A Letter From Debb Kirschner K9JYM Owner & Training Director

Written by

Debb Kirschner ~ K9JYM Owner & Training Director

K9JYM opened in October 2008. Here's how my dream began.

After introducing my dogs to agility, it wasn’t long before I was sharing my experiences with other dog owners in my neighborhood, in the workplace, or whenever I found myself talking with dog owners.  There were a couple of things I wasn’t crazy about though. Classes were held in an indoor horse arena – the lighting was marginal, the flooring was good for horses, not so much for humans, and it was really dirty and gritty.  A fair number of the people in my classes expressed similar thoughts--although they enjoyed what they were learning with their dogs, the environment was something of a turnoff.  It got worse in August when the evenings were so hot and humid classes would get cancelled or the nights in January when it was so frigid classes would get cancelled.  Still, I was so thrilled with my experience I signed up again so my other dog could learn too, and I also decided to keep moving forward with the first dog.  Many of the people in my beginner class did not go on.  I heard the same reservations when I did the class with my other dog.

I began asking myself, how could I offer this in an indoor space? Some place heated in the winter, cooled in the summer, a building with lighting and parking and toilets, and with a surface you didn’t have to worry about twisting your ankle on because of the uneven, gritty, dirty flooring.

I found the space, I had some evidence to support there was a market, and was just crazy enough to think I could turn this into a real business. Better yet, I had the support of my spouse, Roy, and another person I worked with.  Together we were all convincing enough to the building owner to persuade him to sign a lease with us. The vision was there and we were really excited about it!

However, there was PLENTY we did not know.

During the summer of 2008 the economy took a serious downturn. The mortgage crisis blew up, and by the time we opened people were beginning to lose their homes, jobs, and futures – what a mess!

When K9JYM opened its doors, we had one obedience class – with 2 students and an instructor who really wasn’t confident that she knew what she was doing…..and then something really neat happened.

An agility teacher was on his way home after his class got cancelled. He saw our sign and decided to see what K9JYM was all about, and it was quite close to his home. He asked if we offered agility and asked who was instructing. We told him we had nothing but were doing a demo for a local park that weekend and were hoping we could sell the class. Would he be interested in helping us get his first class? In that demo we got enough students to offer our first Intro to Agility class and the rest is--shall we say--History!

Today, we offer over 50 classes each week in sports as diverse as  Agility, Ball Herding, Disc Dog, Nose Work, Competition Obedience, Weight Pull, Rally, Flyball, and Show Handling for the Breed Ring. There are also many classes designed for puppies, basic pet manners, specialty classes, and helping owners who own ‘difficult’ dogs get on better footing in the relationship.

Things have really changed over the time we have been here, and we're now expanding our facility for the 3rd time.  Here's hoping you too will become a part of K9JYM as we look toward the future!

Debb Kirschner

K9JYM Owner & Training Director