Lives Touched

The number of hearts touched by the wonderful dogs God uses in this ministry is amazing! Here are some of their stories.

A Blessed Visit
By Ron Leonard, Nashville, TN

Dear Chaplain Larry,

Hi there again, my brother! As I shared earlier, "Molly" and I had the blessed privilege of visiting Nashville's 911 Communications Center. She brought laughter, joy, and, yes, even some tears as these men and women hugged and petted her. As you know these folks are literally on the front lines when it comes to life or death. And the men and women in Law Enforcement depend on these folks with their very lives. They are hoping to make Molly a regular visitor ☺

Blessings!

A Double Thank You
By Jim Kidwell, Mt. Juliet, TN

Larry,

This note (a little long) is to say "Thank You" for following our Lord's leading in starting and running this ministry.

In early 2015, Bouc and I met the Behnkes at Hope Lodge, Nashville. They were from Dyersburg which is west TN. Richard had been diagnosed with cancer and was staying in Nashville for treatments. They had only been at Hope Lodge a little while when Bouc and I arrived.

Richard was a pastor in Dyersburg and his wife Barbara was now his caretaker in Nashville. They loved the idea of God's love on four paws, covered with fur! The fact that my father had been a minister, added to our immediate bonding. They took Bouc's photos via iPad to "show their church" how God was showing them love in Nashville. I'm told that Bouc's picture and God's love through him, were used in a sermon in Dyersburg while the Behnkes were Nashville.

Barbara fell in love with Bouc (and God's love in this manner) and each time she saw him, just hugged and loved on him - of course, Bouc responded well.

The last time I saw them, they were just arriving back at Hope Lodge from a treatment while Bouc and I were in my car ready to leave the parking lot. I stopped, rolled down the rear window and Barbara came running over to my car. Through the open rear window, she hugged Bouc's neck and then exclaimed, "I thought we weren't going to be back in time to see you!!"

A couple of months ago, I happened upon the attached photo and did some on-line research, finding that Rev. Richard had passed. I sent a sympathy card to Barbara and included Bouc's Canines for Christ card.

The note attached was her response.

Again, "Thank You" for allowing Bouc and me to serve our God in this way.

A Georgia Special Olympics Memory
By Mike McWhorter, Braselton, GA

Dear Chaplain Larry,

When we began the pursuit to get our dog Gracie certified as a therapy dog with Canines for Christ, I don't think we realized the impact that we would see in the groups that we work with. I have seen a special needs child deathly afraid of all dogs be won over by Gracie in one visit. I have seen an Alzheimers patient who was ecstatic that she remembered that Gracie had a brother named Butterbean. And while at a fall festival, I have walked up and handed Gracie to a teenager crying her eyes out, by simply saying "She wants you to hold her." I firmly believe God works through Gracie as seamlessly as He works through a gifted preacher. Different people need different approaches. And truthfully, Gracie breaks down barriers that I never could. She might not know where she is going on a visit, but she knows why.

As we were walking around a Georgia Special Olympics competition last year, Gracie went from group to group, making sure everyone had an ample supply of love. I felt a tap on my arm, and turned around. A little girl promptly told me "Your dog looks different." Which is true, because Gracie has a birthmark over her mouth, and a little cleft also. So we agreed on the fact that Gracie looked different. Then the girl followed up with "But there is nothing wrong with that, is there?" And I told her absolutely not. She got a big smile and ran to tell her friend that she was right, there's nothing wrong with looking different. That one has stuck with me ever since. Several times over the last couple of years I have run across families that we visit. They usually know me as Gracie's dad, which is fine by me.

As our family watched the World Special Olympics last week, it was so special because our good friend Will Crain competed, and won a GOLD medal!! We are thankful that C4C has allowed us to partner with them to spread God's love. Shelley works tirelessly behind the scenes to coordinate new teams and look for places we can make a difference. We three as a team have enjoyed our work, if you can even call it that. This is fun.

A Letter from Cody
By "Cody" Randolph, Tampa, FL

Hi, my name is Cody. Almost 3 years ago, I was asked by my Papa (I am his grand dog) to be the lead dog in the startup of Canines for Christ ministry. Papa, is known to humans as Larry Randolph, but to us dogs and grandkids, he is affectionatly known as Papa.

When we started, I really wasn't too sure what he wanted me to do, but I just followed along as he directed. Because I am a Golden Retriever, (smart and handsome) I was quickly accepted by the people he took me to visit. As a family dog, I had only been around people that were healthy, but he took me to see the people that seemed to really need and appreciate me - the old, sick, lonely, dying, grieving, and many severly injured from a war far away from me. As I now sit in my yard under this old oak tree, I smile when I think of all these people and how I made them happy, even if it was for just a few minutes. Over the years, we went to many places and saw thousands of people. Sometimes I think the hair on my head is a little thinner from all the petting that I received. I don't mind though, as I just loved all the people. Papa told me often that Pastor Matthew said I was "Jesus with fur on". I smile at that, because there is not a person that I don't love and Papa tells me that Jesus loves everyone too. I hope to meet him one day and sit at His feet, look into His eyes and tell Him what an honor it has been to be used by Him on this earth. I know I can't talk, but I am sure He will understand. Papa and Susie (Mama) always said that there was 4 of us walking the halls and visiting patients. Funny, I couldn't see him, but I could feel His presence...and it relaxed me.

As I get older, it is hard for me now to run after squirrels and jump into the car, so I am going to enjoy my final years with my family and my new girlfriend Gracie (a beautiful white lab!). Well, I must go now, as little Luke (2 years old and somewhat of a pest to me) is trying to throw me a ball. I love him, though.

A Loving Husband's Thank You
By Jeremy Davis, Tampa, FL

My wife, Crystal, has been in the hospital for 3 days now and she has been feeling miserable. Crystal is now 35 but has been chronically ill since she was a young girl. I've been staying with Crystal at the hospital but going home to check on our dogs. Crystal has been really missing our puppies (Maggie and Charlie) so when Mr. Whitney came over with Annabel she lit up like we haven't seen in days. The few minutes that they were here brought some overdue joy to Crystal, I just wanted to say thanks again to Todd for making her day.

p.s. Just wanted to tell Annabel: Arf Arf Woof grrr, good girl ☺

Todd Whitney and Annabel are C4C volunteers from Lutz, FL

A Match Made in Heaven
By Susan Coker, Lilburn, GA

Before retirement, I worked as a paraprofessional for 3 years with mentally/physically handicapped high-schoolers and then 12 years with emotionally/behaviorally-handicapped children, 2nd and 3rd grades, and so I wanted to take Nikki to visit special education students. I knew she had the right temperament to be a therapy dog. All last spring I sent emails and letters to special education teachers and school principals, but no one even answered my emails or letters. I was batting zero. I began to wonder if this was MY plan and not God's, though I thought He had given me the idea. I was told by a retired school principal I met elsewhere that I would never get into the public schools with a dog because of liability, parents' fears of allergies, dog bites, etc. I had given up and told the Lord that I was going to quit looking, and that if He wanted me to do this, would He please make it happen?

