Amber’s Texas Adventure Story

Amber is BACK from her Texas Adventure!

A note from Amber McGinnis, Owner and Pet Pamperer at Amber’s Pampered Pets:

Amber McGinnis and ranch dog Callie

I am back from my amazing adventure working as a wrangler on a guest ranch in Texas for 9 months. I lived the cowgirl life to the fullest degree-rounded up cattle, learned to rope cattle on my horse, branded and vaccinated cattle, cared for 28 horses, fixed fences, came off a horse and broke my finger, hauled hay (lots of hay), learned all about cowboy etiquette, trained my horse to watch a cow, and met people from all over the world! I lived in a small cowboy town where everyone knew everyone, no one hesitated to help their neighbors, being respectful and chivalrous was second nature, and rain was a good thing. I also learned to drive a limo-with longhorns on the hood and all! (Parking it was another story though!) Other duties that I had on the ranch were cleaning the bunkhouses, fighting with the never ending pile of laundry, doing dishes, general cleaning, mowing, and the guests were lucky that I only had to cook for them one time!  

Amber McGinnis on her trusty steed, Nocona

After having been my own boss for many years now, it was a humbling experience to work for someone else, but it gave me a new perspective on how I interact with people, and I am grateful for the experience  It was definitely out of my comfort zone, and I feel I have grown leaps and bounds from the whole adventure.  I have stayed in touch with a lot of the guests and now have friends all over the world.  

So you may hear a few more ‘y’alls’, ‘yes ma’ams’, and ‘fixin’ to’s’ out of me, but my heart for service has only grown bigger.  I brought that ‘Texas hospitality’ back with me to enhance my pet sitting service, and I am excited to share it with all of you!

Check out my Instagram @amberspets to see a ton of amazing pictures I took on my adventure! 

~Amber McGinnis 

Why Texas?

So most of you know that I spent 9 months in Texas working as a wrangler on a guest ranch, but most of you probably don’t know how I ended up in that small Texas town originally. Well, ever seen ‘Catfish’?  Yeah, that happened to me.  I met a fella online, we talked and formed a relationship for 10 months, but when we finally met, Mr Perfect ended up being Mr Perfectly Already Married.  I was heartbroken but determined not to let him ruin Texas for me.Texas Adventure

So I stepped out of my comfort zone and took the wrangler job, a job I really didn’t know much about and certainly never had any experience doing. I went from riding my horse (that I had only learned to ride about 6 months prior to leaving for Texas) a couple times a week, to riding daily, sometimes 8-9 hours a day, that was a painful adjustment on my rear end. :)  I didn’t get any ‘this is how you do it’, I just had to figure it out.  1800 acres of trails, up to 8 guests riding with me at a time, had to keep an eye out for a herd of temperamental buffalo and make sure my riders were safe and enjoying themselves.  A lot of the guests were from overseas, so I had to adjust to a language barrier as well.

Texas Article

Texas Article

But I loved every minute, every challenge I conquered, every happy memory I made, every wonderful person I developed a friendship with, every new skill I acquired, and best of all I met the real Mr Perfect, the love of my life!

So my advice to you, get out there, out of your comfort zone, conquer your fears, take chances, cherish the simple pleasures in life, and don’t date internet cowboys. :)

During my stay on the ranch, a Canadian magazine wrote an article about Texas, including the Bar H ranch and my story as well. After photographing my awkwardness, he came out with some great photos!  You can read the story HERE on pages 28-35.
Texas Adventure Amber McGinnis

Yeehaw  :)

Life is Fluid

photo-9“If you go, nothing will be the same when you get back.”  This was the general sentiment from my friends when I told everyone I was planning to take advantage of an opportunity to be a wrangler on a guest ranch in west Texas, for 8-9 months, 1200 miles away from where I grew up and have always lived and have my pet sitting business.  And you know what?  They were right.

But is that a bad thing?  Do we all aspire to stay in one place, on one path, in our comfort zone for our whole lives?  Never trying new things, meeting new people, never experiencing all the amazing things that are just beyond our comfort zone?  And why?

