Five years ago our family grew by four legs and a tail. We decided it was time to get a dog. After raising three kids into the teen years, our fourth “child” Louie, the rescue Bichon was by far the most challenging! He was white and fluffy on the outside but anxious and fearful on the inside. Unknowingly we rescued a damaged dog which caused our family many trials in the midst of great joy and love.
Louie won our hearts after a week of struggling to make our house as his new home. Louie’s love for his family was at times overshadowed by his fear of all others. Quickly we learned we had to protect our friends and family and any other innocent bystander from our crazy dog. We tried everything to keep him from barking and making others scared and uncomfortable. Bark collars, anxiety sweaters, special treats, CBD oil, and more were invested in. Even in the midst of difficulties, he won our hearts, and we have grown to love him as we never imagined.
Louie transformed us into dog people. And our love and patience for him transformed him into a gentler, kinder, but still crazy dog. While he is our pet, he has also been a good teacher in some special ways.
Here are some things I have learned from my rescue dog over the last five years.
Reflect the light.
Louie is covered in pure white fur. When we walk him at night I always marvel at how he “glows”. Even the slightest light from a street lamp, car headlight, or phone reflects off of his fur. I always feel as if I can see in the dark because he is lighting my path with his white fluff. This is such a great reminder of how we can let the smallest glimmer of light reflect off of us and light the way for others. Letting love, kindness, and respect shine from our hearts will make a difference in the lives of those around you. Let your light shine especially in the darkest places of life.
You might not be for everyone and that is ok.
You have probably heard the familiar saying “find your tribe, love them hard.” When we rescued Louie and brought him into the Lambdin tribe he took this quote to heart. He loves the five of us so very well. However, if you knocked on our door… you would not feel Louie’s love. He knows us and trusts us and therefore loves us. But Louie is not the dog that loves everyone. At first, when we realized Louie was not a “friendly dog” to others we tried to train him to be. It was a losing battle. Eventually, we accepted who he is and let him love us and us alone. He knows who he loves and trusts. He knows his boundaries. Louie is a one-family dog and that is ok:)
We need to know who our tribe is and love them well. Plain and simple.
Your community cares even when you are unaware.
This past July our family was up in northern Michigan. One evening we were out to dinner and Louie escaped out of our house and started to run down the road. When my cousins called for him he continued to run and go further away from home. As soon as we heard we raced back to help search but he was nowhere to be found. It was quickly getting dark and the thought of our bright white dog being out in the backwoods of northern Michigan was traumatizing.
Around midnight we still had no idea where he was. I decided to post in a community Facebook group for the lake we live on. Within 10 minutes of posting, I had a K-9 search and rescue team come to our house with search dogs. They took Louie’s dog bed so they had his scent. They searched into the early morning hours along with numerous others in our lake community.
All of these people searching in the dark night hours had never met me, my family, or Louie.
They showed up because of who they were. Not because of who we were.
To make a long story shortish… Louie was found after 18 hours of searching. He traveled over 3 miles away from our house throughout the night. He was rescued in a swampy wooded area known for predators such as fox, coyotes, bear, and even wolves. Louie didn’t know he had a community that cared for him. He didn’t show love or care to any of these people. In fact, he would bark and run from any of them. But Louie’s community searched and cared from him regardless.
I believe you also have a community that is ready to show up for you. They will show up even though you might be unaware of their presence. Perhaps you have counted yourself out but there is a community ready and willing to rally around you when you need it most. It isn’t as complicated as it seems. People are ready to step up to help, to search, to love. People want to be there for you. Don’t discount those around you. You are valuable to your community more than you know!
You can be rescued more than once
We first rescued Louie in June of 2015. He was abandoned and in need of a family to adopt him. We also just rescued Louie again in July of 2020 up in northern Michigan. If need be we will rescue him a third time, a fourth time, and so on. You are never beyond the place of being rescued. There are always second, third, fourth chances. Every morning is a new day and can be a fresh start.
Stop and smell the roses and everything else too!
Louie is a terrible walker! I see all the well-trained dogs out for walks that don’t pull on the leash and don’t stop every other second to sniff. Then there is Louie. He is stopping, pulling, twisting the leash around me just to get one more smell of all the smells. Louie is not concerned about his destination or speed. He is fully emersed in his experience. Careful to not miss anything. Taking his time inhaling it all. On every walk with Louie, I have learned to slow my pace down and enjoy Louie’s pace of life. It is so good to slow down. Our culture is on a fast track to nowhere so much of the time. Take the time to slow down and inhale life and exhale hurry.
At times life lessons can come from the least expected teachers and creatures!