Man’s Best Friend!

God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:25

This past Sunday, I happened to be sitting near a family who brings a service dog to church for their child.   Looking over,  I couldn’t help but stare at how beautiful this dog was.  The devotion and loyalty he demonstrated to his owner was apparent at a glance.  Just looking at him made me instantly feel calmer.  As I sat there watching him, I felt a great sense of gratitude to God for the gift of pets!

I have had dogs in my life since I was a young child and I can’t imagine life without a furry pal!  I think it runs in the family as Jules and our brother both have had dogs too.  In fact, my brother was known on more than one occasion to bring a stray home on a weekend visiting from college!  This is my faithful pup Louie!  This face and those big, brown soulful eyes have cheered me up on more than one bad day!


He always seems to know when I need him to just be there for me and he is definitely a great feet warmer on cold winter nights!  Does he act naughty from time to time? You bet, but the good definitely outweighs those times of pure dog stubbornness!  He has seen me through many ups and downs in my life!

As I perused Facebook this weekend, I noticed several comments from fellow teachers who were completing report cards with their dogs curled up beside them offering moral support!  What comfort they give, especially when we are stressed.

Jules follows and is a huge fan of  Captain Luis Montalvan and his dog Tuesday.  Captain Montalvan is a highly decorated U.S. Army Captain who suffered from PTSD.  In his book Until Tuesday, he tells the story of how they found each other and their story of healing. Now they travel the country advocating for veterans and sharing their story.

So if you have a dog, give them a big hug tonight and maybe an extra treat or two and say a little thank you prayer for these amazing animals!

Feel free to share a picture of your furry friend in the comments!



The Love of a Dog

The Love of a Dog

“Until one has loved an animal,

a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”

…Anatole France

So this is what happens when your kids grow up and leave the home. The pets now become the focus of your entertainment, pictures and laughter. As you can see I have been blessed with three of these four legged creatures. The oldest one, Riley, is the matriarch of the family. She was my daughter’s 16th birthday present. (My daughter is now 24, has her own house but doesn’t want that “hairy thing” in her house!!) The next lovely pup is Maya, Riley’s daughter. Maya doesn’t know she is a 85 pound golden retriever, she thinks she is a lap dog and when my recliner goes up she feels that is an automatic invitation to climb on my lap! Last summer, God only knows, we added this spunky little Schnauzer named Oreo. It was made very clear, very quickly when she arrived that there was a new boss in town. This tiny little thing pushed those dogs around and they let her. She is their chew toy, her cuddler, her personal warmer and probably a big pain in their necks, but they are always kind and gentle with her.

I don’t really remember a time in my life I haven’t owned a dog. And while I may complain a lot about what a pest they are, I don’t think I could ever be without one. I mean, who else greets you at the door like you have been gone for 20 years, even though it might have only been a few minutes. Is there anything more comforting than covering up on the couch and have the warm body of that dog curl around you. I think dogs are truly the only creature that loves unconditional. What great companions they make!! No matter how much we might yell at them, curse them out or secretly wish they would disappear, they still love us. And beyond being a great pet, dogs are therapeutic, service dogs, seizure dogs, anxiety dogs, drug dogs, bomb dogs, and have many other uses. A great story about a dog is called “Until Tuesday” by Capt. Luis Carlos Montalvan. It is an amazing story. I am both excited and honored to be able to hear Capt. Montalvan speak in a couple of weeks.

So, if you have a dog, give it an extra hug. If you don’t, go visit one. Don’t forget to check out rescue sites. There are so many loving dogs just waiting for a home. As a matter of fact the fundraiser Capt. Montalvan will be speaking for is a Golden Retriever rescue.DSC_9920Well, now I think it’s cuddle time! Happy Friday!!

Furry Friends Are a Gift From God!

Luis and Tuesday furryIf you haven’t already met them, I would like to introduce you to Captain Luis Montalvan  and his service dog Tuesday. Luis is a 17 year Army war veteran serving many tours in Iraq. Luis and many of our military men and women  coming out of service  are facing PTSD. PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It happens when someone has suffered a severe trauma. A person with PTSD suffers with nightmares, flashbacks and anxiety. Luis suffered all of these and life was not easy for him. That is “Until Tuesday.” Tuesday is this gorgeous golden retriever you see pictured above. The unbreakable bond they have formed is amazing. As a mental health worker I have dealt with many people with PTSD. Luis’s book “Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him” gave me such insight into what a person is truly feeling during their anxiety or panic attacks that I have been much better equipped to deal with my own clients who are suffering. There is so much more to this story than I could ever share here, so I strongly encourage you to read the book, check out their website, and his Facebook page. Luis and Tuesday travel all around the country lecturing about their written work and advocacy. I have personally seen what a dog trained in just anxiety can do for a person. I had a client last summer who had one. I love dogs, I love this dog Tuesday and I love the work Luis is doing. If you want to be inspired, read about this man’s story and also the dog’s story – he has a pretty good one of his own. These two are truly inspiring, and Luis quick sense of humor and talent with a camera will definitely make you smile!! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Until-Tuesday-Book-Cover furry