"She said, 'I have chills, Kim. I think an angel gave you this dog,' " Kim said. "At the time I laughed and said, 'I don't think angels do stuff like that Mom, angels are good!' " Kim said.
While Kim labored with her 8-month-old pet in obedience training, her husband returned to the Midwest to work. By early spring Ruckus was invited into beginner agility classes where Kim said they were the "class clowns." By September, the pair had made some progress.
"The next morning Jan said to me, 'Honey, I'm so proud of you and that darned dog running around out there,' " Kim said, remembering him relaxing on the bed, hands clasped behind his head.
It's an image she holds close as she and Ruckus continue to train and have earned six American Kennel Club titles in two seasons.
But Jan isn't sitting nearby to cheer for the pair. On Oct. 25, 2013, less than a year after adopting Ruckus, this father and husband died suddenly of a blood clot, a day Kim said, "Our lives changed in the blink of an eye."
Grief beyond measure, each day was eclipsed by tears. But slowly over time a path to healing emerged.
"God knew what he was doing when he sent me this border collie," Kim said, referring to how the agility practices and competitions have given her focus since her husband's death. "I do think Ruckus is an angel."
An angel that had to earn his wings.
(Lucy Luginbill is a career television producer-host and the Spiritual Life editor for the Tri-City Herald. In her column, she reflects on the meaning of her name, "Light Bringer." If you have a story idea for Light Notes, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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