My son has begged me for a dog for many years. The irony of this is that up until this summer Bridger has been very afraid of them so his requests for a dog have always confused me. Cautiously we waited on this request in an attempt to discern his reasons in wanting one combined with his fear of them. Whenever we would ask him why, he always told us that if we got him a dog it would help him overcome his fears. I must admit that I questioned this logic, however my wife and I decided we would give it some thought, a lot of thought.
There were many reasons why getting a dog for my son did not make sense for our family. With the extremely limited time we get to spend with our children, we knew that the chores associated with a family dog would fall upon my wife and I. Getting a dog with our incredibly busy schedules combined with our frequent travel would prove to be a difficult task to manage. We waited many years in making this decision, we wanted to make certain that this wouldn’t be a passing fad for the kids, especially my son who was always the most vocal, yet always the most fearful.
Over this past year, Bridger would often talk with me about getting a dog. His desire was overwhelming and his heartfelt pleas were felt. He expressed his sadness in not having a dog. He would often tell me that “every boy needs to have a dog dad.” I expressed my concerns to him, in only being able to see him 6 days a month, how would he ever take care of it? I asked him if I could get him one for his moms house, then he could spend time with the dog when we were apart. He would quietly sit there a moment and whisper to me, my mom moves too much and we can’t have one in the apartments. Then he would sadly look at me with the understanding of a man that he possesses and say, it’s OK dad, i know it would be hard to have one, I just really wish I could, he would be like my best friend in the world.
My heart longed to give him a dog. I wanted to give him everything in this world I could. It would help him learn responsibility and I knew how much he wanted one. How would we ever pull it off? How would it be fair to the dog?
Summer progressed and his desire was greater than ever. My wife and I spoke often about it and searched for solutions to our schedules to make this a possibility. Finally, as we talked, we both realized and understood the importance of this for our children and we would make whatever changes would be necessary for them to be able to have this desire. They had proven for years that this was a real dream for them and not some passing fad. I told my dear wife that I would take care of the dog and make the arrangements for it when we traveled and while we worked. We knew in our hearts that our children needed this and this would help them in this crazy mixed up life of theirs.
Late last July , my wife and I chose a weekend the kids were not home and visited the animal shelters in the county looking for the right dog. We were looking for a new member of our family and it had to be the right dog. We were both committed that it would be a rescue dog from a shelter and we would keep looking until we found the one. We wanted to surprise the kids. Then we found her, the perfect fit for our family. We would call her Jedi.
As anticipated the kids were ecstatic! Bridger was so excited and could hardly believe that we had gotten a dog. The embrace we shared as he hugged me permeated my soul to the deepest core, my son knew that his dreams were important to me and that I would always look for ways to make them happen. I watched as he would nervously pet Jedi on the head as he fought his fears. Then something miraculous happened. Jedi jumped up on him and licked his face, turned and ran around the backyard. Bridger wiped his face, laughed and began chasing and running around the yard with her, laying on the ground and trying to get her to play fetch,
I pondered this deeply for the next few days, The joy in my heart that I knew we had done the right thing for our kids, but more importantly I thought about the lessons this experience had taught me. My son had known and had been able to teach me this lesson of facing ones fears. That in doing so we not only overcome them, we conquer them and make them strengths within us. Bridger is no longer afraid of any dog, his example taught our family a great lesson in life. The other lesson learned, when we do what is right for our family and those we love the most, the obstacles that seem to be before us have a way of always working out.