Let’s Start at the Very Beginning

It was always my dream that my kids would learn to play the piano. It was also my dream that they would take piano lessons from the same teacher as me.

There was one BIG problem. We had moved four hours away from my childhood piano teacher. How would we ever take lessons from her? It seemed impossible.

But I never let go of the dream, and one day I decided I was going to just do it…I would drive 3 1/2 to 4 hours, ONE WAY, so my kids could have music in their lives. I was thrilled when we were not put on the waiting list, but just accepted into the piano studio.

And so the adventure began. My kids were seven, five, and two years old and we became road warriors. We drove from Lindsay, CA, to Loma Linda, CA every Tuesday for four years. Our lessons began at 1pm and no matter if I left at 9am or 9:45am, I would roll into the driveway at 12:55 pm sharp and we would begin our three hours of lessons. I knew the road and distances perfectly to gauge how fast I needed to drive to arrive exactly on time.

I LOVED every minute. At first it was just my oldest two kids, but within six months I was back to taking lessons as well, and I was thriving!

But how does this relate to dogs? Once the piano adventure began, and the reality of the cost of lessons times three people, plus gas for the vehicle every week, I knew I needed to find something I could do to contribute to the family income. As a stay at home mom and homeschooler, I needed something that was home based, and preferably something that could involve the kids.

So I bought my first ShihTzu. That was March of 2003. Within a year I owned 10 ShihTzus and the rest is history. This past March marked 18 years raising dogs and in the midst of that, I raised my three kids as well.

It has been an incredible journey and I still learn new things every single day! I never dreamed I’d be a respected breeder and never knew it would be a lifetime of puppy breath and kisses.

Two days ago, a family that bought a Shichon puppy from us around 2008, reached out and asked if I still raised Shichons (I’ll admit right here that I’ve seriously considered finding a male Shihtzu to add to our program).

We then visited and she shared that her daughter recently found the “Potty Dance” video on YouTube that had featured their little pup, “Band Spot.” I asked her to share the link and when I clicked on it, I was taken to a forgotten YouTube channel (Kplata) with some vintage video clips from Silver Paw Kennels (before we changed the name to Cavachons). I also discovered an absolute gem of a video that I will share below.

Remember how I said we did piano for four years and I took lessons as well? This is a video of my best piano mom friend and me (her three kids took lessons as well) playing a duet together. This was at the height of the adventure, not long before we moved to Washington state.

This video makes me feel so proud and so happy. As parents, we modeled the piano thing, putting in our own hours of practice and teaching our kids how to work hard, and do hard things.

While our performance here is not without a few mistakes, we commanded the ending and had such a great time learning this together. I’m playing the bass part so you can’t really see me, except my long hair and glasses that peek out a few times. My dutiful children were firmly instructed to shoot a good video with my phone, and I’d say they did a great job.

I still love playing piano and if you want to hear some current snippets, I’ve posted a few on my personal Instagram account Grace Without Tears. Dogs and piano will forever be intertwined in my life and I can’t think of one without including the other. I hope you enjoy the music!!

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