In September 2015 I met a lady, quite accidentally, who told me she worked in the main office of my county's public schools, in the Special Education Department! I told her my story, and her response was, "I can get you in. There are many teachers in Special Education who want a dog." Within a week I had an email from a teacher of an emotionally/behaviorally handicapped special education class, grades K-2 in a school 15 minutes from my house. I started going that Friday, and Nikki was a huge hit! The kids loved her, she behaved perfectly, and the teacher loved me because she knew I understood the kind of children these are, the emotionally damaged who act out and can't be in a regular class. This is just a perfect match that was definitely "Made in Heaven". The teacher hugged me when I first met her and then I left. I can sense that she's a Christian, though we never have time to talk except about what we're doing in class.

The teacher wanted us to come every Friday, but I can't do that. I go every other Friday. She said in an email after I was there the first time that she couldn't believe how quiet these kids were when we were there. They know now, also, that if they want to see Nikki on Fridays, they have to follow the class rules, so this is also a bribe. ☺ This is too much detail, but I do want to say that this class is as much therapy for me as it is for them. I leave the school on Cloud 9 every time, just loving the experience. Of course, every chance I get, I tell people how God put me there. I had to wait, but He was arranging it all the time.

We have done a lot of fun things. I've taught the kids to walk Nikki on a leash, to get her to shake hands, sit, and go down. One day they ran around the track outside - seven times, once per kid. Nikki loved that! The day before Halloween was one of our days. All the kids were in costume, and Nikki wore a pumpkin costume. The school had a Pet Contest, and Nikki's picture was front and center on the lobby bulletin board. The teacher put up a string of battery-powered little lights around her picture. Nikki didn't win, but that's OK. She is, however, the ONLY dog who has actually been to school!

We were there on Nikki's December birthday, and the class had a big celebration for her, with lots of treats and gifts, including a Christmas elf costume. Then the last day of school before the holidays, we had another party. I had gotten size Small T-shirts on sale from the Georgia Sheltie Club that we belong to, so the kids put them on over their clothes. I had made Sheltie-shaped dog cookies, and the kids decorated them with cream cheese and orange-colored coconut, for Nikki, their own dogs, or to eat themselves! The teacher gave me a Willow Tree figure of a little boy holding a dog as a Christmas present. I take Nikki for rally classes, so I printed out some of the easier signs, the kids colored the arrows yellow, and we did some simple rally courses in the classroom last week. I am having SO much fun, and so are the kids and the teacher. I wish I could send you some pictures of the kids and the activities we've done, but because they're in a special education class, I can't do that. Friday I asked the teacher take a picture of us with all the children facing away from the camera, so I can send that one. They can never be put up on Facebook, but it would be OK to put this picture in your newsletter, if you want. (Nikki isn't wearing her vest in this picture, because she's more "pettable" without it, but she wears it when she comes in.)

I'm so happy that I discovered Canines for Christ! What a joy it is to combine my most favorite things in this activity: kids, my dog, school, and of course, the Lord!

Blessings to you!

A Special Birthday Gift From God
By Pastor Rodney Fontaine, Lithia, FL

Chaplain Larry,

My name is Pastor Rodney Fontaine and my Canines for Christ therapy dog's name is Scooter. I wanted to take a moment to share how Scooter and I got together.

In May 2014, I was a patient at the James A. Haley Tampa VA Hospital in the pain clinic. I was an inpatient for three weeks. The last day I was there, I was getting on an elevator to go back to my room and a lady with a dog got on with me. There was a red vest on her dog, a C4C vest. I asked her about the ministry and she said she was on her way to the 5th floor to meet up with the head of C4C, Chaplain Larry Randolph. I went with her and she introduced me to Chaplain Larry and he explained the ministry to me in just a couple of minutes. He gave me his card and a couple of days later I emailed him. He placed me on the C4C mailing list.

Mind you I didn't have a dog at the time but I told him that I was going to be a part somehow.

Where I live I'm only allowed to have a small dog. We were visiting my cousin in South Carolina in the fall of 2015 and she had a small Shih Tzu dog that had the best disposition and personality. I tried my best to get her to give me the little dog so I could join C4C but to no avail.

Then on March 12, 2016 my wife and I were at home and she was about to run out to do an errand. On the way out of the house she said, "Why don't we go get you a puppy today." My birthday was two days earlier on the 10th and she said we'll get a puppy for your birthday. I called three SPCA's in my area and only one called back. A lady named Patty from the Lakeland SPCA called me and I asked if they had any small dogs? She said they only had a Rat Terrier and a Jack Russell or two. She told me that I needed to hurry because it was the second Saturday which is half price adoption fee day and the small dogs were going fast.

Cindy and I headed to Lakeland to the SPCA to look at puppies. We were directed to the small puppy room and Cindy went in first. As she walked in she looked back to her right and exclaimed, awe how cute. I knew in my heart before I ever looked that my dog was in that kennel. I walked in and there he was, a Shih Tzu puppy, almost identical in size and color to my cousin's dog in South Carolina. A young man took the puppy out and we went into the visit room with him. I held the puppy for maybe two minutes while the young man explained that he had just put the dog in the kennel five minutes before we walked into the room. I handed him to Cindy and went to fill out the paperwork to take him home. We were told that the day before he had been brought in by an elderly lady whose husband had been the dog's caregiver had passed away. The lady couldn't care for the dog so she brought him in to get him a home. We learned that his name was Scooter and he was 8 years old and was a neutered male. He weighed 12 pounds.

After we got home I was holding Scooter and petting him on the couch and Cindy was reading the information sheet on Scooter. She said, "Honey, you're not going to believe this but Scooter was born on 3/10/08." My birthday is 3/10/1958. This was a confirmation from the Lord that Scooter was meant to be my dog, my C4C dog.

