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To Open A Pool - Carrie Smith & Pawsitively Pooched

It has been a year now since my best friend Heidi passed away from osteosarcoma. Anyone who says it gets easier after time, in my opinion, has no idea what they are talking about. I feel as though I lost her yesterday. It is not uncommon for me to go for a hike in Bragg Creek where we use to go and burst into tears on the way home. It is not uncommon for me to be watching for every Rottweiler that crosses my path in hopes that I will see something in their eyes that remind me of Heidi.

Heidi was nine years old when we had discovered she had an aggressive form of osteosarcoma. Within two days of her diagnosis, we had a celebration for her and then had to say good-bye. I remember saying months before all of this that I wasn't sure how I could continue with the swimming or with Pawsitively Pooched if I had ever lost her. She was my reason for opening the facility, how could I carry it on without her??? After a year, I have somehow managed to do it. Despite the emotional turmoil of losing Heidi and all else that comes with owning your own business, i.e. Staff, money, long hours, etc. I could not imagine doing anything else at this time. Maybe continuing to grow the facility is helping keep Heidi alive for me.

I never fully understood what it felt like when people lost their beloved pets. I would cry and grieve with them, but I never fully understood it to the depths that I 'get it' now. With all the hurt and loneliness I still carry in my heart, I have decided to turn it around and provide the utmost care to the clients that come through Pawsitively Pooched. Now that I fully understand what it means to lose ones most best friend in life, we now all cherish and are so grateful for everything and everyone that is a part of life at Pawsitively Pooched. Not that we weren't before, but it just seems that our passion and drive is ten times stronger.

For anyone that is considering opening a swim facility, in a heart beat I would say go for it! But in the next I would highly push that one looks at all avenues of owning their own business. Right from the beginning, there is the business plan that holds all of your financials and projections, marketing and advertising plan and much more. Be prepared to work long hours. Be prepared for the emotional and physical exhaustion that comes with it all. Be prepared for the stress of hiring staff to help you run your pool. At the back of your mind, remembering, that they could leave you at any time. And be aware of the financial strain that most if not all business owners face. Pools are an expensive cost - maintenance, chemicals, utilities, water. But most importantly be prepared to fall head over heels in love with the dogs you work with and see tears in the owner's eyes as their dogs smile with happiness. Being a canine water therapist is one of the most rewarding things I have done so far in my life. And thanks to my best friend Heidi-she taught me what it meant to be a therapist while she was here on earth with me and is still continuing to teach me after she is gone. Life changes in the blink of an eye, always remember to be grateful for what you have, and be proud as therapists that you have all taken a chance to make a change in the lives of many. Your choices for opening a pool may not be personal like it was for Heidi and I but the choice of opening to help safe and extend the lives of others is reason enough in itself!