Beating The Odds
I had a five -year love affair with my dog. There was a point in my life I spent more hours in the day with my dog than the rest of my family. I spent a minimum of fifteen hours a day, working, training, feeding and loving him. For five years I was a police canine handler. I was the first female dog handler for my department, something I am very proud to talk about because standing 5’ 02”, I was able to lift a eighty pound sandbag up and over a six-foot high fence, just as well as my 6’02” 230pound male counterparts. I was able to lift around 75% of my body weight compared to the men, who had to only life 35-50% of their body weight.
I tried out for the position two times. The first time, I was able to muscle the weighted bag over my head, but I was three inches shy of sliding it onto the platform. I was pissed and discouraged I was unable to complete this task and made it my mission to come back for the next K9 opening with a vengeance. I realized I would need to make a goal to lift eighty pounds over my head, and be able to throw it up on top of the six-foot high platform.
I had four weeks to train to get that sandbag, over my head, and on top of a six-foot high platform. In the gym I began doing “clean and jerks” rep after rep, three times a week. This is a power-lifting move. I start with a weighted barbell, lying on the ground; standing behind the bar, I squat down and place my hands slightly over shoulder width apart. Using my entire body, I crunch down into a deep squat and pull the bar to my shoulder area, rebounding it, thrusting the bar over my head. I worked on this for four weeks straight, increasing the weight weekly until I reached ninety-five pounds.
My husband made an eighty-pound sandbag and covered it with a t-shirt. We spent many nights, in the back yard picking it up and placing it on top of my six-foot wall. He would spot me, and assist on those last three inches, until I was able to do this on my own.
The big day came and I was given a second opportunity to earn a dog. The department had heard I was practicing, and when I arrived at the training center, the six-foot high platform, was now elevated another six inches. A fire burned inside me, I wanted to prove to the Lieutenant in charge that I was able, despite my size and gender. He had ordered the height change; and I would not allow this to stop me. I ran the twenty-five yards to the platform and lifted the sandbag over my head, throwing it easily above my head onto the platform. Height change or not, I was able to complete my goal, because I had a plan.
Having an opportunity to be a K9 handler has bleed over to every aspect of my life. That day I learned I was capable to set a goal and accomplish it. We all are, no matter how small or large the goal, you can make a plan to be executed. Think positive, feel the fire burning inside, and take the first step.