BONNERS FERRY — Puppies are exciting additions to a person’s life, heralding many years to come, of fun and challenges, to a person’s or family’s life. Those years can be made more fun, and less challenging, based on the level of commitment that the new owner gives to the health, training and well-being in the formative years of that puppy’s life.
On March 23, in recognition of a national day devoted to puppies, Carter Country Farm and Feed, hosted an event that included sales on all sorts of puppy supplies, along with other pet items, and had a professional dog trainer on hand to give free advice. People were welcome to bring their puppies and meet the trainer in person.
Karen Schumacher has been professionally training dogs for 22 years. Her life took a turn when she was originally planning on attending Bastyr University in Seattle and studying naturopathy, and a friend, Becky Bishop of Puppy Manners, asked her to help with a litter of puppies that needed socialization. Bishop told Schumacher that she was really good and could make it a career.
“A light bulb went off and that was it,” Schumacher said. ”I spent the next two and a half years apprenticing and going to seminars around the country with different trainers — and that was it. It was fate sealed.”
Schumacher has lived in Bonners Ferry for 15 years, and owns a business called A Family Dog, offering personal training for dogs, traveling as far as Spokane, Canada and Libby, Mont. She works part time at Carter Country Farm and Feed, and welcomes speaking with dog owners.
On March 23, she greeted people, and was happy to answer their training question or offer tips.
“Today we have had quite a few (puppies) and we have been taking pictures and posting them on Facebook. It’s a lot of fun,” she said with a smile.
Schumacher said that a gentleman had come in the day before and she encouraged him to come back in the next day, with his two 8-week-old Havanese puppy sisters.
“He hasn’t had a puppy for many years, so it was very helpful to him to learn how to teach his dogs to sit and to lay down, and how to reward them for those behaviors, and to ask them to repeat them, so they could get them over and over and over again,” explained Schumaker. “He was thrilled.”
This was the first time that Charlie Carter, owner of Carter Country, had offered this event in his Bonners Ferry store, and he felt it was a success.
“We have had lots of people come in with their dogs and we have all kinds of specials going on,” said Carter, who carries many items devoted to the health and well-being of dogs, as well as many other pet and farm animals.
“I wouldn’t sell anything that I wouldn’t feed my own dog,” Carter said. “None of the dog foods that we carry in the store have any corn, wheat, soy milk, no byproducts of any kind, chemicals or preservatives of any kind, or artificial flavors or colorings.”
Schumacher works part time for Carter, helping with marketing and advertising, and happily offering training tips to customers when she is in the store.
“I am so happy that I am able to work in an environment that is so pro supportive of training and positive reinforcement, and good products that are healthy for the dogs, and somebody that stands behind it,” Schumaker said. “He stands behind everything and it makes me feel good about what I am doing.”
Even when not celebrating a day devoted to puppies, animals are all welcome in Carter Country.
“We are very dog friendly here, or animal friendly of any kind,” Carter said. “You can bring your peacock in if you want.”
With the parking lot full of cars, and the constant coming and going of customers, some with puppies of their own, the event at Carter Country was a success, with customers going home with some great deals on puppy supplies, and tips to make their life better for them and their new furry friend.
For more information about Carter Country Farm and Feed: cartercountryfeed.com
For more information about A Family Dog: afamilydog.com