I have Hope

It’s probably come up from time to time that I have issues with depression and bi-polar disorders. It pretty much sucks.

Despite being a guy who prefers peace and quiet, I am pretty involved in stuff around my community. One of those organizations is Peace River Search and Rescue. I’m the Jeep team. My Jeep is useful for getting to places with more speed than a horse and more maneuverability than larger vehicles, such as an ambulance. It provides a platform for removing team members from the field or getting personnel someplace in a hurry. Finally, it’s a way to bring a victim to their loved ones quickly.

PRSAR hooked me with the Jeep, but they really reeled in the family when they convinced my daughter to begin training her dog, Cowgirl, to be a search and rescue dog. Rebekah, Cowgirl, and I have been learning the basics of SAR the past several months, including a lot of dog training. We’ve met some really neat people and amazing dogs.

One day two of those neat people were discussing a dog they weren’t bringing to training. She had been a police dog, working for a sheriffs office her in Florida when her handler committed suicide while they were in the patrol vehicle. The dog was presented to the widow who struggled to provide the care the dog required. Eventually she passed the dog on to the neat people I know, but they couldn’t figure out what to do with her. Well, they talked to me, and then talked to me some more. What she needed was someone who would be around A LOT to give her love and affection and break the trauma of her past and teach her a new way forward.

Jesus has been breaking me free from the trauma of my past and teaching me a new way forward for a while now. Part of that way forward, I’m pretty sure, involves dogs. I love dogs. We have two here. Well, had. Now it’s three.

Sometimes I ask God to give me hope. He answered. Hope is the latest furry addition to our family. I don’t know if she can help me write more or better. I don’t know if she’ll ever perform for the community as a service dog of some sort ever again. I don’t know if she’ll put up with the puppy’s crap from one minute to the next. But I do know I love her. Every time I look at her I’m reminded how tough things have been for her and how she needs to be handled appropriately. Eventually that understanding leads me to remember that lots of people have had stuff happen to them and they need to be treated decently, too. Finally, I remember that just because I’ve had it rough doesn’t mean it will stay that way. I mean, just look at Hope. Things are looking up for her.



My family’s deep, abiding love for … something furry

It’s been a tough week. I’m taking the last class for my bachelor’s degree and one of the assignments due this week really kicked my butt. To be honest, I haven’t given a lot of thought to any writing for a few days.

So what am I writing about today?

My dog.


Brandi is an 8-year-old Brittany. My youngest son rescued her from a shelter in 2008. In 2009 my son came to live with me, and a few months later Brandi joined us. My wife’s daughter Heather quickly fell in love and she and Noah have argued ever since about whose dog Brandi really is. Carolyn mostly argues about Brandi getting on the living room couch and the amount of hair she leaves lying around the house.

If you ask Brandi whose dog she is, I’m pretty sure she won’t pick just one of us, but all of us.

Noah bailed her out the day she was going to be put down at the shelter and she seems to know it. She always seems to know when he’s almost home from school and starts to get excited.

Heather always loves on her and Brandi is always there for Heather whenever she is down. Again, Brandi knows when the bus is due to arrive from the high school and she gets up from wherever she is and sits in the middle of the living room floor. When the bus pulls up her tail and butt start sweeping the floor. She bounds to greet Heather when she comes in.

Or, if not Heather, then Rebekah. Brandi loves her, too. Rebekah tries to play tough, and she does have a cat, but Brandi loves her anyway. I get a lot of joy from seeing this furry ball of excitement race to meet my family when they come home.

She knows not to jump at Carolyn, but she still gets excited when Mommy gets home. Sometimes Brandi gets so excited about it and she forgets and bounds to the door, then hits the brakes and slides to a stop right in front of Carolyn as she’s walking in.

Robert and Job aren’t around much, but Brandi still gets excited when she sees them. Job was just as much a part of her rescue as Noah. He was there in her home every day until she came to Florida. Both boys mess with her, playing games and tricking her by pretending to throw her toys. She loves it.

My dad calls her “Randi,” though I know he knows better, but I stopped correcting him a while ago. Besides, Brandi doesn’t care; she just knows she is going to get love from the short white-haired guy. Even my mom gets in on it, giving her love, and getting some in return.

I’ve never seen how Brandi reacts when I’m coming home, of course, but I know how she is when she’s around me. She shadows me most of the day when I’m home. My every movement is an invitation to play, go for a walk, or some other excitement.

I don’t want to keep her all to myself, but I’m pretty sure if you pressured her on it and she HAD to choose just one person to call her own, it would be me. And if anyone else in the family wrote this, they’d say the same thing.