‘Waiting has only made it sweeter’
Jan Kiley, 57, is a dog trainer from Hampshire. I’ve always loved dogs – I remember spending many happy hours at my grandparents’ house in the 70s, teaching their two Collie-crosses Ben and Georgie to jump over broomsticks, and by the time I was 10, I’d decided I wanted to become a dog trainer when I grew up. But I had to wait for my 21st birthday to apply to Guide Dogs for the Blind. Finally, in 1984, I had an interview – and they called me back for a second.
Sadly, I never made it. I’d fallen in love with a man called Tom, and when I found out that the organisation might post me as far away as Scotland, I decided to drop out.
I’ve had many great jobs over the years – medical PA, primary school teacher and, latterly, a practice manager at a vet’s. But I always carried that little bit of regret.
Then everything changed in 2019, when I found out that Hilary, whose dog was one of our patients, was setting up a charity to train dogs for autistic people. She achieved charitable status in January 2019, and by March I was a regular volunteer.
The charity grew and then Hilary asked me to come on board as an employee! Now my days are spent working with dogs, and at the moment, I’m training Luna, a Labrador pup, to work with an autistic girl called Zana.
I work long hours – often during evenings and weekends, but I love my life. And although I had to wait a while to achieve my dream, this has only made it sweeter.
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October 20, 2020