Super excited to have my niece, Rachel Fleshman, as a guest blogger for our Puppy Lessons series. Rachel’s a wonderful mom, wife, daughter and puppy owner. Add to that the hectic professional life as an editor for a local business and her service in the Body of Christ and you’ve got a recipe for some frantic moments and lifelong memories. I am challenged and encouraged by Edgar’s lessons and trust you will be too. Thank you, Rachel!
Puppy Lessons from Edgar
Brilliant sun, blue sky, cotton-ball clouds: it was a beautiful July day. My mom, who watches my two young daughters while I work from home, was outside playing with the oldest when it happened. Enter police at our door, cops combing the neighborhood, questions, police reports: our neighbor had been robbed.
That one moment in time changed the entire course of my summer. I was now living in fear: I couldn’t open my windows or doors. I sat in my house and cried. How could this happen? Were we next? What if something happened to our girls?
I had to do something. My husband and I have talked off and on for a few years about getting a second dog, and now seemed like the perfect time. It’s what I needed to feel safe: another protector for our family. Juliet (our six-year-old collie/shepherd mix) was going to get a friend! And I was finally going to get my peace of mind back.
I spent hours over the next month trying to find the perfect match for our family. After several failed attempts to adopt a dog, I was ready to forget the whole idea. Then I found him: the cutest little boxer/golden retriever puppy! He was EXACTLY what we had been looking for, so I sent in the application. We were tentatively approved to get him, but the rescue wanted us to bring our girls to meet the puppies and see how they would react together (the puppies and the girls).
Fast forward about a week: this little black ball with a white stripe down his nose and four white paws was curled up in my lap while we drove down the highway that crisp Saturday in early September. We were taking him home…sort of. The woman at the rescue suggested we take him for a 24-hour trial period to make sure he did well with our girls. We let our oldest daughter “name” him (we picked out two names and she made the final decision). I “knew” Edgar (for Edgar Allen Poe) would do just fine, and we’d be keeping him. I couldn’t stop smiling or snapping selfies and Edgar and I.
Everything was going great: he was doing well with the girls, was a quick learner, and Juliet loved him. Sunday afternoon, I texted the woman and told her we wanted to keep Edgar. It was all set – she’d bring the paperwork that evening and he’d be ours forever.
It’s what I wanted. It’s what I needed to feel safe.
I doubted God so much during the weeks following the burglary and wasn’t shy about voicing my anger at Him. God brought people into my life during that time who showed me Bible verses and encouraged me. I didn’t always want to listen, but as the weeks wore on, I began to feel a little more safe in my own home. Slowly, very slowly, my anger dissipated. In one conversation with my brother, he told me that “safe” is only a state of mind. Look how easily my physical feeling of “safe” shattered. One small moment in my day, less than an hour, and it took away everything. But God. He would always be there, giving me peace beyond my own understanding. No dog, no security system, no fenced-in yard could keep me “safe.” Only in Him would I find peace again.
But what about Edgar? He was still what we wanted, even if I didn’t need him to feel “safe” anymore. My husband and I had previously talked through everything and thought we could make it work: schedules, housebreaking, training, chewing, nipping. All of the craziness that goes along with two kids under 3, a dog, and a 10-week-old puppy. We could handle it…or so we thought.
When the woman came to finalize everything, I sat near this beautiful puppy I had already considered mine and sobbed unashamedly while my husband explained to her that we couldn’t give Edgar everything he deserved.
I cried the rest of the night and off and on for the next couple of days (and if I were being honest, I’m crying as I type this). I cry because I truly wanted Edgar. I cry because I had to let go of something I fell so deeply in love with in such a short amount of time. I cry because what I thought I wanted ended up not being the best thing for my life right now.
However, I am rejoicing that God has shown His will to my family in everything, even something so small as a puppy. He gave my husband and I the wisdom and discernment we needed that day, even though our hearts were trying so desperately to lead the way.
I will never forget you, Edgar, nor the lessons I learned from you. I hope you are in love with your forever family, little bubba. We miss you.