A Heart of Gratitude

I’ve been wanting to write this post for awhile, probably since Eddie received orders to move us away from El Paso. For me, receiving PCS orders is like spoiling your own surprise birthday party when you hate surprises. I find comfort in routine and if my younger self ever heard me say this, she may try shaking loose and go off the beaten path. Now I find moving a way of forced reflection. I’m a pretty introspective person, but having these marked times in my life to take a look back does make me pause.

Before we moved to El Paso from Germany, I was beyond apprehensive. Everything from the change in routine, lifestyle, friends, employment, climate, community and whatever else frightened me. I knew we had a fixed amount of time in Germany and I really took advantage of my time there and felt I lived more in the moment. So, when Eddie received PCS orders, I expected them and felt prepared. I wasn’t prepared for the destination being El Paso.

We arrived in El Paso during the summer of 2012. I looked for work and I believed I applied for every job I knew I was both qualified and under qualified for, but to no avail. It was the first time ever in my life where I found such difficulty in finding work. In the meantime, Eddie deployed and I was left figuring out what I truly wanted to do professionally while also attempting to meet friends and create a life for myself here.

I decided on volunteering for the Humane Society of El Paso. It was a sensible way of developing a routine and building a network in the community. During this time, I also went to the dog park, before I really understood the problems with them. I met some lasting friends and my interest in dog behavior grew.

A year later, in the late spring of 2013, I spoke with a fellow Humane Society volunteer.  She shared with me about ABC’s dog training program and I thought to myself, this will help me in transforming Jack’s anxious and frustrated behavior.  Without hesitation, I enrolled in the program in April and finished the course work in June of the same year.

The ABC dog training program put me in contact with two very special and invaluable people, Glenda Herrin of Heeling Hounds and Melina Garos of Howl A Day Inn. These two women are paramount in my learning and shaped my understanding of dog training and dog rescue work.  My heart is filled with gratitude for these two women not only for their openness in sharing their knowledge and demonstrating their skills, but also being strong women who successfully own and operate their own businesses.

Glenda Herrin was my ABC mentor and she is the owner of Heeling Hounds, the dog training business I’ve had the pleasure of doing contract work during the past 9 months. As an ABC student, I attended Heeling Hounds dog training consultation alongside Glenda. The knowledge I gained from attending these appointments shaped my overall understanding of canine body language, owner relationships with dogs and confidence building in dogs.  Glenda is a deeply committed in ensuring the relationship bond between the owner and his/her dog.  This is paramount with any dog training client.  Glenda’s approach is consistently and reliably positive reinforcement based and her friendly disposition is one to be admired.  She’s built Heeling Hounds from the ground up and it has become a popular and highly regarded dog training business in El Paso.  I’m beyond grateful for Glenda and our relationship.

Melina Garos of Howl A Day Inn contributed tremendously in my learning.  Melina is a dog trainer and has done so for the past 15 years.  She got her start dog training with her first dog, Paco.  She began attending dog training classes and seminars and worked her way up to working with Paco in the search and rescue arena in Germany.  Currently, Melina is the owner of Howl A Day Inn, a premier boarding and training center in El Paso.  She conducts board and train session with client-owned dogs, offers regular boarding and daycare services and rehabilitates abandoned, rescued and owner surrendered dogs. She also rescued over 30 dogs from a hoarding situation in 2013.  Her expertise in reading canine body language truly amazes me.  Wherever I move to, I will continue to be inspired by Melina’s dedication, commitment and absolute love for all the dogs in her care, especially for the senior dogs which are the ones most readily being abandoned or surrendered to her by their owners.

In two days, Eddie and I will be making our departure from El Paso to our new home, in a new state.  I feel more prepared in starting my own dog training business and I know I have the support from Melina and Glenda.  There were many doors opening for me here and I have hope I’ll have even more opportunities where I’m headed.  My heart is warmed by the gratitude I feel for both Melina and Glenda.  My wish for 2015 is for both of these fantastic women in continued success and appreciation.

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