meet new people and make new friends.”
She later moved to Florida graduating from Eastern Florida State College in 2016 with her 2-year degree and has started attending Florida Institute of Technology to pursue a degree in Clinical Psychology.
“I took time off from school to pursue a full-time career as a dog trainer, and it has been a blessing since. I enjoyed helping owners train their dogs, and many of my own clients have become family to me,” she said.
Choe said all she needed was her willingness to learn, a basic understanding of Behavioral Analysis and Psychology, an open mind, good problem-solving skills and creativity.
The Marine Corps helped her hone those skills as well. She started out fostering dogs for rescues to build her experience, and then in 2015 became an apprentice with Ambassador Bullies Dog Training in Florida. She became the Lead Trainer of the Board and Train program in 2016 and early 2017, where dogs are boarded at her home and trained for a period of 1-5 weeks.
“When the time felt right, I decided to branch off independently, to open my open dog training business: Miss Jee’s Dog Boarding and Rehabilitation, Inc.”
Choe’s website is www.samoandogtrainer.com , she said to Samoa News, “Samoans are fiercely proud of their culture and I carry that with me everywhere I go. I love my Korean ethnicity as well, but I was born and raised Samoan, and I wanted to make sure everyone knew where I’m from.”
The last time she visited home was in 2014. “I was saddened to see how overpopulated our streets were with stray dogs, and how they were often mistreated. I found out that we now have our own Dog Rescue “Alofa mo Meaola”, doing their best to educate our people about the importance of spaying/neutering, and fighting to change our legislation regarding animal cruelty.”
She concluded, “I love seeing childhood friends traveling abroad and making their mark out in the world. This is my mark, and I intend to use it to help open the hearts and minds of our people about animal cruelty and abuse, as well as mental illness and suicide awareness.”
Miss Jee Hae Choe will be opening her business this weekend in helping dog owners and dogs. To find more information or learn more about Miss Jee visit www.samoandogtrainer.com