I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I am writing a new devotion alternately with the devotionals on Sita in the book I wrote “Paw Prints on my soul: Lessons of a Service Dog.” These are appearing in the E-news for my church- Congregational United Church of Christ. Here is the second chapter in the book! I am enjoying the long lazy summer nights with SIta outside and talking to neighbors since she can no longer take walks. She loves to be in the grass and greet everyone who walks by. She has adjusted to getting older much better than me!
Jane’s Devotional Two
WHERE TO GO FOR HELP
I cried to my God for help. From his temple, he heard my voice. Psalm 18: 6
I needed to find a way that I could receive help before fear overwhelmed me. The suggestion had been made to me several times to get a hearing ear dog. I was uncomfortable with the idea of having a dog. My thoughts ranged from I can’t afford one, other people need a dog more than I do, and I don’t have the knowledge or the time for the training of a hearing ear dog.
When I told my mother about my friend who had been beaten and robbed, she said to me, “Are you going to get a dog now?” I felt God was giving me a nudge.
I had no idea where to go for a service dog. A nurse I knew was involved in a hospital dog therapy program. She had mentioned a hearing ear dog to me once, so I contacted her. She e-mailed me about a program called Circletail. She also sent an e-mail to Circletail, recommending me as a potential companion for a hearing ear dog.
Circletail’s program is very unique. All of their funding is through grants and donations. Many of the dogs are rescue dogs, given an opportunity of service while saving the dog’s life from extermination. Circletail’s rehabilitation extends beyond the dogs and includes prisoners who become temporary handlers and trainers. Once the initial obedience training with the prisoner/handlers is completed, the dogs are put in foster homes where they are trained to help individuals with special needs.
Interested individuals have to fill out a long application, have a home visit, and be interviewed by representatives from Circletail. They are particular about who is to receive these lovely creatures. The waiting list is long and it can take up to two years.
I filled out the extensive application and submitted three references. A representative from Circletail called and asked me if I could afford a dog’s veterinarian bills. I explained I had just spent a large sum of money on my ill cat. They told me that the next step was a home visit.
I was a nervous wreck about the home visit. When Karia came in to my home, we immediately bonded. She watched me interact with my kitty, who was still very ill. She saw my cozy home and that there was a field nearby for a dog to play in.
She explained all the tasks the dog could perform for me. The partnership between an assistance dog and an owner is a unique bond, so special that in the world of dogs, one never calls themselves an owner. Rather we are a companion to the dog. A human partner spends more time with an assistance dog than any other creature, human or animal. They are together 24/7. The dog accompanies its owner everywhere, including home, school, shopping, and eating out. They travel together on busses, trains, and planes.
The dog often ends up being a person’s ears, partner, and best friend. The human must depend on the canine to be alert and keep the partner safe. Meanwhile, the dog trusts the human for total care: to provide food, water, and love.
As I listened to Karia, my heart knew that God had pointed me to the right place. I began to dream of the day I would have a companion. Karia then told me that she would recommend me and said that, “There might be a dog available.” I was ecstatic when she left. God had it all planned out for me.
And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. Romans 8:27
Thank you for knowing my needs even before I do. Thank you for guiding me. Amen.