I immediately messaged Chaplain Larry to tell him I had my dog and was ready to get started as a volunteer. He met with Scooter and me and we did the necessary paperwork and we've been ministering ever since. As soon as our vest and badges came, I took Scooter out. It was as if he had been trained for this. When I get his vest off the hook by the door and tell him we are going to work, he runs and jumps up on the couch for me to put on his collar and vest. We visit nursing homes and individual children with emotional needs. He goes with me everywhere. Because of Scooter I have prayed for numerous waitresses, families at our local park, women and children in restaurants and parks. Scooter has actually cured two little girls of their fear of dogs. Scooter has been to the airport with Cindy to pick me up and because of him we prayed for a girl who was paralyzed in a wheelchair who had a therapy dog. I am so thankful for the lady on the elevator because God used her to change both Scooter and my life.

God bless Canines for Christ.

My wife and I are traveling Missionaries and Evangelists for the past 36 years and now I have another avenue to touch people's lives with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

A Special Blessing
By Linda Rodriguez, Tampa, FL

I was blessed with a special dog. Her name is Vicky. My daughter Angie bought her for me at Christmas in 2005. I knew when I first laid eyes on her that she was special. She loves people and I would take her wherever I could.

I knew that Vicky would be a good pet therapy dog because I took her to visit my aunt every week at Bayshore Pointe Rehabilitation and Nursing Home and while she visited my aunt, other residents and their families would always come to visit Vicky. That made their day and her day. I did that for the two years that my aunt lived there and when my aunt died, I stopped going there because I didn't know how to get her officially involved.

One day my prayer was answered. I went to pick up my clothes at the cleaners and Vicky was in the back seat of my truck and a lady came to the window and asked if she could pet Vicky. I said sure and she told me that she believed that Vicky would be an excellent pet therapy dog. She gave me Chaplain Larry's phone number and told me to please give him a call. I did and you know the rest of the story. Our true mission officially began! Vicky loves her job. As soon as her vest is put on, she is on the job of putting smiles on people's faces and showing them that Jesus loves them and so does she. I am so happy that the Lord has shown me this way, as of one of the ways of serving Him. We visit Rehab of Tampa and Hanna Oaks Rehab and Nursing Home.

After teaching school to the disabled for many years and feeling so gratified, I continue to experience the joy and the many blessings of serving our Savior, Jesus Christ, through Canines For Christ.

A Special Visit to Dinosaur World
By Sean O'Berry, Land O'Lakes, FL

Guess what! Canines for Christ dog "Oreo" went to Dinosaur World this past week! My wife Katie encouraged me to take my dog with me on an outing with my son, because she had read that Dino World was pet friendly. A great suggestion!

Shortly after I arrived, there was a glorious moment at the entrance of the gift shop. My son was busy inside exploring the shop. I left a tennis ball in the truck, and retrieved it for Oreo. On the way back in, an incredible scene unfolds. My dog Oreo at the front entrance was surrounded by children. I could barely see him for all the 20 sets of hands petting and hugging him simultaneously. It happened so suddenly and unexpectedly, like a miracle. I knew Christ was blessing this visit with His light and all the priceless colors of the rainbow within it. The group that first met Oreo encountered him again within the Park in one beautiful reunion after another. It was during one of the reunions that I took this photo.

Kids and parents while waiting in line were tossing him his ball and he was catching it midair and bringing it to them joyfully. By the end of the day, just about everyone, young and old, at Dino World knew and appreciated Oreo. The only dog there, he had the run of the park. Oreo loved exploring the park on his leash and enjoyed the great smelling foliage, bone-laden sand, mammoths, caves, and bridges. As I looked around walking with him peacefully throughout the park, I realized that Oreo was a real ambassador of the faith today because he had brought so much of Christ's love with him to share with others.

A Tribute to Cody -- An Amazing Therapy Dog
By Chaplain Larry Randolph, Tampa, FL

Our beloved Cody, who was the founder of Canines for Christ, passed away August 2014. He was loved by all and honored our Lord in such a beautiful way. The VA Hospital where Cody visited many wounded soldiers wrote the following regarding Cody:

"Animal Assisted Therapy is going strong at our Tampa VA thanks to our pets that have been coming for years to provide comfort and lift our spirits. Canines for Christ is a strong contributor to this "Pet Therapy" program which organizes a variety of dogs that visit daily to the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital. Cody was THE VERY FIRST dog that Larry and Susan Randolph brought to visit our Polytrauma patients, staff, volunteers and family members back in 2007. This loving golden retriever offered much patience as he was involved with 2 emerging consciousness patients using a pulse oximeter and Transcranial Doppler Analysis to measure increased blood pressure and change in brain waves when visited by Cody. This six week informal study corroborated the theory that the patients would respond to this friendly stimulus consistently. Both wives of the patients involved in this project were overwhelmed with their husband's consistent reaction and to this day, Cody will be remembered by many how he pleasantly affected our most wounded troops at bedside as Pet Therapy has been documented to reduce pain, lessen depression, lower anxiety and blood pressure, encourage communication, and decrease feelings of isolation and alienation to name a few."

In memory and honor of Cody's dedication and service, our Recreation Therapy Department would like to thank Canines for Christ for their organized efforts at the VA.

Cody was 13 when he passed and he set the bar high for all the therapy dogs that followed him. Thousands of people remember this kind, gentle canine and God used him in a wonderful way to open the door for people to hear of God's amazing love. Thank you, my friend, we miss you.

May God bless you,
Chaplain Larry Randolph

Adventures of Zeke and Jimmy: The Tales of Two Dogs
By Chaplain Larry Randolph, Tampa, FL

Jane Wampach, our C4C Minneapolis volunteer, has written a beautiful book/Bible study about the amazing adventures of her two dogs. The book is God's Word as seen through the eyes of Zeke and Jimmy and is geared to adults with mental disabilities. However, I can honestly say that my grandkids loved the book and the Christian message that it brings. The book is currently being used at many churches and special needs places all over the country. The following is an excerpt from the book: I often wonder if some dogs, or maybe all of them, are angels. The Bible says, "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14)

Jimmy ministers to me. I have observed other dogs such as Zeke. Yes, he is a real dog too. He ministers to many in need. Who's to say that dogs aren't angels/ministering spirits? If so, then "Let all God's angels worship Him." (Hebrews 1:6). And yes, "Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord!" (Psalm 150:6).

We have these books available for anyone, free of charge. You can contact Jane Wampach at 763-533-6040.

Arkansas C4C Volunteers Impacting Their Community
By Bianca Armstrong, Pine Bluff, Arkansas

I am Bianca Armstrong. I am a homemaker, small hobby breeder and a groomer in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. I have 3 dogs, Molly the Maltese, Dova the Yorkshire Terrier, and Sweetie Belle the Standard Poodle. Molly and Dova are therapy dogs with Canines for Christ. Sweetie Belle is in training to work with children in this ministry. Dogs are a huge part of my life.