Because change is difficult.  But growth comes from change, and difficult isn’t synonymous with impossible.  Life is fluid, you either move with it, or get banged up on the rocks trying to hold on.

I let go. I stepped out of my comfort zone, into a world I knew very little about, and I dove in. It wasn’t all smooth sailing, there was a pretty big learning curve with some things on my adventure. I had never tacked up 8 horses by myself and led a group of children and adults on 1800 acres of unmarked trails before my first day on the job.  I had never mended a set of leather reins that broke while we were out in the back acreage of the ranch before.  I had never been in the situation where I had inexperienced riders with me horseback, and the herd of buffalo decided they wanted to play chicken that day.  I had never driven a limo before.  I had never mended barbed wire fence before.  I had never roped a calf before, and my horse didn’t have any experience either.  I had never branded, vaccinated or castrated cattle before.  I had never seen so many enormous spiders, snakes, and scorpions before, let alone finding some of these creatures in my own bed!

But I embraced the learning experience and pushed myself as much as possible to step out of my comfort zone.  And I learned.  And I grew.  Probably in girth as well as character because the ranch food was amazing!  It was a whole new world to me, and now it’s a part of me, a part of what makes me, Me.

I brought back a renewed passion for my pet sitting.  Through unfortunate events, I was able to connect with Patty Cope, who couldn’t be more perfect for APP.  I’ve learned from my mistakes and have instituted changes to prevent future mistakes and make the APP experience better for the client.

And no, nothing is the same now that I’m back.  I have new skill sets, a new passion for riding, a new understanding of cultures apart from the one I grew up in, new friends, new family, new love, and a new outlook on life.  I had the opportunity to develop relationships with people from all over the world.  I soaked it all in, all the conversations, the bonds we formed, and the memories made.  I made it a point to ask people about their lives, their relationships, and any wisdom they had to pass along.

I had an amazing adventure in Texas, and I am so glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone to try something new.  I am excited to see what the new year brings, and I appreciate everyone’s loyalty and support.  Patty and I look forward to continuing to provide you with exceptional pet care and peace of mind.

~Amber McGinnis

 

APP Blog

Don’t squat with yer spurs on’ and ‘Don’t drink water downstream from the herd.’ These are some of the old adages from the west where I recently had the opportunity to visit. Now, these particular pieces of cowboy wisdom may not directly apply to us here in the Michiana area, but I did find one set of cowboy standards called ‘The Code of the West’ that struck a chord in this midwestern girl’s heart, not just in my own life but at the heart of my pet sitting company, Amber’s Pampered Pets.

horse

Some of the key points to the Code of the West are ‘Take pride in your work’ and ‘Always finish what you start.’ This is something that we APP pet sitters can relate to on a day to day basis. We take our responsibility to care for your pets and homes very seriously, and when you return home, we know that we did the absolute best job we could to pamper your pets. We also know that plans can change in an instant, and we are committed to offering a reliable service that we will see through for as long as it takes for you to return home safely to your loved ones.

‘When you make a promise, keep it’ and ‘Do what has to be done.’ Giving our clients peace of mind is our top priority. We all have pets of our own, and we know firsthand how good it feels to not have to worry, knowing our pets are in good, capable hands. We aren’t the ‘bare minimum’ type of pet service. We go above and beyond because we care about your pets and homes the way we do about our own.

horse2

The final two points I want to talk about are ‘Remember that some things aren’t for sale’ and ‘Ride for the brand’. We don’t do this for the money, we aren’t going to nickel and dime you, and we genuinely love animals and people. We get a great deal of fulfillment out of offering these services, and money can’t buy that! Riding for the brand sounds more like an old west ideology but this concept really is universal. It means staying true to yourself, being completely committed to your friends, your responsibilities and your community, and doing the right thing even when no one is looking.

We here at Amber’s Pampered Pets have set high standards for ourselves as individuals, as members of this community, and as pet sitters being given the privilege of caring for your pets. So, the next time you ride off into the sunset, take comfort in knowing your pets are being cared for by individuals that embrace the mindset of The Code of the West. Happy trails y’all!!

Amber McGinnis,
Owner and full time Pet Pamperer at Amber’s Pampered Pets