Following her heart
Dogs were always a way for Kira M’Lot to deal with the trials and tribulations of life.
“Basically, my stress release was always going to the animal shelter,” she explained.
“I would go to LAPS (Langley Animal Protection Society) and ran the dogs. That was my stress release, going to spend time with dogs.”
The stress was often the result of a traumatic brain injury M’Lot suffered when she was eight years old.
Trying to help a shorter child use a zip line which was set up in a back yard at a wedding, M’Lot was knocked off the unfenced portion of a deck and fell 14 feet, suffering a traumatic head injury.
The injury — a fractured skull and a severed temporal artery — affected her reading comprehension and ability to retain memory.
To this day, the 24-year-old still suffers from vertigo, dizziness and headaches.
Following her high school graduation from R.E. Mountain Secondary in 2006 — which she said would not have been possible without her mother serving as her tutor — M’Lot enrolled at the University of Fraser Valley with an eye on studying kinesiology.
“I was very involved with sport my whole life,” she said. “(Kinesiology) seemed like a natural thing to do.”
But her schooling lasted just a month as M’Lot struggled with the memorization necessary for the course work.
During her last few years of high school, M’Lot had spent time volunteering at LAPS.
“There was a German shepherd, Duska, who was distant to everybody; she didn’t relate to anybody,” M’Lot recalled. “She was one very anxious, wound-up dog.
“She was a little crazy and didn’t connect with people, however, one day that all changed.
“I was walking her, she just completely connected to me; she started to respond to me.
“From that day on, she would get excited every time I walked into the room.”
That connection left a lasting impression.
“It was that moment and that connection which really reinforced the love that they show to you when you work with them,” M’Lot said.
Armed with that experience, M’Lot decided to complete a dog trainer apprenticeship program.
Following that, she worked for a year at a Burnaby dog day care, Metro Dogs, before leasing space in Abbotsford for three years for her own business.
“I got a chance to build up my name, build up my clientele and get more experience,” she said.
And after settling her head injury lawsuit in December 2011, M’Lot had the capital to purchase her own property, a 7,200 square foot facility in south Langley on 0 Avenue.
“I like the community feel of Langley; I am not a city girl,” she said.
“To me, I am comfortable in that rural setting.”
M’Lot grew up on an acreage in Brookswood
Last month, she opened the doors to A Dogs Life K9 Centre, which is described as a 10-star resort for dogs and cats.
The facility provides large indoor heated kennels, Kuranda orthopedic doggie beds, secure outdoor yards, and much more.
The website describes the experience as like a day at the spa for pets, with the animals having a daily nap while listening to soothing music, plus the option of either an outdoor leisurely walk to enjoy the fresh air or a bath with a full body massage.
“I am trying to create a multisport dog facility; your one-stop shop for everything,” she said.
While it may be a pet day care during business hours, in the evenings, there is a large sports field ideal for dog sports, as well as training classes.
In addition to M’Lot, there is a part-time staff of four.
M’Lot said she still has emotional ups and downs about her head injury, but wants her story to be an example to others that they can’t let life’s obstacles slow them down.
“If this never happened to me, I would be doing kinesiology and in a completely different field,” she said.
“But I very much love what I do and I have created a life with stuff that I am good at.
“What I like to share with everyone is that it doesn’t matter if you have had an injury, it doesn’t mean you can’t do things any more,” M’Lot said.
“You may have to work a bit harder, but you just keep going at it. If you sit around and do nothing, you will feel worse.
“Why not take advantage of life? You have a second chance, why not live it?”
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