I always wanted to make an impact in my community with my dogs but I just didn't know how. I attend Family Church and a few years ago, Lauren Robertson (member of Canines for Christ) posted in the bulletin looking for others with dogs that were interested in the Canines for Christ Therapy Dog Ministry. I then trained my dogs to pass the AKC CGC test and started visiting a local nursing home. The Canines for Christ ministry has really affected the people at the White Hall Health and Rehab Center. People in nursing homes have to give up their pets in order to move in. Some get very emotional and very joyous when I bring my little dogs to visit. They even love that the vests say "Canines for Christ Therapy Dog Ministry". One of the ladies there said that Molly was preaching God's word and didn't even know it. It has been a great experience to visit with the elderly and see their joy and pray over them with my little dogs. They are always excited when we make a visit and I am glad that I can make their day better.

I have had such a great experience with this ministry and I plan on helping others in Arkansas train their beloved dogs to become therapy dogs with Canines for Christ.

Auggie's First Visit
By Wendi Gilbert, Lutz, FL

Auggie and I would like to express our appreciation for allowing us to participate in the Canines for Christ Ministry. When this dog was given to me, I knew I needed to share him with others and I also had the desire to volunteer. Since we haven't been able to go out of the country on our usual medical missions trips, I also needed to share His Word and His Love here. This ministry is the answer to my prayers. It fits all three desires, share this wonderful animal, volunteer to help others, and bring His Hope in this dark world. So I am very excited!!

Auggie would say he is also but he is still napping!

Blessings
By Bill Fox, Cincinnati, OH

Canines for Christ of Greater Cincinnati will soon begin our third year of serving the Lord with our canine companions as we reach out to the community to bring warmth and comfort to many individuals living in retirement homes, hospitals, hospice care or confined to their homes as a result of illness or disability.

Our continued growth through participation in various public events has provided invaluable exposure for C4C resulting in the addition of volunteers as well as receiving more requests for visitations to a number of care facilities.

We have been truly blessed by having Canine Behavioral Specialist Steve Bader in our group who is also an AKC Certified Trainer. Steve coordinates and conducts training sessions for our C4C organization to achieve the necessary Canine Good Citizen Certification. Steve also mentors new teams as they embark upon their initial visitations to assure their success.

While the majority of our training sessions are conducted at my home church in Sharonville UMC, we have recently received inquiries from other churches and are currently in the early stages at Ascension and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in an adjoining suburb with over 27 dogs in attendance weekly. Our growth process in the early months was very slow, but as people have been able to experience first hand what we do and what we are all about, the requests for our program have been astonishing! We have learned that the key in establishing a successful C4C Ministry is in the training and the dedication of our participants in serving our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in a unique and positive manner. Spiritual comfort is at the forefront of our visits and we never hesitate to pray with all those we encounter. All of our training sessions begin and close with prayer which maintains the focus of our purpose to serve our Lord in all things.

We recently received a request from one of the Senior Living facilities that we visit asking if we could provide them with a weekly Bible Study in response to the spiritual needs of their residents. Courtesy of RBC Ministries, we distribute large print copies of their devotional "Our Daily Bread" which is very well received by the residents. This request is a first for us and presents a whole new opportunity to not only spread God's word, but to also involve others who may not own a dogs, but would like to be involved in our Ministry.

Canines for Christ is a blessing to all who choose to serve Him with love and compassion to our brothers and sisters.

Blessings From Lithuania
By Ineta Martinkeviciute, Kaunas, Lithuania

Hello,

Best wishes from Lithuania and our company!

We are still working in Hospice. I have one new puppy, my Muza's new daughter, and I hope she will also be a good therapy dog like her mother. With dogs we still go in some nursing home and Hospice. We don't have a Hospice home, so all volunteers go in homes where patients live.

And I have some news. One woman is very interested in C4C organization. She believes in God and she saw me and my dogs with C4C uniforms. Praise God! She has a female chihuahua, Viva. And with Viva she walks in obedience in my school. She very much wants to be a part of C4C. Plus in the future she will have another dog. Viva is good, but just for education. One time she will walk with me in nursing home, I present her to patients and show how she looks like the smallest breed in the world ☺ I think Viva will be perfect dog for education or just walking and evangelizing as she represents Christ in this ministry with her owner. What do you think about that? I can do some video of her and send to you if you want.

I'm very happy that people see us and are interested in Christ. And I think it will be nice to have more C4C volunteers in Lithuania ☺

Blessings from Bo, the Komondor
By Kenda Newberry, Killeen, TX

I have been sick with an auto immune illness called Hashimoto's for nearly 8 years. During that time God brought me a stray Komondor dog by way of a friend rescuing it and asking for a permanent home among those she knew. The first time we saw Bo's picture, we knew he was ours. He had brought many issues with him from his past, that were difficult to manage at first. He had been abused, neglected, and since he was used to finding meals, he often "found food" in our pantry or off the table. He would also dart and run if the front door was open. I prayed and asked the Lord, if I should continue to invest in this dog, or find another home for him. God encouraged me to not "throw the baby out with the bath water".

Now, Bo has passed his CGC and is such a gentleman! I am glad I listened, what a blessing he has been to us, and so many others. I always say, his job is to make people smile. Knowing how lonely it can be being ill and not able to leave your home, and how much of a comfort he was to me, I desired to take him to others in need. After two years of training, warfare, and healing, a friend sent me a news link to C4C and I realized others had this dream. I was excited to join up with them. It was God's confirmation and blessing to become affiliated with Canines for Christ and have since encouraged others in my dog community to do the same. We frequent a local retirement home, and a public elementary school for emotional support and behavior incentives. As the doors open, and my health allows I would like to add more appointments and ministry opportunities.

Boscoe Loves Kids
By Bobbi Pitcher, Tampa, FL

Dear Larry and Susan,

Just wanted to let you know that last night was Boscoe's second visit with the kids of Suncoast Kid's Place and he did great! The first time we went (two weeks ago) the kids didn't immediately warm up to him, except to give him treats and have him do some of his tricks for them. But last night, he laid in the center of the group and the kids were laying on him, petting him, and one of the little girls had lost her dog to cancer yesterday. When we lit the candles, one was lit from Boscoe to honor the little girl's dog. Boscoe didn't jump up or act crazy, which was a fear I have had. He remained mellow, even in the game room, with balls going every which way and LOTS of noise. I couldn't believe how well-behaved he was and how much the children enjoyed him. The first time we went, I gave out his calling cards to each child; I might give them out again in a few weeks.

