Dogs. They've always been a way of life for me.
Since I can remember I've always had dogs in my life. I'll always remember the Christmas when we got that adorable little beagle puppy, Tippy. Or when my family & I returned from a month long vacation to find balloons & a Congratulations! banners on the side of out house. We were shocked to find out that while we were gone our English Setter rescue had 8 little puppies waiting for us (it was at the moment we also discovered the importance of spaying/neutering your pets! Thanks Bob Barker). My parents let me keep one of those puppies. I named her Milkie & she was the first dog that I ever officially called "mine." Although she wasn't the best looking dog, she was all mine & I taught her how to jump rope (something to this day my brother still cannot do. hah hah, only kidding Charlie, I have to give you a hard time, I can't do it that often any more). Unfortinately fairly early into her life she developed a brain tumor & had to be euthenised. After Milkie came Ruger (a beautiful Brittany pup that was a birthday present from my brother), Ithica (an E. Setter pup I kept from the first litter I helped my dad plan & whelp), Queenie (a shetland sheepdog rescue who now lives with my parents), & now Skyler, my blue merle retired show rough collie. There were many other dogs in through my life but those were "mine". I remember my dad & I spent and entire summer building an agility course for Queenie & I.
Around the same time I had Milkie I also started my own pet sitting business. Our English Setter rescue, Jessie, also started a trend in our family - upland bird hunting. Although I have never hunted a day in my life I was hooked on breeding, whelping, raising pups, & helping my dad train bird dogs. I even spent a few of my summers in college in Columbus, Ohio working as a pet care specialist at a pet boarding resort. Since moving to Montana, I may not of had a dog to call my own, but they haven't taken a backseat in my life either. Working as kennel manager at the Iditarod mushing kennels has been quite an experience. The dogs are amazing, the experiences are amazing, & words can't describe climbing up a narrow path on Scalcaho Pass at midnight during a full moon on the back of a dogsled.
I've been an animal lover for as long as I can remember, but dogs have always held a very special place in my heart & soul.
Dog training has always been a passion for me as well. After years of trick and some obedience training, I spend this past summer back in Columbus, OH for dog trainers school. I spend my summer working not only towards becoming a dog trainer, but the best damn dog trainer. I studied under the best dog trainers in the country & took everything that I could away from my experience. After graduating I returned to Montana to change my degree from wildlife biology to business management & opened up my own private training business. However, only living in Missoula for a little over a year, I do not have many contacts outside of the University world. So I started a search to associate myself w/ a local business in the Missoula dog world. I went straight for the biggest & the best. If you want to be associated with someone in the dog world in Missoula it's Go Fetch!, a local dog botique and hiking company. I stopped by their main store one day to see if they were affiliated w/ any trainers in the area. They were not so I dropped off a training flyer to them for consideration to hang up in their store. While I was there I also learned from an employee that they were opening up a 3rd store soon that included a training facility & it is not being advertised that they were also looking for a trainer. Lucky me b/c I was also carrying around my resume, which I also dropped off for consideration. A week and a half later I was woken up by my phone ringing. The owner of Go Fetch!, Scott, was on the other end. He had jsut returned from vacation that morning, stopped by the store to get some stuff, & in a stack of notes left by the employees he came across my resume. He was so excited by it that he had to call me that instant & ask me to come down & talk to him about the head training position. Scott & I met up later that week & I officially interviewed for the position. I was offered position as Head Trainer at the new facility. Although Go Fetch is the place to go for almost anything dog in Missoula they are new to training.
Now enters a possible life changing moment. I've spent the past 4 weeks designing training programs and creating business plans for Go Fetch! Training. Tomorrow I once again sit down with Scott to discuss not only these plans but my salary as well. IF they can offer me something worth my while I will be dropping my status as a student to either part time or not at all. There are a lot of aspects that need to be considered before doing so, but a lot is going to come down to my meeting with Scott tomorrow to see where life may possibly be taking me now. So I'm asking that you keep your fingers crossed, wish my luck, pray for me, or do whatever it is that you do, to just do it. I could really use it about now. :-)
Skyler & I have been enjoying the beauty of Montana by hiking every chance we get. This opportunity could keep us here & hiking in beautiful Missoula for many years to come.