Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sometimes in the winds of change, we find our true direction

Last weekend at the agility trials, there were a few conversations about the difficult times - losing jobs, financial adjustments and juggling in order to be able to do some of the things we still enjoy.
I lost my corporate job in 2002 as a senior software engineer after I took a chance and left my job of 20+ years to join a small start up company in the telecommunications industry. I had always been a valued hard working employee, so the news that my job was being cut (along with many others) felt like my world had collapsed at the time. But the tears and the major adjustment passed quickly as I felt a little better about the change as each day passed. I was sleeping 8-10 hours every night and getting up refreshed in the morning. I didn't want to admit to myself at the time that I actually felt relief and even joyful not having to be anywhere that I didn't want to be each day. 
My previous employer hired me as a part time contractor, working 3 days a week.  So, I had Mondays and Fridays off and instead of working 10-12 hour days on a salary, I worked 8 hour days on an hourly rate. I started a small dog training business, Endzone Dog Sports, Inc., giving private obedience training lessons and some herding lessons during the daytime to help pay for my dog expenses and entry fees.  After a little over a year of contracting, I decided to take a break from software development and focus on what makes me happy - training dogs training people to train dogs. And I've never looked back.
Although, I no longer do herding lessons (I didn't want to keep the extra dog broke sheep that were useful in teaching new people & dogs herding), I love the obedience lessons that I do each week.  My students are incredible teachers for me as they allow me to find creative ways for the dogs to learn various skills. When students don't understand something I've described or they have questions concerning the details, they ask for clarification and that helps me to continue to develop better ways of describing the process. I love challenges in training and even more so, I love it when a student decides to put their trust in me to help them with a handling or training issues.  
So, I just want to thank all the devoted students and friends that have been training with me - some just a short time and some for a very long time.  You guys have kept the wind in my sails and I can't even begin to tell you how much I enjoy working with each and every one of you and your wonderful dogs.

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