When I graduated high school my yearbook quote was “It must be so lonely to think that you have only somebody’s else’s life to live if they let you” from the Billy Joel song Blonde Over Blue. My eighteen year old self always knew I would work with dogs, but she also always pictured working for herself, as a kennel owner, professional handler, something like that. Looking back, every single person that I seriously and admired and considered a mentor was in that situation. When I graduated college and the reality of living in the city (not so conductive to a dog business) and not having money to invest in facilities hit hard, so I did what seemed like the next best thing and started a career in the service dog industry. Along the way I have met (and hopefully helped, at least most of the time) some really great people and mostly enjoyed what I did, but a part of me always knew I was living someone else’s dream.
This week everything changed, not exactly by choice but probably for the best. It’s time to pursue my own dream, which I now realize is a private training business. I’ll start by doing private in home training, with the hope that a facility will be part of the longer term plan. Honestly, after 17 years in the same job it’s nice to even have a long term plan. Yes, there are things (and people and dogs) I will miss, but not the drama, politics, and pressure that comes when you literally promise miracles to people. It will be liberating not to feel like I have to suppress a big part of myself to be accepted into a corporate culture where I really don’t fit or to face judgment for being a woman who is not maternal and nurturing. Dog training is what I know best and this is a chance to go back to doing that, on my schedule and in a way that works for my life.