Anyway, I just wanted you to know how well-received he was last night. We look forward to going again in two weeks and I am anticipating a repeat of his behavior. Thanks for hooking us up with that group. Boscoe has so much joy to bring to the table and I am so happy to share that gift.

Breakfasts With Bill
By Lisa Plasencia, Tampa, FL

Sadly, Skipper's Saturday morning breakfast buddy, Bill Lynn has passed away on October 19, 2014.

Every Saturday, I would only feed Skipper half his breakfast, and take the other half to Emeritus for Bill to hand feed Skipper. He took such delight in shaking Skipper's paw after every few bites. He would give Skipper a few bites and then say, "OK, it's time for a handshake!"

He had a dog all his life until he just wasn't able to take care of them any more. Bill would always be sitting out waiting for us to arrive on Saturdays. One Saturday when he forgot we were not able to come, he got so upset, he had Emeritus call me.

I can't remember exactly how long we've been having breakfast with Bill, but the first Saturday we go to Emeritus without Bill being there will be very bitter sweet for us. It's sad that we won't see Bill waiting for us with his big smile on this face, but so grateful that we were able to be a part of so many smiles over the years.

Rest in Peace, Sweet Bill.

Bruce -- a "Canines For Christ" AKC Distinguished Therapy Dog
By Chaplain Steve Kesler, Tampa, Florida

Six years ago, God brought Liz and I Bruce, an abused, skinny, "scared of everything" dog who appeared to be damaged beyond repair. Five years later, when we discovered the national ministry called Canines For Christ, we understood why God had gifted us with this incredible caring dog. He has turned into a truly gifted messenger of God's love, just completing over 800 visits to hospitals, nursing homes, special needs facilities, and the many facilities we visit.

Half Greyhound and half German Shepherd, his mixed breeding giving him a calmness and intelligence that coupled with his gift of caring make him immensely popular at the many venues we visit doing this blessed ministry. His breeding also give him an athleticism and endurance that allowed us to make those visits in little more than one year. Thanks to AKC for their Therapy Dog program and for giving us the opportunity to share.

By Golly Miss Molly!
By Ron and Marilyn Leonard, Nashville, TN

Hi there and greetings in the mighty and strong name of Jesus! Just a little over 7 months ago, The Lord gave Marilyn and me the blessing and privilege to be introduced to Chaplain Larry Randolph and the ministry of "Canines For Christ". Almost 3 years ago we had the sad experience of having to put our 12 year dog Gabby to sleep. Gabby was a husky mix. If you could have met Gabby you would have immediately fallen in love with her. Then about a week later The Lord allowed us to meet and ad opt our rescue dog Molly. Molly is a Lab/Mix, and we immediately fell in love with her. Molly has just turned 3, and recently graduated from Petco's obedience school, and is now ministering as a Therapy Dog. Molly is a favorite at two nursing homes, and also has been called the "Unofficial Mascot" at our local Home Depot!

As we move into 2014 Marilyn and I look forward to allowing our Lord to use Molly as a "Ministry Of Presence" in many more places. We would covet your prayers as we continue to serve the Lord with Molly and the ministry of Canines For Christ.

C4C -- Not Just For Patients
By Jim Kidwell, Mt. Juliet, TN

Larry,

I know you've heard lots of stories on how God uses dogs, so the below will not be new, but it happened to me recently.

BACKGROUND:

Alive Hospice is the largest Hospice group in Middle TN with around 400 persons in their care at their two residential facilities and in patient's homes. Bouc and I visit their residential facility in downtown Nashville at 10:00 am on Tuesdays. These terminally ill residents are often in such condition to not even know that Bouc and I are there. BUT often the families of these residents need what we can offer.

A RECENT VISIT:

Bouc and I had spoken to and shared love to 10 or so residents and their families, as well as hospice staff. As always, those wanting interactions welcomed the diversion from the grief of losing a loved one. The last resident we visited was not conscious, but his wife of 48 years was there and wanted to pet Bouc - and talk. (Please understand, I do not have the power to make these patients/residents lives any better or change their terminal diagnosis) While petting Bouc, this wife explained that their children were upset with the wife (their mother) for having taken their father to a "Hospice" facility instead of allowing him to stay at home and being near family. The wife continued that their sons had not been to see their dying father in weeks even though they lived only about 3 minutes away and that now they were not talking to their mother due to her decision. She explained that both she and her dying husband were Christians and that she knew that he'd be waiting for her in heaven when her time came. She poured out her heart (to a stranger with a dog) that she felt that in some areas, she had failed as a parent since her own children would not support her decision about their father. She explained that she was torn between giving her children what they thought they needed and giving her husband physical peace in his last hours!!

After hearing this woman's heart rending story, there's not a lot that I can say that is going to alter the facts that she has to live with. I cannot remember what I said as a Bouc and I left, but she said a very low "Thank You." I responded that it was my pleasure to share a little of God's love.

She said that she understood that, but wanted to tell me "Thank You" for just listening to her!! As a person and as a Christian, I just wanted to cry. Because of Bouc and our presence there, we were allowed to hear the anguished cries of a fellow Christian and both understood that He's in control even though our world appears to be crumbling.

Our world is hurting and we've been given the opportunity to share some of the hurt....

C4C -- The Answer to a Volunteer's Question
By Jack May, Seminole, FL

My name is Jack May. I have the privilege and honor of being a Canines For Christ volunteer along with my K9 friend Coby. As I have read other articles from Canines For Christ volunteers I can relate to the significance of each one's ministry and testimony. I see the impact that we have on peoples' lives each time we come in contact with a person.

To me, even though the time of day of our visits are routine, the interaction of each individual is very special and specific to that individual and set of circumstances. As Coby and I go door-to-door I become aware of the seriousness and significance of us being there. Sometimes it's to break the monotony of loneliness and bring a smile to someone's face, sometimes it's a healing prayer, sometimes it's for hope and to show compassion, but what strikes me the most is when I pray a salvation prayer with a person on their deathbed and the next Saturday, that person is no longer on this earth.

If I were to ask The Lord who I am to Him, I will have answered my own question through this Ministry. Thank you for having Coby and me. Thank you, Jesus, for the opportunity to serve and glorify You.

C4C Canine Volunteer "Rogan" Tracks Down Lost Dog
By Ken Lane, Palm Harbor, FL

"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014, seemed like a routine evening at the Gulf Coast Fellowship Church parking lot training Rogan on whistle commands and blind retrieves. We had been working on tracking (man trailing) drills that morning, and the cooler evening weather had been kind to us. We thought we were done for the day, and headed home. As I drove through my community I noticed a lady putting up posters indicating that they had lost their dog earlier in the day. I asked the lady if she needed any help locating the dog. She told me that she had given up hope and feared the dog was lost forever as the darkness closed in. She informed me that the dog belonged to her daughter, and that she was heartbroken at the thought of losing her beloved pet. I told her I would keep an eye out for the dog, took down her telephone number and drove home.

