I’m Alive!

Project K9 Pack WalkI know, I know! I haven’t written in a few months. Sorry about that, hope I didn’t lose you all. I was on bed rest, thinking I would have more time to blog, catch up on paperwork, work on my website, advertise and work on marketing ideas. Maybe even take some much desired ‘down time’ to play video games, read, watch videos, and catch up on all my favorite shows. Umm, wait.. ‘down time’? Yeah, I don’t do that. What did I do instead? I trained Caleb, I did sell a lot of dog food, I hobbled around, I trained clients, I did a lot of advertising, social media, and worked on SEO. It all paid off, we’ve been slammed all year! I don’t stay down for long. I hobbled around, trying to feed and clean, and sometimes even handle dogs… Even if it was just to watch Caleb work. In the beginning, I watched nearly every session because he was still learning and I was coaching. I attempted to teach obedience on the floor, and we played recall games with the puppies. I would go outside to watch the dogs with him. I didn’t distance myself from my business at all. I took a step back with training and handling, but I think I learned more about myself during that time than I thought I would. I learned how to train someone to my expectations. At first, I tried to teach him like a client. Then, I realized my expectations of him were much higher since I would be teaching him to teach OUR clients. I was present for every session and still did all the private sessions, he was my legs.

 

Project K9 Heather working obedience with a broken foot I also had a proud moment at what I had created. I have successfully built a sustainable company. I hired my first employee, and I have learned to teach someone what I do. I share this passion now. There are ups and downs, of course. But the joy I feel of sharing what I have built is so powerful. At first it was hard and complicated. And during my recovery, I had a hard time going slow. I kept wanting to jump in and do everything. I constantly overdid it. But I changed. I started to slow down and let him help. I am a very independent person, and it took a lot for me to step down and accept that I physically couldn’t do everything. We started to become a team. I asked for help. I accepted help after a while. This is the way it is supposed to be.

 

Project K9 Dog Socialization

Caleb, watching the group.. but who’s doing the watching?

 
Project K9 Utah Dog TrainingNow that I’m done reflecting, I’m sure you’re all wondering how I mentally handled all of this. Yeah, I was rapid cycling like crazy. As long as I kept myself busy with as much work as I could physically handle, I seemed to stay within a ‘normal’ level. I was angry I broke my foot and couldn’t work, it was stressful training a new employee where I couldn’t demonstrate, I felt overwhelmed with too much responsibility and not enough ME. I constantly felt like I couldn’t do enough. So, naturally, I fell into the depression side of things. When I was manic, it was just as bad since I couldn’t actually do anything. I was going stir crazy!! After what seemed like an ETERNITY, I was finally able to crutch around and put weight on my foot. Still no handling dogs, but this took 2 months to get this far. I was out of a cast now, but not walking. At this point, Caleb is a pretty good handler, knows the basic principles, and sent home very well trained pups! Still going stir crazy, but we attended a 3D workshop hosted by Heather Beck at K9 Lifeline (Caleb’s first one!!) and that helped a lot to regain some motivation, and some of the happiness of this industry.

 

Project K9 Utah Dog Training

The recovery at this point actually seemed like it happened pretty quick. After I got the ok from doc to put weight on it (HOLY MOTHER OF OWW!), I was walking with a heavy limp within a week, completely off of crutches. Fast forward a month… I have no limp and very little pain. I have full range of motion back, can put all my weight on my foot, and I can’t jump or run on it yet, but I can ‘limp run’! Feeling much better about everything now. The last few months, I’ve really struggled to stay in the ‘middle’ of my levels instead of get sucked into the negative, depressive side. I’m at full capacity, and full function when training dogs. I’m running my pack walks again, though I missed my group classes this year. I had a lot of really big plans for this year… Next year. I have lots of new classes in the works, and I’m working on expanding as well. So excited for what is to come. I’m getting back on track, the business is looking awesome, and I have accepted I can’t control everything, and it’s ok to ask for help sometimes. It’s ok to not do everything. And it’s nice to have company.

