I love training my dogs and helping clients train theirs. My little business is growing like a well tended garden: enjoyable and healthy, yet not overwhelming. But I have several clients who would like to do more with their dogs. Sooooo, I found myself wondering if it was time to offer some group classes… at my facility…
We have a barn. It’s a beautiful old barn, post and beam, pegged mortise and tenon joints, three stories high, well over 300 years old. The main door is a mammoth series of wooden slabs, nailed together and sliding open on old-fashioned cog rollers. As massive as the door is, it rolls to the side like a warm knife through butter. They built things to last back in those days. And this of course, is where I envision my classes to be held.
I am a planner, a do-er, and a realist. I knew it would not be easy to transform the barn into a facility. There is no heat, the lighting was minimal, the windows were tiny, and it had been used for storage for years. And that was the first step–calling friends and family, informing them of my plan. Responses were comical, if not honest… “OH damn! No, sorry! I meant–Congratulations! That’s wonderful! Wow…. ummm, what am I going to do with my stuff? I don’t even remember what stuff I have!!” Once the place was empty, we assessed the lighting situation and decided that more indoor lights were needed as well as bigger windows to let in natural light. We reached out to contractors and searched building sites, looking for pieces that were used or being replaced in order to keep costs down. I happened to come across some outdoor fixtures that reminded me of old-fashioned gas lamps that lined London streets before electricity. Lovely and reasonably priced, I had to have them.
I am fortunate that my husband is so able and clever when it comes to renovations. He installed two very large windows on either side of the small window and yet another large window on the opposite side. Sunshine now filled the interior. However, time was marching onward. It was taking longer than we had anticipated and we still had so much work to do! There was rubber flooring to install, a half-wall to build in order to create a foyer which would also act as a buffer, making sure dogs would be secure when the mammoth main door was open. I found myself moving back the scheduled date for my Open House… and beginning to worry. As much as I wanted to try out group classes, I knew I could not run them through the winter. And, I seriously doubted I would be inundated with clients clamoring for puppy head start, tricks, or basic manner classes. (Which would obviously provide the funding for some type of heating system… which we hadn’t even begun to consider, never mind discuss and research.) It was all beginning to feel overwhelming instead of enjoyable and exciting.)
Then, I received some news. It was news I have been waiting patiently to hear for three long years; it filled my heart with joy. It also added an entirely new dimension to my plans. And it made me stop and think that even though you plan, life still happens. Enzo’s epilepsy is a perfect example. So I sat down with my good news, my barn plans, my husband, and we talked.
I set goals; but it’s also reasonable to reassess, regroup, and reconsider. And that is just what I did. Life is full of the unexpected–I wouldn’t have it any other way. My group classes are coming, just not yet. Not this year. Instead, there’s going to be another change. This change will be just as exciting, enjoyable, and entertaining as holding group classes in my barn. This change is going to bring laughter and love to our household for years to come. And shenanigans. Yes, there will be shenanigans. Stay tuned my friends, stay tuned.