On building a dog house

As a kid, I had this perception that to build something great, you had to use all new materials. Granted, I knew nothing about building, but my perception was if you wanted to build something new, you went to the store and bought equipment, new materials,  and or, you just bought the finished product and implemented it into its intended use.

This was never more evident than the day I decided to build a dog house; I had recently purchased  my first coon dog, and needed a warm place for him to stay that winter. I also needed something to haul him in when traveling to hunt. Typical dog houses cost around a hundred dollars, and dog boxes cost significantly more than that. To purchase them new, I knew I would be spending a lot of money that I didn't have. I had already overshot my budget, and spent my $100 savings on the dog. So I went to my dad for help. Dad could build whatever we needed, but when looking at new materials, we still would be spending several hundred dollars. He didn't have the time that day to bargain shop, so he sent me to the ultimate expert in creating something from nothing..... My grandfather. 

My grandfather was a self made man; he and my grandmother had turned a small farm into a multi state,  real estate business. He had a vision, a plan, and put in the work necessary to succeed in business. I never imagined he would take the time to build a dog house with me, but at the request of my father, he took the day off to spend with me. 

I ask him how we needed to start the process, and I asked him where we were getting the materials. He smiled and said we had everything we need right here at the house, all we had to do was come up with a plan.  

That is something I have taken with me since; a well executed plan is essential to any big area of life. My grandfather drew ours on a napkin, we even placed dimensions and made a materials list: door hinges, insulation for cold nights, ventilation for summer, a metal roof to help with leaks and the rainy season, and handles to help raise and lower it when it was being used for a box. Next, we sought out materials. He took me to the  scrap pile  assembled from leftovers of previous projects; we removed handles from old doors, found a shutter for the front door of the house, got an oven vent to use for summer heat dispersal, and various sizes and shapes of plywood and pressboard for framing.  We cut the metal off remnants for siding and for the roof. We pulled and straightened nails from other wooden pieces and found old drywall screws for assembly. All total, we invested four hours of time and spent about ten dollars on the project. My dogs used that box for years, and it worked well as both the hunting box and a house. 

I learned much from my grandfather over the years, but building a dog house with him taught me a lesson about getting creative at structuring plans and finishing projects.

In today's world of high finance and debt load, it helped me learn that not everything has to be perfect when starting out. It's more fun and generally more challenging to produce something of quality on limited resources. That is how we have run our business and our lives. 

At times we have had to borrow equipment, we acquisitioned our x ray equipment from human hospitals that were updating, our surgical equipment was purchased piece by piece from Germany over the course of two years. We made the front benches in the office from barn wood, and used our own computers for record keeping. We wired our own security systems, and traveled from Louisville to Knoxville to purchase dental equipment and surgical units. We shopped garage sales for office equipment and purchased remnant counter tops from granite wholesalers. Piece by piece we assembled a clinic, with a vision of what we wanted, and a plan of how to execute it. We have and will remain committed to excellent service to our customers, and quality in our medicine. Just like we assembled our dog house, we also assembled our clinic. It's not perfect, but a lot of hard work, love, and creativity went into its assembly.

We want to say thank you to everyone who has been a part of our clinic in 2015, and especially to those people who have helped us reach our community through charitable giving and support. Have a safe and happy new year!

todd county animal clinic