The biggest change for me is that I have decided to become a dog trainer! Is that random or what??
Dog trainer. When I hear those words, I immediately think of circus dogs or nerdy guys with clipboards and doggy pouches attached to them. (Sorry if anyone is offended by that.) However, this is the direction God seems to be leading me in.
The past few weeks a lot has happened; financial things suddenly changed into an emergency making us realize that it was absolutely essential that I find something--something--that I could do to help bring in money.
Dog training was not just something that I picked off the top of my head. Actually, it's the last thing I would have thought of. I had been looking searching for work through online ads and "Monster.com" for something that I could do and hopefully something that would be enjoyable enough for me to feel motivated by. But it also had to work with Dennis's work schedule and still have someone watch the kids, and there was nothing out there.
So we did a novena to Our Lady of Good Success. After all, "success" was what we needed. Not financial success, but something that would pull us out of this financial hole, and also something that I could do successfully and also keep my primary roles (wife and mother), well, primary.
So Dennis and I started the novena, and Day 1 was when "dog trainer" came to mind. I didn't really think much of it as an answer to prayer but just something that I could do "in the future."
Day 2 of my novena, dog training was coming more and more to mind. I kept rejecting it as "too easy". My pride wanted something more important than that. But in truth, I have loved training my dog, Joey. I discovered a real love for dog training and even better, it has totally paid off. I am not a "book person" and have never done well in school, but I totally devoured dog information wherever I could. I guess you could say that God had me start my education early, without even realizing it.
But to do it as a job. I didn't want that. I didn't even mention the idea to Dennis; I was sure he would laugh. But secretly, I began to research what it entailed to become a trainer; how long did it take, how much does a trainer make and so on. The more I read about it, the more excited I became.
Day 3 of my novena, I began to realize that this "dream" that evolved within three days could be an answer to prayer for something I could do both for myself and also to help the family. Simple though it was, it was perfect for me. And it wasn't as easy as I had thought. Half of the education comes from experience and hands-on. You can learn a lot from books but dogs are the best teachers.
It's also very versatile, and it would work well with our schedule. As for money, you make according to what you know by education and experience, so the more you learn, the more you can charge. (That's why some dog trainers charge only a little and some charge you a lot!)
Anyway, at this point, I began to look into schools. Most training is done online for dog trainers. It was hard to find one that I could trust and also that Dennis would be convinced was "real" and trustworthy. I knew it was going to take a lot to convince him that this could be the answer to our prayers.
The other problem was money. We don't have it. Here we were in the worst financial slump ever and yet I had to convince Dennis to get ourselves out of it, I would have to go back to "school." After doing more research, I learned that you can go two different ways to become a trainer:
- You can learn everything on your own by reading tons of articles and lots of dog books, volunteer at shelters for hands-on experience and get online certification. It isn't required to be certified in order to work as a trainer, but everyone feels a little better to know that you have learned enough to be certified, and chances are you will have an easier time finding work.
- Or you can go through a dog training school where they will provide all the curriculum and what you need to know and more for you, and then get certified at the end.
As good as it all sounded, it still seemed impossible for me because I knew we couldn't make those monthly payments. I needed at least $100 every month to take just the Beginners course--enough to get me started as a trainer (and then hopefully continue education towards a Master Trainer.)
Day 4 of my novena: out of nowhere, I got five rosary sales. All summer long, I have only had one or two sales. Now suddenly, I have enough to make my first monthly payment. I took this as a sign from God to continue. Now all I needed to do was convince Dennis. (By the way, after the five sales, I have not had any since!)
This is where unfortunately, we forgot to continue our novena, however, I felt we had our answer. I continued to pray for direction though. I finally presented my idea to Dennis. By this time, I had done my research on what it takes to become a trainer, found a good trustworthy school, and had a plan to help make ends meet. As I knew he would be, he was skeptical and cautious--but not as bad as I thought he would be.
Now, two weeks later, he is much more on board and even excited about our new plan. I am going to make the monthly payments on my own--trusting that God will provide me with rosary sales or other ways to make the payments. If I can't, my mom--who has been very excited about all this from the beginning--has promised to help if I can't meet a payment.
I have already started my education with an online study guide to get me started and have learned a lot of about puppy socialization. I'm learning a lot what I did not know, and discovering a lot of mistakes that we made with Joey in not socializing him enough. (He is a pretty fearful dog, but we are continuing to expose him to new things.)
Just waiting for the books now, and it's all I can think about.
Every day, I thank God for this new change He has brought into my life. When I realized that I Would have to go back to work, I was scared, because there isn't much I know how to do and there isn't much physically I can do, with my heart. With our complicated schedule and a special needs kid that still needs me to be around a lot, I didn't know how it would be possible to find work that would bring in any money.
I was scared we were going to lose our house, that's how bad it was. I was feeling like a burden to Dennis, another mouth to feed and bump on a log that couldn't do nothing.
But over and over again, God amazes me, astounds me, with His answers when we allow Him to take over our life. When we finally have the courage and humility to say, "You do it."
I am very excited to start this new journey in my life, and all I can say to God every day is "Thank you for changing my life~"