I mentioned to my wife, Pati, what had occurred and we wondered if Rogan, who has been training to track humans would accept a scent article and track another dog. I contacted the lady on the telephone and explained to her that I would be willing to try to help and would be right over to see what we could do. The lady had placed her dog's bed at their front door in case she came home during the night. There was a clear indication where the dog had dug under the privacy fence (a starting point) at the side of the house. The only scent article we had was a chewed up cloth toy that the dog had played with since being adopted, but there was also another dog in the house that may have played with the toy. The area had also been compromised by the fact that the dog has been walked in the community from the house and her scent was (naturally) in the area. We worked with what he had. The dog was lost.

I harnessed Rogan into his tracking gear and placed him in a down position at the area where the fence had been breached. He took a big inhalation of the scent article chew toy without mouthing it. I gave him the command "go find it", and Rogan immediately hopped to his feet and straightened out his 20 foot lead, making a dash for the bed located at the front door. I knew my dog was ready to go to work, now it was up to me to give him the best opportunity possible for success.

By now a neighborhood crowd had begun to form and I heard more than one person saying, "If that dog tracks a Jack Russell Terrier, I will be able to say, I have seen it all". This is something we have grown quite accustomed to; you see, Rogan is a two year old Red Standard Poodle. He weighs forty five pounds, and competes with Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers in a hunting world that is very accustomed to seeing dogs with slick coats and a brawny build; chasing down waterfowl and upland game. Poodles are German dogs originally called Pudel Hunds (Puddle Hounds) and were used to retrieve waterfowl for hunters. They have a natural drive to please and are considered by many to be one of the more trainable dogs for many different disciplines. Rogan is a trained retriever and a phenomenal tracking dog. I discovered this when I was utilizing him for blind retrieves off of whistle commands. He rarely needs to be directed to target by hand signal and uses his nose extraordinarily well.

I started Rogan two houses west from the original starting point. From a down position, the scent article was introduced, I gave him the command to "go find it", and Rogan took off stretching his lead like he was on rails. We made it to the main Boulevard which is a four lane highway that runs through the length of our community. At this point, we were informed by a neighbor that the dog had been seen earlier in the day near a retention pond adjacent to the Boulevard. Based on the impending darkness, I decided to pull Rogan off track and out of harness; and allow him to area search the retention pond. Rogan would not extend more than about 20 yards from me and clearly had no scent. Darkness had fallen upon us and I no longer felt comfortable tracking along the side of the Boulevard with passing vehicles. I told the owner that I would try again first thing in the morning and start at the Boulevard where we had left off.

On Wednesday morning, August 13, 2014, Rogan was back in harness, nose down, tail up and tracking. I was confident by the way he was quartering on the sidewalk that we were on task. A tracking dog will quarter (zig-zag) to hone in on the strongest scent pool and refine what he is looking for. The easiest way to describe this is: When a human walks into a house where there is a stew cooking, a human smells stew. A tracking dog indexes everything and categorizes it. They smell beef, carrots, bullion, potatoes, onions, and peas.

Rogan was now setting off on a pace that had me into a jog behind him. He was quartering slightly, moving into a straighter line. We turned west onto another four lane highway where normally a scent is dispersed by the normal course of events with vehicular traffic blowing scent pools every direction. Exhaust fumes also compromise a pooled scent; and of course, time, other pedestrian traffic and other dogs are challenges. My favorite "red head" never wavered. He knew his job, now it was up to me to have faith in his training and realize that his nose knows. We kept a blistering pace, by now, approaching about a 3 mile mark. He was getting hot, and the Florida weather was not being kind to us. I had to leap-frog with my vehicle moving it down the road, and go back several times to cool him down in the air conditioning, re- starting him where we had left off.

As we approached a YMCA parking lot and some additional morning traffic, out of a wooded area I saw a dog that had been flushed and was running. It looked like a Jack Russell Terrier, but I was not positive. The dog disappeared into a second wooded area and I lost sight of it. The dog was running directly in front of us about 100 yards away. I was weary about releasing Rogan because I certainly didn't want a dog fight on my hands at this point. If the Terrier was spooked, anything could happen. There was also a lot of vehicular traffic still moving on the roadway in route to the YMCA.

I called the owner on the phone and told her that I believed I had spotted her dog, and gave her directions to where we were located. The owner, her husband, and daughter arrived and called for their dog, but there was no response. I took Rogan out of the truck, out of harness, and allowed him to freelance in an area search. Rogan wasted no time in taking me to an area near the corner of the wooded property. Rogan was working like a pogo stick to make it through the briar patches, and through what I affectionately call, "wait a minute vines". Suddenly I heard a small dog whimpering in the weeds. It was "Bella", the lost dog. The pads on her feet were worn down, she was exhausted and shaking after her night out on the town; but -- she was safe and found. Rogan received a lot of praise and knew that he had completed a job well done and his training had paid off.

With the help of Canines for Christ, Rogan attained a ThD (Therapy Dog) title issued by the AKC. Something we are very proud of. Our plans are to utilize Rogan for Search and Rescue work. If disaster areas need Therapy Dogs, Rogan could be utilized for either situation. If we get a report of a missing person, and a non-aggressive dog is needed to run a search pattern, Rogan is a top choice. We still utilize hunting drills for daily exercise and his obedience work is excellent.

In closing, I would like to thank Canines for Christ and Chaplain Larry Randolph for the opportunities they have given us to assist with our Therapy Dog work. Also, Gulf Coast Fellowship Church, in Palm Harbor, Florida, Pastor Joe Hancock and Associate Pastor Doug Kirk for allowing us to utilize their grass parking lot area to run retrieving patterns and tracking drills.

If dogs could talk, Rogan would tell you: All dogs go to heaven, some cats, and as many ducks as you can retrieve. The Quail in heaven are jumping up from everywhere. There are more Pheasant than you can count. I am just an old red headed Puddle Hound. We are pure bred hunting dogs. My Father and Mother are Champions. My Great Grandfather was the first Champion. I work in the Lost and Found Department here on Earth, man trailing, and I hope to get my limit every time I am called. In heaven, I get to retire my therapy dog vest. From what I hear, you don't have to do much therapy work up there, because nothing hurts anymore. And my tracking harness, well, I get to retire that too. I was told that everyone in heaven was lost, but have been found. They must have been on the right track. If I should get to heaven before you do, I will be waiting by the step at the big white gate. I won't barge in ahead of you, I know how much you hate that. Don't worry about me, I'm sure there will be plenty of shade and a cool breeze; and you can be sure of one thing, when I get to heaven, and my work is done, I will be keeping an eye on those ducks.

