Here is the next devotional in the church E-news from the book on Sita. The picture is from several of the dogs that director, Marlys Staley, had at the time. Can you tell she loves German Shepherds? The picture was taken at Circle Tail and in the picture book on Sita called Here to Bump and Bump to Hear!
From the book, PAW PRINTS ON MY SOUL: LESSONS OF A SERVICE DOG, By Jane Biehl, PhD
“Do not be afraid: do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 1:21
I was accepted. I had passed my home visit. What was going to happen next?
I waited eagerly to hear from Marlys Staley, the director. All of our correspondence was with e-mail because I have a hard time hearing on the phone. Finally, I received the message from Marlys. She made an appointment for me to come and visit the facility. She would not provide me with any information except to show up. When I asked her how long before I would receive a dog, she said the typical waiting period was one and a half to two years.
My heart sank. Here I was all excited and ready for a dog and then found out I’d have to wait so long! Karia must have misunderstood about a dog being available. My emotions felt like a roller coaster as I zoomed up and down between excitement to see what the program entailed and disappointment over having to wait so long.
Circletail was a four-hour drive from my house, so I drove down the day before and stayed overnight. I stayed by myself. I felt isolated in the hotel. Usually, I traveled with friends or a family member. All kinds of questions ran through my mind. What was going to happen? Would I get a dog or not? What would be demanded of me? Would the dog like me? Was I capable of taking care of an expensive and well-trained dog?
I realized how little I knew about dogs. We were not allowed to keep a dog in the house growing up. My family was a farm family that believed dogs stayed outside. My biggest fear was that I would ruin a perfect dog once I received one. Butterflies fluttered in my stomach for the entire drive down and the stay at the hotel. Needless to say, I did not sleep well that night.
The next morning, I drove the twelve miles from the hotel to Circletail. By now the butterflies were replaced by my pounding heart; it felt like it was going to burst right out of my chest. Of all the crazy things I had done in my life, what had I gotten myself into this time?
Once I arrived at Circletail, I was directed to the training center for the dogs.
I entered a huge room and stopped inside the door in amazement. The room held at least 15 dogs with their trainers holding their leashes. The teams were going around in a huge circle much like the obedience classes I saw at Pet Smart. But this circle was different. There were obstacle courses that the dog had to maneuver. They had to go through tunnels, walk on a thin rail, step on a swaying bridge, and slide under bars.
The director, Marlys Staley, approached me. She asked a foster mother to bring a dog to me. A beautiful, thin, slightly- built lab mix was brought to me and her leash was placed in my hand. My life was about to change forever.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17
Do not let me be afraid of change. Life may shift, but you are my constant and always