Monday, September 29, 2008

Sleeps with dogs

It is time for me to make an admission. I have a second job.

It started back last December when I began training for a part time dispatcher position at my husbands urging. (Fire/Police/EMS) It was always our long term plan that I get another job once the kids were old enough to be in school all day. Well we certainly passed that deadline awhile ago. (they are in 6th and 8th grade now) Plus a job for me with benefits will help us once he retires from his current position as a police officer.

I LOVE being a dog trainer but owning your own business presents a few problems with things like the lack of benefits and job security. Sure I'll always have the job, but when the economy is bad people aren't always calling for stuff they consider a luxury item. Unfortunately for some this includes dog training. When I started this business I was also one of only two trainers in the area and the only one using positive methods. Now I am one of five that I know of. (4 out of 5 being positive) Plus my forte is private sessions. I didn't want to go back to offering lots of group classes just for the revenue because I knew it wouldn't make me happy. For me training is about more than the money I can earn. I have never been in this for the money, a fact that sometimes exasperates my husband greatly. It is what I love to do to help people and dogs.

I didn't mention it on here before because I didn't want anyone thinking I thought of the training as a part time endeavor. It is my first love and passion. Plus truth be told I wasn't sure I would make it as a dispatcher at times. (and still have questioning moments) I am now full time dispatching and work 4 days a week 10 hours a day on the overnight shift. (including weekends) I didn't plan on going full time quite so soon, (my training lasted until July) but a spot unexpectedly opened up. Considering the economy I would be a fool to have turned the extra hours down.

(Side note: Please make sure your house number is EASILY visible from the road and in the dark. If you want EMS/Fire/Police to be able to find you QUICKLY in an emergency this can save precious minutes. Also be aware that a landline phone gives us a readout of your exact location, a cel phone does not. It might be possible to track you with a cel IF the weather doesn't interfere and IF your carrier provides that service. So you may want to consider keeping a landline in your house for emergencies.)

The great news is this means I have extra funds for the better diet the dogs are on and to buy them lots of good stuff. (oh and stuff for my kids and family too) It also means with the schedule I have that the dogs aren't home alone for 10 hours at a stretch. While I work they are home sleeping with the family. While the family is at school or work I am home asleep, with them.

Missy sleeps on the foot of the bed, Jack in his crate that he loves (door open, he refuses to get on the bed for any length of time) and Jenny the naked pug insists on sleeping UNDER the covers with me. Either curled up behind my knees, in front of my tummy or stretched out along side me. We all wake up for one potty break during the day and then back to bed to finish out the hours needed for me to be able to function at work.

*And if you had told me a few years ago that not only would I someday have small dogs, but that they would be allowed IN bed with me I would have asked what you were drinking. It is amazing how things change.*

So far it is working out pretty well. I still have moments of adjustment. Like not being able to get extra sleep the first day of my week. But overall it is do-able. I get 3 days in a row off to see clients or work the prison dog program and my afternoons are also free to see them on the nights I work.

To dispel any rumors, I want it to be very clear that I didn't get another job because business was bad or I wanted to get out of training. I got a second job because it is part of our overall plan for long term financial security and medical benefits. End of story.

I am still going to play the lottery and hope I get lucky. My dream job at this point is to be a rich philanthropist. Of course I would still probably see clients for the fun of it but I could do it at the new animal shelter I would build with some of my winnings. Oh to dream.

Until then you can find me sleeping with the dogs. ZZZzzzzzz


Katie said...

I love having my dogs in bed. Especially when it's chilly and they're warm and all snuggled up against me.

I don't envy you the overnight shifts. I worked overnights for two years, and while the work part was ok (if lonely as I worked alone), weekends were hard and my sleep schedule was all kinds of messed up.

Money's important. I don't think you should feel like you have to defend your decision to take a second job. It doesn't diminish your abilities as a trainer or your loyalties to the profession. It's just... practical.

Marie said...

Thanks Katie. :-)