Will & Andrea
Ha. Just kidding.
It was actually July 2002, a bright and blistering hot day when Will and I arrived in the Flathead Valley in a Suburban packed with four kids, a disgustingly flatulent Lab, and a cat who howled like a demon sucking out your soul for a hundred miles after each potty stop. We had no radio, no air conditioning, and the check engine light had flicked on every time there was even a slight incline the entire drive from Fort Collins, Colorado. Surely that had nothing to do with the weight we were pulling in the rusty, 16-foot stock trailer that held literally all our possessions, including the folding chairs flapping off the sides. We called it our "Clampett" look. True icons of style and finesse, we rattled our way to an RV park and spent six weeks living in a 10'x10' shed. It was years later when we realized that we were single-handedly responsible for the tiny house movement.
In 2003 we purchased a house on three acres in which to raise our family. We knew at the time we would someday have a kennel on the premises, but the timing wasn't right at that point. You must understand, owning a kennel is like owning a dairy. The work never ends. There is always a living creature to be cared for and you are tied pretty tightly down. Basically, you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave...
Our kiddos needed us both around for hockey, soccer, and volleyball games, spelling bees, swim meets, cross country races, and wrestling meets. So, we waited.
In August 2013, we cleaned out the garage, received the necessary permits, hand made four kennels, hand lettered a sign on a sheet of plywood (that to this day keeps blowing down), and said our prayers to Almighty God that He would bring some dogs our way. We hoped to reach the goal of earning a living with the kennel in about two years. We must have really hit a nerve with our care philosophy and practices, because we reached that goal in six months. The growth has continued to blow our minds. Whenever we think we just can't handle any more, God sends more dogs and more strength to love and care for them. At the end of each day, no matter how exhausted, slobbery, hairy, and dirty we are, we always close our eyes thankful for what we are blessed to do and grateful for the people who trust us to do it.
Heidi, our oldest, helps us run the business. She graduated CFHS in 2010, received her BA in Molecular Biology from University of Montana Western and married Jim Eavenson in 2014. Heidi is a licensed veterinary technician and applies her experience from vet clinic work here with our guests. She is currently finishing up her education to open her own canine physical therapy business here at CMK. Jim works as a shop manager for an HVAC company and gives the best bear hugs around.
Dezi, our second and self-proclaimed middle child, graduated CFHS in 2011, took off on a Grand Adventure and came back with Jake Lorenzen and an engagement ring. She creates beautiful art with all kinds of paints and mediums, photography, and flowers, but her most beautiful creation thus far is Jack, our grandson. The overflowing adorableness in the photos above? Yep, that's Jack! Jake is finishing up his degree in Linguistics at UM. And, he's pretty much awesome.
Lexi, #3 and self-declared true middle child, graduated CFHS in 2013, received her BS in Marine Biology from UM Western in 2017, and is working her way into permanent (non-seasonal) positions with Fish and Game. She leaves for a season, then pops back home, spoils us into the habit of having home-baked pastries and other heavenly goods, then takes off for another seasonal job on the ocean, leaving us to wallow in our loneliness and store-bought cookies.
Zayne graduated CFHS in 2014 and served our country for four years in the Air Force repairing and maintaining F-16s and C137s. He had all kinds of honors and promotions that he gets embarrassed about when I brag, so I will refrain. Recently done with his stint, he is excited to be working in a diesel repair shop in Kalispell, which has been what he has wanted to do since he was on his knees pushing around Hot Wheels. I'm hoping that his gear-head brain will be stimulated enough at work that he will break his habit of hauling automotive "projects" into our driveway. Hope springs eternal, or so I've heard.
That's pretty much us! Will geeks out about Nosework and training and will talk to you about it until your ears bleed. I love to read and write and will talk books with anyone who escapes from Will with their hearing intact.
Thank you so much for reading my ramblings, but even more so, thank you from our hearts for even considering trusting us to care for your precious four-legged family member. It is an honor that we do not take lightly.