Back To Wisconsin
Many of you will read the title of this post and think, "What? You're back already?" I thought the same thing when I made my decision to move back to Wisconsin. I felt silly for changing my mind so quickly, and it honestly made me want to hide under a rock until everyone forgot I had moved in the first place. A few people helped me realize that it is okay to change plans (again) and that it is better to move back now rather than halfway through the semester when it is too late to make alternate arrangements. But let me explain.
There are multiple reasons why I decided Bergin is not the right place for me right now. As much as I love dogs, I don't know for sure that I want to limit my career to only working with dogs. Because of this, I decided it would be better to get a more general major first and perhaps get a training certificate later on to give me more career options throughout my life. The other reasons are slightly more personal, so I won't get into that. I am happy with my decision to move back home even though I already miss California and can't wait to go there again someday.
The next most common question I have been getting (after "why?") is "what's next?" I am headed back to UW-River Falls next week to start my junior year. I am lucky enough to get to participate in ADEPT again this year! I found a place in town that is even letting me house one of the ADEPT dogs. I changed my major to Creative Writing and will be minoring in Professional Writing. I have always enjoyed writing (I was that weird kid who did all their English homework first because I thought it was fun), so it is only fair for me to chase my other passion for awhile. I don't know exactly what I want my career to look like yet, but I still have time. I imagine I would enjoy freelance writing or maybe even writing a column for a newspaper. I still want dogs to be a part of my life, so perhaps I could teach evening training classes eventually as well!
The past year has been a roller coaster. It has been harder on me than I care to admit. Decision making has never been something I particularly enjoy, and this year was filled with some big decisions, some of which ended up not going exactly how I imagined they would. Even so, I wouldn't have it any other way.
All these experiences taught me a lot. I feel as if I have matured and learned a lot about life in the "real world" as adults have been calling it for most of my life. I lived alone (like very alone, with my closest family member being 14 hours away). I spent three days driving 30 hours back home with no company besides Theo (who was a champ through it all). I learned humility. I learned that you might as well ask because the worst someone can say is no. I learned that God works in mysterious ways, and sometimes it takes a journey to discover what you truly need.
I hope this was an acceptable description of the whys, the hows, the wheres, and everything else you could care to know. Thank you for joining me on this roller coaster of a year, and as always, I am excited to see where I am headed next. Remember, life is about the journey. Until next time, stay pawsome.
First Week At BCCS
This past week, I attended a mock client training at Bergin College of Canine Studies. During this week, the students learned the commands that Bergin uses and how to work with Bergin dogs. Our first day, we were there for ten and a half hours! It was a LONG day of learning after being on summer break for the past couple months.
The first couple days we rotated between the dogs, so the staff could watch us interact with the different personalities of the dogs. They already had a general idea of the best dogs for us to work with because of the social styles surveys the students had their family and friends fill out before we even got there. The photo to the left is Noosa, one of the dogs I got to work with.
I had a little bit of a leg up since I had worked with Service Dogs in the past. It helped that we used a lot of the same cues in ADEPT that they do at Bergin. Even though both programs are training Service Dogs and using similar cues, that doesn't mean they were exactly the same. One of the biggest challenges at Bergin is that they don't spay and neuter the dogs until they are around two years old. This leads to the boys being a little (and by a little, I mean a lot) distracted by all the pretty girls in the room, especially when the girls are coming into their heat cycles.
The pictures above show the moment I was partnered up with the dog I would be working with. His name is Yorba, and he is just the sweetest guy! He is a Golden Retriever/Labrador Retriever, and his favorite command is "lap" which is where he rests his upper half on his human's legs. I actually saw a lot of similarities between him and Charlie, the last dog I worked with in the ADEPT program. They are both super goofy, smart, and snuggly pups. Yorba was definitely VERY interested in the ladies around him which was a challenge for me to work around as his handler. I had to become the most interesting thing in the room (which is difficult when the other things in the room are pretty unspayed girl dogs). We worked through it though, and once I got Yorba's focus, I discovered he is a super motivated and smart dog.
We spent some time bonding and worked on some of the commands we had learned. We also brought our new doggies to lecture with us. We very quickly discovered that we would have to split them up and bring the boys to some lectures and the girls to others since all they could focus on was each other and not being calm, quiet members of the classroom. Yorba ended up being very attentive after the females left and then took a nice long nap. It has been a long, challenging, but also rewarding week. I have learned a few new things and also expanded on some old things. Until next time, stay pawsome!
30 Hour Road Trip: WI-->CA
Intern with ADEPT (Assistance Dog Education Program and Training). Dog mom. Creative Writing major. Wannabe author. YouTube creator.