The Evolution of a Training, Doggy Daycare & Dog Boarding Facility: Part 2
The Evolution of a Dog Boarding, Dog Day Care, and Dog Training Facility: Part 2-The Early Years…
Karen Abell, B.S.
All through my childhood, I had a powerful influence in my life–my parents. They taught me right from wrong and had clear expectations for myself and my siblings. I realize how lucky my siblings and I were. We had the best of both worlds. Mom was a stay at home Mom and our Dad owned his own business just across the road from our home. We were able to see our parents freely after school each day. It was not the same for our friends who had to wait for their Mom or Dad to arrive home from work. It was a pleasant childhood at home with great guidance from my parents.
I was six years old when I had many aspirations of doing things at the time that only men would do. I would be vocal about these dreams I had in my head, just to hear people such as my Uncles say, “You cannot do that, you are a girl.” At such a young age I was bothered by this. My Dad took notice one day when we had visitors at our home. My Dad waited till everyone left, looked at me and told me, “Karen, do not let anyone tell you you cannot do something just because you are a girl or otherwise. You can do anything you put your mind to.”
That day has stuck with me ever since. It was the best advice a parent could have given a child. I don’t know what would have become of me if my Dad had not have told me exactly this, that particular day. I might have believed what the other adults in my life were telling me- that I couldn’t do something. It made me a much more determined, independent individual.
When I was about 6 years old just before I was to go to school, my older sister had pleaded for a puppy, this meant a possibility of 2 dogs. I was excited. My sister, myself, and my Mom worked on my Dad till he gave in and said yes to another dog. We headed to a home in our small community of 900 people who had a dog who just had puppies some weeks before. The Dam was a St. Bernard, and the Sire was a Redbone Coonhound. It was an accidental breeding and in the early 1970’s– spay and neuter was not a popular thing at the time.
My sister picked out a female puppy and she named it Heather. Heather grew to be 135 lbs and one of my best childhood friends along with my Beagle mix-Peppy. Living out in rural area in Kentucky does not provide opportunities to have friends to play with so my dogs were my confidants and my playmates. So I set out to teach Heather the same things that kept getting me into trouble with Peppy. Heather was one of the biggest dogs in my area and most people feared her because of her size. She was a gentle giant, great with children and adults alike.
It was over the next 14.5 years of working with Heather, running through the pastures near my home, that I had set my mind to attend college. I wanted a degree in Biology During my years as a youth and in my region, doggie daycare, dog boarding and dog training was non-existent so I was thinking of Veterinary School as my option to work with dogs. Still into my teenage years I always had the passion, the love and the knack for training dogs-it was deep rooted in my soul. It kept me occupied, at home, and out of trouble…..most of the time during my teenage years.
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