Andrew, reading the morning paper in one hand with a cup of coffee in the other, started quoting an article on one of the more popular dog trainers du jour. Every time he was about to say what the problem was, I absent-mindedly pre-empted him with the correct evaluation and training procedure.

Finally, he looked at me and said, “Why don’t you become a professional dog trainer? Any time I mention any article or magazine piece on dog training you always know the answers.”

At first I thought he was just jokingly pointing out the ridiculous amount of knowledge I have stuffed into my head about dogs. But he wasn’t. He continued, “You’re already helping all your friends and family for free.”

And here was his punch line. “These guys are making a couple of hundred dollars an hour!”

Even though 95% of trainers would laugh at hearing those numbers, it was a legitimate question. I actually do have enough training to get certified in my sleep. But I just looked at Andrew like he had three heads. “Why would I want to do that?!”

“Because you could be making a ton of money doing something you love.” He reiterated, “These guys

[the ones in the article] are making $250 an hour for in-house consults.”

“God bless your little heart. Aside from the small matter of where I’d materialize the time to do this, why would I want to work with problem dogs?” [Read work with people who are not fully understanding or knowing what to do about why their dogs are acting like dogs, and would like a simple, easy solution that won’t take much time.]

“Well, maybe, just maybe, because you know a lot and you’ve gotten really good with dogs.” Then he looked at me like why was I getting all huffy when he’d made a perfectly good–and maybe even a brilliant–suggestion.

I sighed and stood to clear my breakfast dish. “Look, I’m happy to help family and friends. And it’s true. I love dogs. And I love people. I just don’t think I’d love working with dogs and people professionally. Working with my mentoring clients keeps me busy enough, as far as people go. My dogs are my release from all that’s problematic about the world; they’re my safe haven, my happy zone. There’s no way I want to trade on that.”

He looked over at me, snapped the paper, and said, “And– you’d appreciate it if I never read you another dog trainer article again…”

“On Cesar Millan or Jon Katz, that would be correct.”

Andrew pushed his glasses up on his nose and said, “All-righty then. Moving right along…”

I laughed. “Yep, moving right along.”