Sharon Yildiz has performed in circuses, on stage and on TV on four continents with her trained pets. In addition to performing, her dogs have earned 96 titles in a dozen sanctioned dog sports, a level of skill and versatility accomplished by only a handful of trainers. Sharon earned her B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and her M.S.in Zoology/Animal Behavior from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which involved several exciting years studying and darting wild monkeys in Latin America. She currently works as the senior technical writer for a biotech software company.
Sharon uses only force-free, reward-based training methods to teach tricks, and has successfully taught dogs, cats, birds, fish, domesticated rats and horses. She is an avid horseback riding enthusiast who has ridden all over the world, including riding her own rescued horse across Costa Rica in 1993.
While living in Istanbul from 2007-2012, Sharon and her dog, cat, and parrot performed in two seasons of the “Got Talent” franchise, making it to the semi-finals. Her dogs have appeared in TV sitcoms, commercials for Coca Cola and Pedigree dog food, and print ads for Purina. Four of Sharon’s dogs worked as professional models for Hallmark Cards, where their photos have appeared for 13 years (and counting!) in the company’s ads, books, photo albums, ornaments, and over thirty different greeting cards.
Outside of her animal activities, Sharon enjoys reading, traveling, gardening, steampunk events, maintaining her foreign languages (Spanish, Portuguese and Turkish), building all sorts of things, and re-establishing a native plant community in the conservation forest behind her house.