We got a dog!

There were so many nights he would come home from a shift and he didn’t have words to express what he had seen or been through. He just wanted a dog to come and lie across his lap and be there…something to pet and hold and not have to say a word.

…and Thunder is his name! Who could have known what a blessing a little miniature poodle could be! I am totally a big dog person, or at lease I was until this guy came into our lives. Growing up with dogs I knew the work it takes and I was NOT looking forward to having dog hair on everything. The constant sweeping and sniffling from my dog allergy did not make having a dog one of my top priorities, but my husband wanted something to help him through those tough days. There were so many nights he would come home from a shift and he didn’t have words to express what he had seen or been through. He just wanted a dog to come and lie across his lap and be there…something to pet and hold and not have to say a word. At first I wasn’t on board but the more I saw those nights and the stress the LEO life was having on our family I gave in and the search began.

I still wanted a big dog. I knew there would be hair (everywhere) but as we did our research we started looking for a dog that did not shed and offered the least problems for my allergies. I went to the local shelter and we searched rescues all over the U.S. trying to find the right dog. I had friends looking and family wondering what we were thinking! Then the text came. One of my good friends had a dog she thought would be perfect for our needs and she found him in the one location I hadn’t looked…Craig’s List!!! I called the lady that had Thunder and got the low-down on him. He was almost 2 and was living in a home with two young kids with #3 on the way. The owner didn’t want a dog anymore so she asked this friend to take him. The friend already had two dogs of her own so as much as she liked him she just didn’t want three dogs. She sent a picture of a fluffy-headed little pup so we decided to meet.

We met at a local Petco so we all felt safe and when we walked in I saw a lady with a scrawny, shaved, black, over-sized-rat looking thing that somewhat resembled the dog in the picture. I introduced myself and she explained that after the picture was taken the kids had gotten gum in his hair and he had to be shaved to get it out. Wow…this was NOT the dog I wanted and I actually told my husband I didn’t want him, but the boys and my husband were already hooked! The smell of cigarette smoke and lack of hair was all I saw, but they obviously saw something more in this little guy and that night in November 2016, Thunder became part of our family. We took the trembling pup into our arms, bought him a new harness (I was not keeping the one that smelled like cigarette smoke!), a bed, some food and a few toys and headed home with the newest member of our family.

Police Pup
Right at home!

We had been considering names since our search began but somehow, despite the size and look of this little tyke, Thunder fit, both as his name and into the hole we didn’t know had been missing in our hearts. Today I can’t imagine our lives without him. Thunder sleeps at our feet, usually with my younger son, but sometimes with me. He knows there are four of us in the house and he is never settled for the night until he knows everyone is home. He actually paces and sits as lookout (as shown in today’s heading picture) waiting until every one of us is home safely. Only then does he rest peacefully. He waits outside the bathroom doors for us and when one of us is gone he knows and will sit by that bedroom door wondering “where are they??” It is amazing how much he takes care of us. He knows when someone isn’t felling well or something is bothering one of us. He stays at the foot of the bed (actually ON my feet) when I’m not feeling well and today is hanging with my older son, who has been sick for several weeks. He has been following me for the past 15 minutes as I did tasks around the house and he finally stopped to eat only after I was seated back at the computer. He is our protector and even if he is only 10 lbs., he has the fight of a lion and will do whatever it takes to keep us safe. My husband is out bowhunting right now, so after doing his rounds to check on the other three of us, Thunder has resumed his post on the arm of his blue recliner, faithfully watching out the window for my husband to return and that is where he will sit until he hears the garage doors open and knows that his family of four is all safely home.

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What an amazing visual reminder Thunder is of the way our Heavenly Father is always aware of our needs and where we are. It is so easy to forget in the craziness of life, that just like Thunder, God knows our every need. He is there with us in good times and bad and even when we don’t have the words to express what we are feeling, He is there, like Thunder on my husband’s lap, to just BE THERE for us with no expectations! No words are needed. All we have to do is lean on Him and he already knows what we need.

I know God’s almighty love for us is much greater than what Thunder can provide but I don’t mind the cuddly little reminder every now and then, lying across my feet and just being there for me. What a warm feeling I get both from Thunder’s love and from the love provided on a much larger scale by my Father in Heaven who is also always watching over me, and my family. He’s there for you, too! All you have to do is ask.

Joshua 1:9 ~ Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

 

Lessons from Health Class

Our LEO life reaches into our boys’ personal lives. I never saw it that way until my son opened my eyes.

