September 24, 2018

Confessions of a Cat Lover {Therapy Dog Saga}

Yes. I admit it. I am an unashamed cat lover. :-)

We lover-of-cats often get a bad rap. Cuddly, soft, independent - what's not to love?!?
(Don't answer that.)

Anyway. What does this have to do with a therapy dog? Well, the story began a year ago.

My two boys have always been afraid of dogs. Very afraid. While I don't want them to be scared of our canine friends, it didn't really bother me either... After all, we are a cat family.

But then came the Joni & Friends Family Retreat 2017. We were THRILLED to go!!! We met wonderful families who could relate with our situation, we were sacrificially served by an amazing staff of volunteers, we were loved and restored.

AND, Grant fell in love with Ruby.

Ruby was a sweet service dog. The golden retriever faithfully served his handler, an adorable boy with autism. As we watched Grant spend time with Ruby, it was clear that dogs could influence Grant for the better. The calming effect Ruby had on Grant had only been witnessed before when Grant interacted with pigs.

Yes, pigs calm Grant.

Here's a little pig detour:

I grew up on a wonderful family farm. My parent's and brothers all still farm together. It is a huge blessing to escape to Minnesota in the summer and spent time together on the farm. Grant spends HOURS with the pigs.

Grant also gets his fix of pigs when we stop by a local NC farm.

Circling back to Ruby...

It was amazing to see the transformation a dog could have on Grant. Because of Ruby's gentle nature and training, Grant was able to warm up to dogs. Now he can't get enough of them.

Grant quickly became friends with my parents' farm dog, Liesl.
Balto, our neighbor's rescue dog, now has a special place in Grant's heart.

And then there is Peanut. 

My dear friend and neighbor, Roseanne, is getting up in age, so we gladly help out by walking her precious Peanut and dog-sit him when she is away from home. (Actually, I think Roseanne is doing us more of a favor than we are doing for her.)

Peanut is incredibly patient with Grant and allowed us the opportunity to teach Grant how to handle and care for a dog. 

Just being around Peanut, Grant becomes a calmer, less-anxious boy. And Grant communicates more when he is around dogs. It is incredible!

However, the tough part is when we have to take Peanut back home. Grant sobs when it is time to say good-bye.

After months of researching, seeking the advise of others and praying, we have decided to pursue a therapy dog for Grant. Because of allergies in our family, we need to get a hypoallergenic dog.

Will you support us in prayer? Please pray that we will find the right dog for Grant.

Thank you!

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