My name is Reagan Rountry, and I live in Reading, MA. I am 17 years old, and have just recently started this extremely rewarding adventure. I was born a full two months early, while my Mom was on a business trip in Washington DC. The first month of my life was spent in the NICU there, until I reached the goal weight of a whopping 5 pounds and was considered stable enough to go home. At a young age I was diagnosed with “special needs”. I put that in quotes because, much as my diagnoses has evolved, so has my way of thinking… isn’t everybody special? And don’t we all have needs? I believe it is more accurate to say that I may have some different needs. My path in life so far has not always been easy, and it has rarely been the same as most of my peers. Maybe you have heard of an autistic woman named Temple Grandin? (Not that I am comparing myself to Temple Grandin, probably the world’s most prominent author and speaker on both autism and animal behavior.) Today half the cattle in the United States are handled in facilities she has designed, but if algebra had been a required course for college graduation in 1967, there would be no Temple Grandin.
This is why, at age 17, I have started this business… for me, it is the right next step in my life. I have always loved animals, and have always enjoyed having a special connection with them. They also seem to gravitate towards me, singling me out in a crowd for an ear scratch or a belly rub, falling asleep on my lap, or letting me know when something isn’t feeling right. They say that often when certain skills or abilities are underdeveloped, others will often be more keenly developed as a sort of balance. I have always been a very intuitive, empathetic and instinctual person, even as a child… I seem to pick up on little things that other people don’t quite often. Animals are also very instinctual, intuitive, and sensitive, and are wonderfully responsive to non-verbal communication… I think this is why we get along so well.
I was given the incredible opportunity to work with the amazing staff at Reading Animal Clinic (in Reading, MA) for almost two years, where I was able to observe the exceptional skills of the team, learn about how they do so many things with their furry clients, and enjoy working in an environment where half of the bodies in the building have paws and whiskers. I have also spent the summer seasons off from school volunteering at Service Dog Project, a farm in Ipswich, MA that raises, trains and donates Great Danes to become mobility-assist service animals. The Service Dog Project has donated over 170 Great Dane service dogs to people with balance issues due to neurological diseases or war injuries to assist them in achieving greater independence. I highly recommend both of these organizations, and have included them in my shared links for your reference.
I have had three dogs so far in my life – a rescued Great Dane/Yellow Lab mix named Timber, a big’ol Cane Corso named Juno, and now a very sweet and incredibly goofy Great Dane named Nessie. My Mom rescued Timber when I was young, and even though I spent only a couple of years with him, I loved him very much and felt that we had an incredible bond. Juno was the dog I had for most of my life – for almost 12 years, until we lost her to cancer. She was my best friend, and just as she was right by my side from the age of 5, I was by her side until the very end. And Nessie – oh Nessie! There is never a dull moment with our Loch-Ness Noodle! She is the sweetest 100 pounds of big-eared silliness I’ve ever known, and keeps us laughing all the time.
Please fill out the Contact Us form, or get in touch with Reagan to set up an in-home session at your convenience.