A light bulb is full of potential. We know that it can provide light by which to work, play, read. But without a lamp to put it in, electricity to power it and a switch to turn it on, it is, well, just a light bulb. So many times over the years, a thing would inspire me to say, “that would be a great book.” I am sure many people have had similar thoughts. But actually doing something with those ideas was another thing entirely. I had a mental drawer where I stashed my light bulbs, and for the most part, they were out of sight, out of mind. But sometimes an idea is so powerful, it just won’t be ignored. When that happens, we are compelled to actually do something with the light bulb. For me, that powerful idea was Soren.
I have had a number of dogs over the years and loved them all. But when a little French Bulldog named Soren came along, there was a magical and almost instant connection and a little voice that whispered in my ear, “this one is special!” That little voice was right, but at that time I had no idea just how special. Soren was a unique being whose super power was his ability to bring out the best in everyone he met. When he settled next to you with his calm, self-assured presence, he let you know you were someone special. If you were hurt or feeling down, he knew it and he was by your side, offering quiet comfort. His happy, go-for-it, can do attitude about life was infectious. Soren made good things happen, and there was nothing that would stand in his way when he made up his mind to do something, whether it was an agility course or breaking out of a parked car to find me. He loved his friends, he loved agility, and above all, he loved me.
You would not think a little bulldog the likeliest candidate for an agility dog, and I admit that I was a skeptic at first. But from the first time Soren saw agility equipment, it was love. He lit up like it was what he was born to do, and he was a natural. When he ran agility, people stopped to watch, and could not help but smile. It was one of life’s greatest gifts to me to have him as my agility partner, and he brought much joy to others with his humor and passion for the sport.
We started out with few expectations—have some fun, maybe earn a few titles. But it became clear that Soren had bigger plans. Though he wasn’t the fastest agility dog out there, he was fast enough, and, over time, became one of the most consistent agility dogs around. What began as a little joke—maybe he’ll get an agility championship—quickly started to look like a real possibility.
I won’t give the story away, but suffice it to say that Soren left some impressive paw prints on French Bulldog history. And more impressive than what he accomplished, was the way in which he accomplished it. He was full of spirit, enthusiasm, good humor and determination, and everything he did, he did with all his heart and his own special style. He made friends wherever he went, and no friend was ever forgotten.
I often thought over the years, that Soren would make such an endearing character for a children’s book: his sweet, comical expressions, his positive attitude, his kind and loving heart. And his fierce determination offered a powerful lesson for children and adults alike, that we are not defined by our limitations, but rather by our will and ability to reach beyond them.
A few years ago, I decided it was time to take that persistent light bulb, and screw it into a lamp, and so on a whim, I sat down and started writing. It was like the wisps of ideas that had floated around my subconscious for years had formed themselves into a cohesive thought in my conscious brain, and I needed to write it down before it could float away again. I confess it was a bit stream of consciousness, but I just began and, from there, let it take me where it would. Down the road, it would go through many iterations, but more about that later. For now, the important part is that I started writing, and that enabled all that would come after. I wasn’t sure yet where to put the lamp, but finally the light bulb had a home.