Here is the next devotional from the book on Sita titled Pawprints on my soul: Lessons of a service dog. This was in our church E-news.

I am working furiously on editing my next book and hope to have it out in early 2021!

The bond with our pets is a very special one – ENJOY!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 29: 11-13

I had fallen in love with Sita from the second I gazed into her deep amber eyes and looked at her sweet expression. I was disappointed because Circletail’s first opening for the intense training required that we wait three long weeks.

Finally, driving the long way to Cincinnati, I reflected on the beautiful creature that was to be a part of my life 24/7 and honestly I was very frightened. I felt like a parent waiting eagerly to adopt a child. I knew I was in love with her, but would she be in love with me?

I stayed at a nearby hotel several miles from Circletail. I did not sleep much that night. I was worried about the next evening. I would be bringing Sita back to the room with me and from then on both of our lives would be different.

The next morning I eagerly drove the 12 miles to Circletail and entered the large room where the dogs were trained. Sita was lying quietly next to Marlys. She jumped up, ran over and started jumping up and down. Although this was not permitted, Marlys let it go. She said she immediately sensed that the bonding had begun. I petted Sita and exclaimed, “She remembers me!”

Marlys smiled. “It looks that way.”

Sita and I were meant for each other and God knew that.

Sita settled down next to me like she had been there her entire life. She did not leave my side from then on. During the next three days of training, I learned how to shop, go to the hotel, go

out to eat, and many other daily tasks with a dog at my side. I needed to learn about grooming, feeding, and caring for my partner. I learned about the American with Disabilities Act, and where I could legally take Sita. But most of all, Sita and I bonded.

To my relief, Sita and I were not alone. Another young, deaf, vivacious woman, Juanita, was being partnered with her beautiful Shit Tzu, Hinkle. Juanita had a constant smile on her face, boundless energy, and a great sense of humor. I liked her immediately and we would constantly sign to each other. Juanita was allergic to dogs, so Circletail had trained a smaller hypoallergenic breed to be Juanita’s ears.

Marlys gave us several ideas how to cement the bonding. One important task was to feed the dogs out of our hands for the next two weeks. I followed all of her directions and felt certain that we were bonding beautifully.

About 6 months after I had Sita at my side, an amazing event happened. I was sitting with a friend in a local restaurant near my home. A woman came over to me and asked where Sita was trained. I told her and she said she knew it was not a local place because Sita was so well behaved. This training center did not have a good reputation and I’d heard this comment several times.

The next statement, however, floored me. “I have worked with service animals a great deal. That dog never takes her eyes off you. The bonding you have is incredible. How long have you had her?” When I answered six months it was her turn to be astounded.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

Ecclesiastes 4: 9-11

Dear God,

Thank you for this special gift of Sita. Please let our bond be unbreakable and may I always live up to her trust. Amen.

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