So this is a story all about how my life got flipped turned upside down. Oh wait. That’s another story.
This is my story. Our story.
Everyone always asks “So how did you get into this?” when I tell them that I train assistance dogs for a living. My answer is always the same- “Well, I always knew that I wanted to work with animals.” And then I diverge into the various careers I looked into- veterinarian (too much school), vet tech (not enough fun- sorry techs!), kennel assistant (not enough money), groomer (too tedious), and finally the job that I thought was my dream job- marine mammal trainer. As it turns out I’m not a very good swimmer and there is more to being on stage at Sea World than just liking animals (like, for example, enjoying being in the spotlight. How did I manage to overlook that one little detail?)
Anyway, that’s just not me. At all. I always wanted a career that meant more to me than just a paycheck. I wanted to do something that was stimulating and rewarding and made an impact. And that’s when I found the world of Assistance Dogs. It was all of those things and more. And best of all, it involved a personal relationship with animals. I’m still very happy with my career choice and enjoy working with people on a variety of levels, as well as with the dogs.
So why am I telling you all this? Isn’t this blog supposed to be about a farm or something? Yeah, yeah. I’m getting there.
Something that people might not know about me is that I’m not one of those people that stops on the side of the road to help a turtle get to the other side. (Sorry, call me cold-hearted but either he’ll get there or he won’t, and I don’t need to risk my life to speed that up. If you are one of those people, you’re a better person than I am. Truly.)
I don’t want to completely ruin my animal-lover reputation. But if I’m being honest, I’m a little bit selfish. I need to get something out of a relationship in order for me to commit to it. Here’s what I get out of having animals: enlightenment. Stay with me, I know that’s a big word to live up to. What I mean is that I appreciate the beauty of an animal’s mind and I enjoy watching the intricacies of different species and personalities behaving. And when you own an animal, you not only get to witness those things first-hand every day, you also get to interact with the animal and affect their behavior. How cool is that?
You may be starting to see the appeal of a farm to me. Farms have animals, hence that should be right up my alley, right? But then there’s the whole killing thing. Animals don’t grow old on a farm, they’re there for a purpose and that purpose has an end date. Oh. Yeah. Another detail that I may have overlooked.
That last part doesn’t seem to jive with my animal-lover image either. But here’s something else that most people don’t know about me. I’m okay with death. Death is a part of life, and as long as the life that was taken (either by natural causes or for another purpose, like for food) was enriched and full of purpose, then the death is less meaningful than the life. In order for one thing to live, another must die. This has become clearer for me as I’ve gotten older. It’s not an easy thing to accept. I’ll get into this more in another post.
So here’s my answer for when people ask “So how did you get into this?”…or what they really mean: “You? A farm? Really?”
I’ll delve into our journey a little more as the weeks go on, and maybe jump around a bit as our story continues to unfold. I hope to keep it real. This blog isn’t intended to be a lecture or to persuade you into becoming a farmer too (although it just might!) I hope to use this as a tool to help organize and share my thoughts on raising a family and building a farm. There are some ups and downs. Some funny moments, some sad ones, and a lot of reflecting on life lessons. In the end, we’ll either make it to the other side of the road or we won’t. Maybe we’ll even gain some perspective along the way. Wanna join me? 😉