Starting afresh

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

I’ve always been fascinated by dogs. The way they will gaze at you so lovingly, the happiness displayed with a wiggling body, and their ability to understand us. I mean, watch anyone doing “heel work to music” - it looks so easy to have your dog dancing right there alongside you. Looking back I should have pursued a career with dogs earlier in life, but I didn’t. It was only after a serious fracture that left me off my feet for months that I actually got to thinking I could become a dog trainer. Almost 8 years later and I’m about to open the doors to my own training facility.

My husband and I have been coming to Vermont for several years. Finally time was on our side and we decided to spend the summer months at Killington. We enjoyed ourselves so much that we started thinking about staying up here permanently. We began exploring business opportunities and now we’re the proud owners of an old Norman Rockwell Museum where I will offer my dog training services and my husband will do some reselling.

The doors to “Mountainside Mutts” will open next month. People will be able to continue visiting the museum through the end of this week. Flooring and signage has been ordered and equipment is to be sourced. There is outside fencing to be put up and painting and general decoration to do. That’s on the building. There’s a heap of other work to do on the business as well. The new website is live but there are SEO tasks to be completed, a social media calendar to put in place, hard copy print materials to design and order like business cards, promotional postcards and customized stationery. And paperwork for the training services themselves - contracts, intake forms, waivers. There is plenty to do while I wait to get inside the training space.

For the past 7+ years I’ve been offering pet care and training services to the people of Nantucket. I’ve met some incredible people and their animals. The possibility of opening my own facility on the island however was never going to be an achievable one. Limited space makes for expensive real estate. While there are other trainers in and around Rutland, Vermont few offer the choice of training a dog without force or coercion. That’s what I want to do. I have two rescue dogs of my own and they would not be the fun and loving companions they are today if I had used more aversive training methods. My hope is that I can share with people in and around Rutland that it is possible to train their dog using science based methods. 

Am I nervous? Yes, but I’m also.super excited. This is my chance to make a real difference to both a community and the lives of companion animals. I’m not a person who often speaks candidly about herself but I feel there is something in documenting this journey.  Stay tuned over the coming weeks and months to watch how the business grows. In the meantime, I’m keeping the words of FDR at the forefront of my mind: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” 


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