One in all Bellingham’s greatest celebrities on this age of social media and influencers isn’t a extremely paid professional athlete or star of display or stage. Actually, it’s truly two people—a canine and her human—identified merely as Mary & Secret.
Mary Peters has owned Secret, an Australian shepherd, since December 2014 and their Instagram account, @my_aussie_gal, now has 438,000 followers. Movies present Mary and Secret performing spectacular methods and interacting sweetly. Lots of their movies have been picked up and shared on Twitter and Fb, in addition to the favored web site The Dodo. “My movies have been proven on completely different TV packages right here and in different nations,” Mary says, “reminiscent of Japan, Taiwan, and Australia.”
Followers don’t at all times notice that
Secret can be a working service canine. “I skilled her myself to assist me
negotiate conditions which might be troublesome for me due to autism,” says Mary.
Mary, searching for a wise canine with
much less vitality than a border collie, picked an Australian shepherd. “I believe I
simply lucked out with Secret,” she says. “She’s good and targeted however not
crazily excessive vitality like different Aussies.”
Secret got here house with Mary when she
was only a pet. “There have been no puppies out there domestically on the time I
was trying,” Mary says. “I discovered Secret at Hisaw Aussies in Oregon.”
Early Instagram photos from 2015 present
a younger teen getting her first canine. You’ll be able to then scroll by means of a gaggle of cute
and typical pet photos. Mary reached out in her posts to ask others methods to
practice her new pup and shortly Secret developed new expertise, reminiscent of sitting and
portray photos. In recent times, these skills have grown exponentially and
really set her aside, making her memorable to of us far past the shores of
Secret snowboards. She dances. She
goes on Easter egg hunts. She builds snowmen. She performs piano, the drums,
and guitar—though she might not be becoming a member of any bands within the close to future. She’s particularly good at yoga. Secret appears
to essentially take pleasure in merely being with Mary…and Mary along with her.
Followers and canine lovers across the
world wait expectantly to see what the 2 of them will do subsequent.
“My sister and I did Irish Dancing with
a homeschooling group organized at Northwest
Ballet,” she says. “I don’t do it anymore, however we had quite a lot of enjoyable. That’s
clearly the place I received the thought to strive
Irish dancing with Secret.”
Mary has lived in Bellingham most of her
life, her household having moved right here from Seattle when she was three years previous. Homeschooled,
Mary has been a part of Whatcom Neighborhood Faculty’s Operating Begin program for the
final couple of years—and he or she and Secret additionally do that collectively.
Apart from coaching Secret, Mary
enjoys finding out languages, particularly Japanese and just lately Chinese language and Korean. She
plans to main in Japanese/Asian research in faculty and hopes to double main
What misconceptions do folks have
about Mary and Secret?
“The misconceptions I’ve seen are
the beliefs that I have to punish Secret to get her to do sure issues,” Mary
says. “It looks like most individuals consider that you would be able to’t reliably practice a canine
with out utilizing some sort of punishment.”
Mary makes use of a technique known as progressive
reinforcement, a time period created by San Diego-based canine coach Emily Larlham. Go to
her YouTube channel, “Kikopup,” to
peruse greater than 350 free in-depth canine coaching tutorials.
“Progressive reinforcement is
positive-oriented coaching with out using bodily or psychological
intimidation,” Mary explains. “For instance, I reward Secret’s fascinating
conduct and forestall undesirable conduct.”
She says it will take too lengthy to
clarify how she trains Secret for sophisticated methods reminiscent of enjoying piano or
sledding, however Mary typically trains in very small, incremental steps over time
to show Secret a brand new ability.
There’s little doubt the connection
between Mary and Secret runs very deep, and followers are fortunate to have the ability to
witness it by way of their movies. Says Mary: “I believe that my autism offers me a
higher understanding of how animals see the world.”