And so I come to, not the final, but the next part of our journey. Another new chapter with happiness, sadness, fun and challenges along the way. When we leave America, it will be with lots of great memories and oh so many stories to tell our friends and family in England.
We have had a wonderful time here, met lots of fabulous people (hopefully many of whom will stay in touch through technology and maybe even come to visit! England has a lot of great places to see!)
However, to say that every moment has been a high might be a little bit of an exaggeration – as you will appreciate if you’ve lived for more than just a couple of years! ☺
So I thought I’d just share a few ups and downs with you in this final DogLogic Blog posting.
Way back in the 1980s Pete and I did a lot of visiting to the USA as Karen had married Kevin and emigrated in 1978. It is a wonderful country and we were fortunate to visit many places thanks to Kevin’s job taking him all over. From Minnesota to Denver to Texas and many more places in between, we experienced many of the wonders of your great country.
Over many a meal (and yes, OK, bottles of wine!) we discussed the possibility of moving here ourselves.
At that time, I was a schoolteacher and had no ambitions to be a dog training professional at all. (Though we did own, love and train our dogs with local clubs)
Pete was selling cars in England and we both thought we’d be able to continue to pursue our careers here in the USA.
And so – we duly applied for our visa to come live “across the pond” permanently.
This was a long process. It involved Karen obtaining citizenship. And then – a long wait. Approximately 16 years before our application was processed.
There followed one year to reflect and make a final decision (more wine involved!). We decided that we had no choice – we would always regret not finding out what could have been.
And so we came.
During those 16 years I had become a School Principal and both Pete and I had become Dog Agility fans, finally being chosen to be on the British Agility World team in 2003 with our Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Quiz and Nicson.
And so, when we finally arrived, our dream was to become trainers and run our own business. As you know – the dream came true. How lucky were we.
When we first came to what is now known as DogLogic, the hard work began. On the business side, we spent many hours clearing stones from a pasture that was to become the outdoor training area. The indoor building was a storage shed, which we finished, added heat and air and a great surface for running the dogs. A few years later, a fence outside, lights and kennels were added, making the facility, as you know it today. I began the business of letting people know we were here and gradually we built up a clientele, slowly and mostly by word of mouth.
At the same time as all this, Pete and I were trying to establish ourselves as fine upstanding members of the community.
Our first endeavor was to buy a vehicle. Simple you may think. However, with no established US credit history, we were unable to secure a loan to purchase our beloved DogLogic Van.
Luckily, thanks to the sale of our house in the UK we were able to buy it outright and it served us brilliantly, still running like a dream when we recently, reluctantly let it go to a new home. ☺
Cell phones were next on the list!
Again – easy you might think!
With no credit history in the US, (apparently proof of our stellar UK record was not reliable enough!) we jumped through many, many hoops to obtain our first phones.
Imagine leaving a place where, when asked by a sales person,
“Do you own your own home?”
“How long have you lived there?”
“What is your profession?”
you could answer,
“ School Principal”
and then, when asked the same questions on buying our car and cell phones in this new land, we answered.
“No – we are living with relatives”
“Approximately a month”
“Setting up a Dog Training business!”
And, don’t get me started on trying to buy a house, get vehicle insurance and other basic daily necessities! In all areas we were clearly not a good risk!
Hmmm – talk about identity crisis.
Never having given much thought to the phrase, “I need to find myself” – it totally took on a new meaning for me.
After about 12 months helping us to establish the business. Pete trained and took a job as a truck driver. Running a dog training business – especially a brand new one – was not going to pay the mortgage!
Apart from the long times away from home, Pete loved this job. It enabled him to fulfill a childhood dream of “Being a lorry driver!”, and let him visit so much of America. In all I think he has seen at least 44 states!
This part of my own personal journey, however, was probably the most difficult. Yep! Big old softie! I missed him a lot! Still would if it were to happen again – even after 41 years of marriage!
It was all a little (lot) daunting at first I have to admit.
Privately and just occasionally I may have been heard to say,
What have we done?
To say that every moment of our adventure has been brilliant might be stretching the truth a little!
Visits back to the UK became a lifeline in those first years. However, we had made a pledge to each other that we would give our big move every chance of success and vowed to stay in the USA for at least 5 years.
Well, you know what happened next. At the 5 year mark, we were really beginning to feel at home here in the States. I had started to say, “Cell phone” and “Back Yard”.
In agility the “collapsible tunnel” had become a “chute” and I had begun to understand that the Southern pronunciation of the word, “Sit” actually had 2 Syllables!
I never did quite get the hang of “teeter totter” though! ☺
Yes, we were having fun, making friend, making memories s and learning lots. Our visits back to the UK were still treasured, but we had lots to return to back here in the USA.
Obtaining this certification was a game changer for me.
Many partially understood training concepts became clear and I was a woman on a mission to share all I knew with anyone who would listen.
Thanks for being among them!
At the 10 year mark, we had to renew our Green Cards and did so with no hesitation.
However, as the years passed, we began to think seriously about our own later years and it became increasingly obvious as you now all know, that we needed to be back with our daughter, grandchildren and childhood friends in our old home town of Banbury.
Banbury is an old market town in Oxfordshire. It has changed a lot over the years, but on our return we will still have many friends, family and amenities within a few miles of our home – and many within walking distance.
Our home will be smaller – I think you could probably fit three of them into our current house.
However, it will be ours and it will be cosy.
Mowing will not be a problem!
Walking our dogs will be easy as there is a huge park just 3 minutes walk from us and it leads on to fields and fields of open countryside with designated footpaths where the dogs will be able to run free. I may even get fit again as the weather will be just cool enough to enjoy being outside (mostly anyway – as I know they’ve had some very unusual 100 degree temperatures recently!).
And so, with mixed emotions, our decision was made and our new adventure is now imminent. Wish us luck on the next part of our journey and, when you get chance – stay in touch. ☺