Conference Thoughts

en·rich transitive verb \in-ˈrich, en-\
:: to improve the quality of (something) : to make (something) better
: to improve the usefulness or quality of (something) by adding something to it

I’m sitting here in Baltimore and missing Rex, my parents, my staff, you and our dogs. I’m also thinking of all the speakers I’ve listened to over the past few days. A lot of interesting things were discussed. But the MOST interesting, at least to me, was the discussion on enrichment. One of the speakers runs an enrichment center for dogs. An enrichment center?

It made me smile as I listened to her describe the things that made her place special. They created a center for educating, socializing and enriching the life of the dogs they serve and, as she said (and I have permission to steal) it’s not daycare – it’s play care. Their goal is to deal with the three aspects of a dog’s life: mental, physiological and physical. I loved it. And it made me think.

In my corporate life, that is what I focused on; all aspects of a person and their career. It turns out that, in this new life I’m creating, that is what we ARE doing – only now it’s with dogs.

So I thought about Ransom and Pepe, who didn’t want to walk on the floors and now come right through the door. Still a little unsure but my staff works with them every time they visit to make it easier. I thought about Gunnar, who used to be a shy nervous dog, and now howl’s arias’ each time he walks through the door. I thought about Bey, who was so nervous when she first walked through the door we didn’t think she would be a good candidate to join us. Boy were WE wrong. I thought of how the dogs come out at the end of the day to go to their special place and start to sleep while they wait to be picked up. And I thought about how the dogs line up when we start walking; eagerly waiting for their name to be called for their turn. Our guests, big and small, are taught to co-exist, as they do after we merge them together. Different breeds of dogs often find their own matches with dogs that are similar to them. We use obedience techniques to teach the dogs to respect each other AND our staff. Our staff attends training to keep up their knowledge and continue to grow.

Whew! There is more we do – and more we WANT to do, but I found it fascinating to look at what we are DOING and put it into a different framework.

Our goal has always been to create a safe place for dogs to gain confidence and have an opportunity to socially interact with other dogs AND other people. We want them to be part of the community they live in; feeling comfortable with whomever they meet and wherever they go.

What do you think? Does this make sense to you? I’m going to ponder it some more but would love to hear your thoughts. In the meantime, please look for the invitation to our first annual holiday event (December 4) where you are invited to meet your dog’s friends and their owners for a little conversation, food and holiday cheer. There will even be some music (won’t there Matt?)

Thank you for enriching our lives – Rex and I. We couldn’t have done this without all of you – nor would we have wanted to.