Meredith Daugherty '12 knows what it feels like to have an “internal compass.” It may seem as if she threw caution to the wind when she recently changed careers, having had a great job and enjoying life with her new husband, but the steps leading her to live her dream were quite calculated. Now she believes she is exactly where she was called to be, where her compass sent her.
As an eighth grader and coming from a local Catholic elementary school, Meredith visited SUA during visitation week and saw how bright, cheery, and welcoming the school is; she felt that it was a place where she could belong. She recalls the yellow lockers that met her when she entered the building. As a student the next fall and over the next four years, Meredith became involved in many extracurricular activities, including Varsity basketball, golf, and the Students Equipped to Advocate for Life (SEAL) club. She was also a Eucharistic Minister. Meredith worked on donation drives and helped to spearhead card-making for sick members of the community, supported by the SUA administration.
Fast forward a few years, and Meredith attended Bowling Green State University, where she focused on Spanish Education, which she later changed to Physical Education. During her college days, she fostered a dog and volunteered to puppy-sit for others. After graduation, she got a teaching job at SUA, and the administration welcomed her home.
Prior to college graduation, Meredith had researched assistance dogs, canines who provide help to people who are disabled in some way. During her summers in high school and college, she worked a part-time job and credits SUA for her strong desire to be of service to others. She said she still gets a special feeling when she helps others, especially four-legged, barking friends. She became aware of the great need for volunteers to work with assistance dogs.
Meredith worked at SUA for several years teaching girls physical education, health, women’s health, exercise, nutrition, and personal fitness. Her heart was happy, but it was not full. She knew something was missing. Even though she enjoyed teaching the girls, she knew in her heart that she was destined to do more.
Eventually, Meredith learned about a school that specifically trains individuals to work with service dogs. She had to go to California to complete the nine-month program, leaving her husband behind. Without hesitation, her husband said that he supported her dream. Meredith believes it is the best decision she has ever made and credits her husband for his unwavering support.
She challenged herself to be self-reflective. She learned early on that she was willing to try new things and wanted to make a bigger impact. Although she is no longer in the classroom, Meredith works with her students—two-legged and four-legged—to improve an individual’s quality of life. She knew she was called to do more. She has no regrets and believes that she is a better dog trainer because of her teaching background.
Being self-aware is much like self-care. For some it may take more time, but when one knows herself, it is easier to address her needs. Meredith combined her love for teaching and her love for dogs into a career of a lifetime.
- Self Care