Health ClassLessons from Health Class…

 

My (almost 15 year old) son came home with an assignment that really got me thinking this week. He had to write out for Health class what his views and thoughts were on dating and relationships. If he brought his assignment back with a parent’s signature on it he got extra credit. His teacher said it was his way of getting kids to talk with their parents about topics that may be difficult or awkward. His assignment starts with these words… (he gave me permission to share this)…

I believe that people should date each other in order to get know each other better, find out if the affection they feel for each other is real and will stay, and to enjoy one another. The characteristics of someone I would want to date is that they are Christian, smart, adventurous, like to spend time outside, are not against hunting, are somewhat fit, are dating not just to date (they are dating to get to know me), are family oriented, and that understand the police/first responder family life.

He goes on to describe some activities he thinks are good to do, what he feels our guidelines are as parents for his dating life and what he has set as his own personal standards for a dating relationship.

I must say I got emotional as I read it. It has always been my hope and prayer to be the best mom I could be and to raise my kids “right”. I want them to choose appropriate behaviors because THEY think it is right, not just because it is what Mom and Dad say is right. I look at my “baby” who is about to turn 15 and I thank God for blessing us with such an amazing young man. I pray for him as he grows up in a world that just keeps getting more and more evil, and I pray he holds true to the standards he has set for himself. But while reading his assignment, one thing caught my attention… I wondered what exactly he meant by she will “understand the police/first responder family life.” So…I asked him. My husband and I were there with him so I asked my son what he meant when he wrote that. He explained…

“I want her to know the type of life we live. I want her to know that if you say we need to do something or I need to be somewhere, I need to do it. She needs to understand that we live a little differently than most families and I want her to understand that if we have to go…we have to go.”

Imagine my awe at his thought process. I never really thought about things like how us being a LEO family would affect things like our son’s dating life. He opened my eyes to a whole new world and thought process. Our children are a reflection of us, and the choices we make affect them in ways we don’t even think about.

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When I married my husband he was working on a farm. I never lived as the kid of a LEO and I don’t have the knowledge of what that feels like. My husband got into law enforcement one month before our first son was born so that is all our kids have ever known. What a mind blowing thought for me to think that my husband’s law enforcement career is shaping them into who they will be and that includes their future spouses and eventually their children and extended families. Our LEO life reaches into our boys’ personal lives. I never saw it that way until my son opened my eyes.

People outside of law enforcement sometimes have a hard time understanding why we do things the way we do. I am very vigilant and watchful. I am always scanning for danger and watching people. I am always looking over my shoulder and choosing my restaurants, driving routes, routines, etc. with care. People don’t know some of the things we know. People don’t see the evils we see, but that is how it should be. Law enforcement families know more about the dark side of life than anyone should have to, but knowing my son gets that and is thinking about how that will follow him in life makes me wonder…what else has he picked up that I don’t fully grasp?

How does he see me in my Christian walk?

What does he think of how I treat others?

Am I being a good example of kindness, compassion, strength, encouragement and love?

How is who I am and who are family is, shaping him into the man he is becoming?

The past few months have been pretty busy and crazy around our house. I feel like I’ve failed so many times at being the “best” mom I could be, but this health assignment has brought me back to a good place of realizing that there are always eyes watching me and the person I am, even within my four walls.

Thinking about my son dating used to scare me. I didn’t think I was ready to move into that phase of being the mom of a young MAN, but now I am more at peace about what is to come.

Who knew a high school health assignment could do so much for me? Thank you, Mr. Health Teacher, for providing those “awkward” conversations that turn out to be not so awkward after all! We have always had open conversations in this home and I am now ready to keep working on being a better me, so when my son does bring home that special young lady, she too will see what our family is like and how we live. She will need to understand that things are a little different for our son, living in a LEO family, but I am confident that any girl my son chooses will already know what she is in for. I just have to make sure I live up to the standards my son has set and don’t let him down. Sometimes I wonder who is teaching whom in this home…this week, it is my son teaching ME!

 

 

Health class picture found at:

https://media.victoriaadvocate.com/img/photos/2009/08/17/N_Procon_16X9_081709_C_61574_t640.jpg?a6ea3ebd4438a44b86d2e9c39ecf7613005fe067

 

Ripples picture found at: http://cdn1.theodysseyonline.com/files/2016/02/13/63590923851571493549820049_ripple.jpg

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