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  • Writer's pictureDianne Hammontree

Dianne’s Doghouse "Find Your Passion"

Find your passion—what is the strong energy or emotion that completes you? Of course, my faith, family, art, and service have always been in the forefront of my life. But, at age 65, I hungered for more. With the encouragement of my husband and family, I enrolled in the National K-9 School for Dog Trainers in Columbus. My soul sparked to life!

In February, Mike, my sister’s seven-month-old English Shepherd, and I set off for six weeks of intense training. God had placed a passion in my heart for a greater purpose—to help puppy owners enjoy their canine companions and to teach them how to share their pups with children, hurting people, and special adults.

I was thankful for this incredible and grueling opportunity, but as the day of departure arrived, I was paralyzed from the eyeballs down. My mind kept asking, “Am I good enough to do this?” Realizing that the journey was just as important as the destination, I lived happily in a very small dorm room for the first time in my life, and after six weeks Mike and I graduated.

I was the second oldest student to graduate from the K-9 school in its fifty years of existence! For the past ten years, many folks have allowed me to be part of their lives and multitudes of dogs have taught me valuable lessons about loyalty, confidence and joy.

There was Joy who spent every Thursday in the Alzheimer’s unit at Good Shepherd nursing home accompanied by my daughter Julie.

There was Jesse and her favorite Hospice patient, Don, who stroked her velvety ears and cried because he didn’t know where he was going after he died.

There was Jeff who gave big, sloppy kisses to every human he met.

There was Simon Peter who lay beside his beloved Hospice patient, Carrie, as she slipped away from this world.

There was Mary Magdalene who comforted every single person she met and patiently sat on the laps of abused children as they testified in court.

There was Mike, who was trained in basic obedience, advanced obedience, advanced utility, soft mouth retrieval, drug detection, and tracking and trailing.

There are new seasons of opportunity and personal growth around the bend. Good things come from changes and changes bring more people and more dogs into my life. C.S. Lewis once said, “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different.” Different can be good. Find your passion and go for it!

Happy New Year!


Dianne Hammontree, 302 Center Street


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