We should all live where we want to live, live with
people we love and who love us equally, and do the work we love to
do. If a person has these things, then he or she will be truly happy
in life. And if individuals love the work they do, it's not a chore
to go to work each day. It's a labor of love.
When I was a child, I loved to go to my cousin's farm during summer
vacations. Some of my best childhood memories were staying there and
making homemade ice cream, collecting eggs from the hen house, riding
the pony, fishing in the pond, and watching as they milked the cow.
Life was good there.
Because of all those good times on the farm, I decided that as I grew
older I wanted a small farm of my own. In 1982, I bought a small 17-acre
farm with a beautiful barn. Sadly, nothing lived in the barn except
a few barn cats. My dream for many years was to have a boarding kennel
in the barn.
After working as a veterinary assistant for about 14 years, I decided
at the age of 39, if I was ever going to have a boarding kennel, I
had better get busy and do it. I wasn't getting any younger and I
needed to start the kennel before I was too feeble to work in it.
(There's something about turning 40 that makes a person evaluate their
life.) I'll never forget what happened next as long as I live. On
New Year's Day, I sat at the kitchen table and drew the plans for
my boarding kennel. That same week, I got a job working at a local
café to make enough money to live on while the kennel was being
built. Later, I borrowed money from the local bank and collected some
early inheritance from my parents. I went to the local zoning board
and got their approval for the zoning.
After talking to several building contractors, and being rejected
numerous times, I finally found someone who would do the job. Construction
started that spring. It was to be a 2-week job. It wasn't. As the
six months of construction continued, I became engaged to the most
wonderful man I have ever shared time with in my life. We were married
3 weeks later.
In that 3-week period of time, I planned the wedding and reception
for over 300 people. I bought the bride's maid, flower girl, and wedding
dresses, and was still able to coordinate the finishing touches on
the kennel (including painting the barn.) We had our wedding reception
at our new home and boarding kennel. White linen table clothes draped
each candle-lit table. All our friends danced as a DJ played our favorite
songs. The kennel opened for business the week after we came home
from our honeymoon.
Since opening our door to the public, the kennel has added many services.
While at the same time we share our time with our community. I have
volunteered to give Responsible Pet Ownership Classes at one of our
local 5-8 schools and organized dog obedience classes at the YMCA.
I have previously served on Stanly County Historical Preservation
Properties Committee, trained a dog to do therapy work in nursing
homes, given demonstrations on how to give dogs home health exams
at the Bark in the Park hosted by the United Way, and volunteered
for the Veterinary Explorer Post at Main Street United Methodist Church.
We feel it is important for us to give back to the people and organizations
that have given so much to us.
Kendall Valley Kennels has been giving our community quality boarding
services since 1994. I sometimes think that most people would not
have continued on with their plans for a future business after having
to go so far in debt and going through such a long construction period.
I have little doubt that I made the right decision to own my own business.
You see, I feel I can truly say I am a blessed woman. I live with
a man who loves me and I love so dearly. I live in a community I love
with all my heart. And my job is not work for me. It is a labor of