Note: Ken Lane is a retired Florida State Trooper (Lieutenant). He served the State of Florida for over 30 years during which time he had the opportunity to train and supervise Canine Drug Interdiction Teams as well as training and working Bloodhounds for man trailing.

C4C Volunteer's Bible Message Brings Disabled Man to Christ
By Ken Burdell, Tampa, FL

It's an honor and privilege to be part of such an easy yet powerful ministry as Canines for Christ. My wife, Peg, and I have been with C4C for 3 years now. It never ceases to amaze us how God works through the dogs, as well as us humans, that are "willing to go" in the name of Jesus Christ. We've been as blessed, if not more, than those we've visited over the years.

The most recent incident is also one of the best ever. We're fortunate to live in the Tampa, FL area and work with C4C's founder, Chaplain Larry Randolph, visiting a few facilities together. One is called "Learning Your Function". It is where mentally and physically challenged adults go to help them learn coping skills and how to function properly so they can eventually go out into the world, become employed and live on their own, without a caretaker.

In late January, 2015 Chaplain Larry asked if I would give a message to this group. My wife Peg leads praise and worship, since she's the only one of us who can sing. I accepted and said I'd do the meeting on 3/3/15. We had four teams that day to visit with, and/or minister to, the students. We made our rounds before the service, greeting as many as possible before things got started, since we have a time frame to work within. Peg did a great job leading them in singing praises to our Lord. Then it was my turn to give the day's message. It'd been quite a while since I'd given a "sermon" or lesson, so I was definitely nervous. I wanted to present the message that God gave me, about not only his love for us, but also why and how we should love and show our love to God. My concern was it would be simple enough so all in the room could and would understand it. My reference was 1 John 4:7-16. I silently asked God for help and gave the lesson. It didn't go quite like I rehearsed, and I felt I goofed up or forgot something several times. But I got through it. Toward the end, I used comparisons between how our dogs love, listen and obey us and compared that to how we should love, listen to and obey God. I ended by giving anyone who had never accepted Jesus the chance to pray and ask Him in as their Lord and Savior and led them all in that prayer. Chaplain Larry closed with a few remarks and we started to mingle with the students before they had to go to their next class. As I was talking with a student, I noticed Chaplain Larry waving to me to come over to him, So I ended my talk and went over. He was kneeling beside a young man in a wheel chair that I had talked with prior to the service. The man was more physically challenged but also mentally. I was told he had something to tell me so I bent down to hear him. He said the message I gave had really touched and changed him and he believed "it was going to change my life forever", especially since he had just accepted Jesus during the final prayer. God was gracious that day to show us the increase immediately, which doesn't always happen. And I was blessed and humbled that God used me to impact a life in such a powerful way. What a mighty God we serve!

C4C Volunteers Are Blessed
By Jennifer Wolfgang, Riverview, FL

Larry,

I just wanted to let you know what a thrill it was serving the Lord through the Canines for Christ ministry yesterday (June 30, 2013).

I knew the dog visit would brighten the residents' day, but I had no idea what a blessing I'd receive as well!

Thank you for spreading God's love through your work!

C4C Volunteers Offer Support to Veterans
By Deanne Rhode, Lutz, FL

Hello Chaplain Larry,

Just wanted to give you an update on Canines for Christ progress at the Veterans Treatment Court. Yesterday me, Oliver, Laura and Leah joined our Veterans for the day to help support them as they progress through this program. We had a special circumstance yesterday with a gentleman who suffers from severe anxiety to the point of visible tremors and many other physiological symptoms. We sat with him in the waiting room for about an hour prior to his appearance in front of the judge to which was very helpful. He even stopped shaking for a time. I asked if I may pray for him right there and he said yes. We prayed for him and his situation in great detail. As you can see from the picture, Oliver sat under him in the courtroom as we waited. Once our veteran was called, Oliver and I accompanied him up to the judge. He was riddled with anxiety once again. Oliver sat by his side and he patted his head while his case was reviewed. Oliver truly earned his title yesterday. We have begun to establish several relationships with our veterans in this program and will continue to serve as long as we are welcome and continues to be beneficial. I thank you again for this ministry opportunity and using it to help our heroes.

Note: The message of Jesus Christ can be delivered everywhere and now we have been asked to be in the judicial courts to offer God's love, kindness, compassion and hope in the midst of anxiety, fear and hopelessness. C4C is a powerful way to reach people with God's unconditional love.

C4C Volunteers Reach Thousands at President's Inauguration
By Ron Leonard, Nashville, TN

Dear Chaplain Larry:

Marilyn and I along with "Molly" had the awesome opportunity to travel to DC in partnership with "Hope To The Hill" in a ministry outreach at the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. We helped pass out over 50,000 Gospel of John and Book of Romans booklets. Molly was there greeting the passersby and sharing the unconditional love of a dog. This photo is one of Molly with one of the many children we saw. We had many opportunities to tell folks about the ministry of C4C and how they can be involved. Let's all pray for President Trump and his administration.

C4C Volunteers in White Hall, Arkansas Making a Difference
By Lauren Robertson, White Hall, AK

Canines for Christ has given me a way to reach out to people and be "Jesus with fur on" for people that I would otherwise not have been able to meet. Tucker's vest alone (when people read it) has planted seeds for people while we did the Susan G. Komen race for the cure and volunteered at our church fall festival. I have a really difficult time asking people if I can pray for them and starting conversations about my faith, but Tucker gives me an "in" that makes it much easier and gives me a strange confidence that would have taken much longer to develop. I am very excited to grow this ministry in my area and make a difference in my community.

C4C and the Golf Scene
By Sue Moore, Antioch, TN

Dear Chaplain Larry,

In my younger years, I played a lot of golf and won the Nashville Women's Championship in 2000, 2001, and 2002. I still play a little but not competitively. The weekend that the tournament was played, Gus and I went out and watched for about four hours. I can't begin to tell you how many golfers approached us and asked about Canines for Christ. I've been around the golf scene a long time and know about half of the ladies and they know my relationship with God is utmost in my life. I'm president of one ladies association and we have 70 women that bond together. We email prayer requests for each other's needs....and it's not a church group. It doesn't matter where we are, the opportunities just arise....a God thing!!

Called to Serve
By Penny and Randy Johnson, Bunnlevel, NC

Our dogs make us happy – there’s just something about our dogs that touches people emotionally or spiritually – and it is this “something”, this special bond, which makes dogs such good therapy animals. They bring this feeling to those most in need.

