Dixie Darr

In Learning, work on July 16, 2007 at 10:37 am

Animal Dreams

“If you don’t take a chance now and then, you stand still — and then you begin to slide backward.” Gregory Peck

This is a story for people who think learning is only for young people. Lee, a woman in her mid-fifties, has been cutting my hair for several years. A self-employed stylist, she also helps her husband train greyhounds for the race track. She loves working with the dogs and puts her heart and soul into finding good homes for those who can no longer race.

Last month she told me she was going back to school to become a veterinarian’s assistant. When I saw her Friday, she was so excited she could barely contain herself. She had started school and completed four classes.

After working on her feet all day, she attends class from 5-10:30 Monday through Thursday, then goes home to do her homework until 2 in the morning. She’s exhausted, and says she sometimes cries herself to sleep at night, but she is also more alive than I have ever seen her.

Why? Because she’s learning something new, and it is leading her toward a new career working with the animals she loves. She works hard and earns top grades, which is typical of people in her age range who go to school. Simply put, they know why they are there: because the want to be there. Not because anybody is forcing them. Frequently, in fact, people are telling them they are crazy to go back to school at that age. Who, they wonder, will hire someone her age who is just starting out? Anybody who wants an assistant who is interested and vital and excited about the job and who also, by the way, has an outstanding work ethic.

If I were a veterinarian, I’d be lining up to hire her.

© Copyright 2007 Dixie Darr. All rights reserved

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