Sunday, April 26, 2009


I know it isn't exactly the same, but I feel like I can relate to Hannah in the Bible. I have always, always wanted a dog of my own (and yes, I know that wanting a child is NOT the same as wanting a dog, but bear with me). My parents are not animal people. They DID let me have a parade of small animals that could be kept in cages. We started with a hamster that lived so long it's fur went grey. The next few weren't quite as lucky. Then I got one gerbil and ended up with nine! That was a bit of surprise. I also had a guinea pig that died of pneumonia. Go figure. After having a couple of these small, furry animals for my own children, I appreciate anew how much my parents were willing to give when it came to having a pet. (personally, I think a cat is about the easiest pet ever)

But no matter how much I loved Chippy, Ginger, Spice, Cleo and all the others, I would still spend hours in the pet store drooling over the puppies. I'd bring a little pad of paper and add up all the things I'd need and how much it would cost. (btw, just a heads up - NEVER buy a puppy from the pet store!)

When I got married, I thought at long last I'd be able to have a dog. But, although my husband had a cat when I met him, he was not an animal person. I was married 14 years before I finally got my puppy. He was so cute - he looked like a little stuffed animal. I told God when I got my puppy that if it was at all possible, I'd really like to use him to minister to people, to bring them cheer and hope. There is nothing like doggy kisses to brighten your day.

Well, Kipper is now about 20 months old. He has been through puppy kindergarten, basic obedience, advanced obedience, gotten his canine good citizenship, and today, he passed his certification to be a therapy dog. One of the things I've always dreamed about came true today. My plan is to not just visit in nursing homes (and the elderly LOVE Kipper because he looks just like Lassie) but to also go to area schools to teach kids how to interact with dogs. In our county alone, there were 215 dog bites, many of those being children. Dogs can be a wonderful part of our lives, but many children either haven't had the chance to be around dogs or have had bad experiences. I want to open that world to them - the joy of communicating and sharing companionship with another species - and today, when Kipper passed that test, my dream came true.

I was so nervous yesterday and today. I even felt kind of sick to my stomach. Before we left, I just said, "God, either we pass or we don't. It's up to You." In His goodness, we did pass. I know many of you are thinking well, does God really care about someone's dog? The answer is God can use anything that we fully give to Him. I am looking forward to seeing how God will use Kipper in someone's life, even if is just bringing a smile to their face on an otherwise melancholy day.
~ Blessings, Bronte

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