It has been almost 1 year since I wrote my blog "Sanctuary Life" and I must admit, it has been a roller coaster of a year!
In need of Noah's Ark
In November last year our entire home was flooded, every inch of our land as well as our house. We struggled through the knee-deep, filthy, ice-cold flood water to get all of our 150+ animals onto somewhere vaguely dry, which was not easy to say the least. We had no running water, heating or electricity and we still don't have our house back due to builders being unable to work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, and now because of the shortage of building supplies. My fiancé Michael actually wrote a book about our experience - 'In Need of Noah's Ark' which we felt was a fitting title considering the number of animals we have!
It has been a stressful and extremely emotional year but my Michael and I are such a great team, we helped each other through it all and are now stronger than ever. This journey isn't over yet but we have each other and knowing this means that we know we can face whatever obstacles may get thrown at us, together. This leads me to the reason I am writing this blog: team work.
Everyone needs support
In every aspect of our lives, as much as we'd like to think that we are independent and don't need anyone, having a solid team around you can make a huge difference and ultimately, be the difference between soldiering on or giving up. My animals, whom I all love dearly and would do absolutely anything for, are a part of this team, as are my parents, siblings, nieces and nephews and of course, Michael.
Lead by example
Work life also benefits greatly if you are part of a supportive, understanding, strong team and again, can be the difference between doing what you must to get by or shining and going that extra mile simply because you don't want to let the rest of the team down. I'm also a firm believer in the phrase "leading by example", whether that relates to dog training, horse training, being a parent or a manager at work, leading by example and asking of others what you would be happy to do yourself is the key to building a lasting and respectful relationship.
Trust, respect, boundaries and communication
I still do a little dog training but not like I used to simply because I don't have the time anymore. My commitments have changed now that I have over 200 animals on our farm to care for and a full-time job, but that doesn't mean I won't offer help and advice now and again. I recently had a conversation with some friends about their own rescue dog and on that same day, a discussion with a family member about their child and then with another friend about my own horse Sid who's in his terrible twos! What struck me after having all three conversations (seemingly completely different topics) was that in actual fact, the advice was pretty much exactly the same! The key points that needed attention for the dog, child and horse were trust, respect, boundaries and communication.
One size doesn't always fit all
This may sound silly to some but in my opinion these key points are the gateway into building a strong relationship with pretty much any living being, whether four legged or two! This is exactly the same with adults too, not just children! It isn't possible to demand respect, it has to be earned. It's possible to demand jobs get done but I can guarantee nothing that is asked of someone in a demanding manner rather than a respectful manner will ever get done the same way. In order to earn respect you must first build trust. This involves setting clear, consistent boundaries and communicating as much as is needed for that specific person. Despite the key points remaining the same, achieving these isn't a "one size fits all" approach as no two human beings or animals are the same and a good leader will always take this into consideration and be able to change their approach accordingly. Once you have all of these factors in place you can be confident that you have a dog, horse or human being doing what is asked of them not because they have to or because they're scared of what will happen if they don't, but because they WANT to please you. Which is what I strive to achieve in every aspect of my life and hopefully inspire others to follow suit.