 

Business is Good!

This year has come with it’s own set of challenges. I am a generally a very positive person, and try to focus on the good in everything. So, I have chose to eliminate as much negativity from my life as possible. Ain’t nobody got time for dat!

One of the biggest changes has been the hiring of a new employee! It just so happens to be my special someone, Caleb! We have been talking about him helping me for a while, and we recently agreed he would be moving in at the end of May. Well, I broke my foot a few weeks ago, and I’m totally immobile. So, we jumpstarted everything, and he is pretty much living here now, he quit his day job, and I’m training him on how to do everyday chores, canine psychology, obedience, pressure/release, energy, handling, managing groups (daycare), puppy training, etc. I’ve given him a list of books and videos I want him to watch, and we have been doing awesome so far.

All of the private client sessions, pick ups, drop offs, and another client-facing session, we are doing together. And it is working out like a dream. We are supporting each other, and we both chime in when working with the client. I think within a few weeks, he’ll have the knowledge and experience to do a whole session by himself. Right now, we are doing everything together because he’s still learning, but soon enough, we can double our efforts, and see twice as many clients, and work twice as many dogs.

Heather Rose Broken Foot

This is how swollen my foot was the morning after I broke it.

Now, for my broken foot… I was helping with unloading some things from a truck, and it was raining. I was standing on the wheel of the truck and I slipped. I jumped backwards because I was going to fall anyway, and I tried to save it. I didn’t know there was a toolbox behind me, and I landed on it. Slipped off the side, and landed on my foot which was sideways. I ended up breaking my navicular, calcaneus, and talus bones in my foot as well as possibly tearing a tendon and quite a few ligaments. The doctor also suspects some nerve damage. Optimistically, I’m on bedrest for 6 weeks, and I have to stay completely off of it. After that, I’m in a walking boot for at least 4 weeks, and then we can start rehabilitation on the soft tissue.

The hardest part is the mental. It sucks not being able to move and all, but not being able to do the daily tasks of my business is soul-crushing. Teaching Caleb to do everything is tricky because he isn’t me. He’s doing an awesome job at everything, and he’s realizing how much work this is. But we are in this together. We are awesome at communication and working through feelings, finding solutions to problems together, and we both take criticism fairly well. We both understand the challenges of working together full time, so we’ve made sure that every day, we both get to do something fun together and alone. It’s hard because I’m teaching him to do my job. My job right now is my bed rest. Let’s be honest; I’m not good at all at relaxation, taking it easy, or being still. I’m a DO-ER! I always have to be doing something.

So, I have found something I can do from my bed, while still work. Paperwork, update my social media, and talk to people about pawtree! Paw Tree is a natural, holistic food you can feed to your dogs. However, it’s not just a kibble, it’s a complete nutrition plan specifically designed for your dog. I have been signed up as a PetPro for a few months now, but haven’t been as active as I could be because I’ve been busy with running my business. It wasn’t a priority. Now, because I can’t walk dogs or work on ecollar, this can be a priority for me. I can still work with puppies, do obedience, teach manners and place, and some other exercises where I can sit on the floor with the dog. Caleb is doing most of the handling for anything with the leash.

Heather Rose Caleb Marten Project K9 Training Puppy

Caleb, working with Slugger, one of our training puppies

Anyway, we are figuring it out, and as a team, we are doing all our training tasks, daily chores, and taking on a ton of new clients and training dogs. We are thriving, and we will continue to figure out better ways to do everything and how to be a better team. So, we are still offering all our services, and not slowing down much due to my injury, which is more than I could ask for right now.

So, that’s why I haven’t updated much in my blog the last few weeks. Been busy with all this. I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow to (hopefully) get casted. It was too swollen last week, and I’m still in a splint and an ace bandage. If the swelling goes down, then we’ll cast and start the real healing process. Cross your fingers!