I never really thought that I’d be involved in pet therapy work, nor in a ministry – I was far too busy with my career, flying all over the world. Finally my travel slowed down, and we decided we could get a dog – then two sounded good – then three – all German Shepherds!

I’ve read that ideas that come to you out of the blue frequently come from God, and the idea of pet therapy came out of the blue for sure! One day we were simply training our dogs to behave, and the next day we were researching pet therapy training. I believe God has called us to help others in this way, and as we were training toward Therapy Dog certification, I kept thinking that someone somewhere must utilize these wonderful animals to Stand For Christ more directly than standard pet therapy. After searching for a while, I was fortunate to find the Canines for Christ website, and we signed up for this remarkable program.

Randy and I are not ministers – we are ordinary people - but we share a strong faith in Christ, and want to share this joy with others by our behavior instead of trying to preach. We are focusing our ministry of presence now at the VA Hospital in Fayetteville, NC, where we visit patients and their families as often as possible (usually about twice a month). Randy and I go together as a team with our two dogs, Kona and Denali, and have become the favorite pet therapy visitors for this group of veterans. When Kona and Denali put on their C4C vests, they know they are going to work, and their behavior shows it! And as BIG dogs, they are perfect for the patients in beds and wheelchairs – Kona and Denali can simply put their heads on the laps of patients, or shake their hands, or put their paws up on the beds. The smiles and laughter make our hour with them go far too quickly.

The patients at the VA Hospital come from all branches of the military and represent service in all our country’s wars back to World War II. The oldest patient is 94 and was in WWII – he is alert and bright and enthusiastically welcomes our dogs when we visit. Another soldier was a “tunnel rat” in Vietnam – and he tells incredible and hilarious and terrifying stories. A young man who was in Afghanistan who could barely speak, loved to pet our dogs from his bed while we sat with him (he has now recovered enough to go home). Some patients can barely move their hands, and love it when the dogs nuzzle them. Many of the men had dogs as part of their military service teams, and most of them have dogs at home. We listen to their memories as they pet our dogs, and they ask about the C4C ministry and enjoy the cards and messages we leave. These men are always in our prayers.

Visiting these veterans and their families has become one of the most important things we do – sharing Christ’s love, hope and kindness as we visit. Some of these veterans have almost no family, and many get almost no visitors each year - we know we make a difference to them, and they certainly make a difference in our lives. It is the highlight of our week when we get to go. Our lives are changed by the calling from Christ, to serve those who have given their lives in service on foreign soil to protect us here at home in the United States.

Children's Cancer Center
By Chaplain Larry Randolph, Tampa, FL

Canines for Christ and ministry partner Van Dyke Church donated $750.00 to the Children's Cancer Center to help children and parents cope with the effects of diagnosis, treatment and recovery of this disease!

We are blessed to play a small part in bringing joy and the love of Jesus Christ to these children with our canines and our resources as they go through these challenging times.

The donations that come into this ministry are used to help organizations, like the Children's Cancer Center. We give our time and resources to serving the Kingdom of God. We thank you for your support and welcome your continued donations.

For information regarding donating to Canines for Christ, please see our Donations tab.

Close Encounter of the Furry Kind
By Sean O'Berry, Land O'Lakes, FL

Larry and all of the C4C volunteers,

Here is a true story about how C4C blesses us. In this instance, Christ used a C4C dog that we never met before, a miniature grey poodle, to bless me and my family over the past week. My wife and I were at Florida Hospital at the precise moment that Christ in His perfection decided to bless us with of all things, another C4C dog. Christ is gentle, loving, and considerate, filled with compassion for all He has made. He knows exactly how to bless us, and in doing so, He knew this message would bless you too. I wrote this poem about this encounter this morning after taking time to reflect on the wonderful experience during the holiday season, a time of sharing and giving. Please share with Rick, his wife, and his poodle, Florida Hospital, and anyone you would like to know of His goodness and impeccable coordination that surpasses our knowledge and understanding.

In the name of Christ we love.

Close Encounter of the Furry Kind

The awe of discovery
Of a blessing meant to share
A tiny grey gift toy poodle
In a message that You care.

I began to pet a dog, minute
Furry 'Lil fellow, twas a blessing, cute.
Then I noticed he had on a red vest, hey!
Read Canines for Christ, what, no way!

I'd exited as a van pulled up
And I caught a first glimpse of fur
Christ's love spurred me on my way
To meet and greet both him and her!
Relieved my wife Katie survived
The scary surgery she endured
Perfectly synced and in one accord
For a purpose and leading of the Lord.

A glorious surprise expressed
To a husband and wife dream-team
Enroute to the second floor, a gleam
Of a Florida Hospital, pristine.

The pleasant troupe
I hoped the group
Would stop by and see her.
I'm really sure she wouldn't mind
A close encounter of the furry kind.

As I walked away, I turned to pray,
For success of the joint endeavor,
Then with shock and surprise
I beheld with my eyes
The guidance of a Savior.
My wife was pulled up
Next to them like a conveyor.

THERE SHE IS
RIGHT NEXT TO YOU!
THAT IS MY WIFE, KATIE!
Then the little toy poodle
Was nestled on her lap
Upsydaisy.

As I praised my way
To get to the car
The glow of hereafter
filled my heart with laughter.
And I beheld the smile on her lovely face.
Beauty that I cannot replace.
Love in her eyes, amazing grace
A close encounter of a heavenly kind,
From a loving mind.

Did She Really See Angels?
By Chaplain Larry Randolph, Tampa, FL

The March morning of 2010 was crystal clear and beautiful. One of God's most gorgeous days in Florida as the rest of the country was experiencing cold and wet weather. Friday's was our usual day to visit the James A Haley Veteran's Hospital in Tampa, Florida and for several years we had been visiting the veterans that are in the spinal care unit, traumatic brain injury unit, hospice units, intensive care unit, and psychiatric ward. As the lead therapy dog team in the hospital, my wife, Susan, and I with Gracie have been allowed access to almost every ward in the hospital as we visit patients.

We had just completed an hour-and-a-half visit and seen dozens of patients, as we entered the hospice unit for our final round of visits. Immediately upon entering, one of the nurses came out of a room and told us that a hospice patient was in his last few minutes and his wife and family were surrounding him and asked if we would come in and pray with them. What I saw then was an amazing journey into what a dog sees and senses in ways that we cannot because of our inability to focus and believe in that special moment.

As Gracie entered that room she froze after the first few steps. Immediately she stared at the man that was dying in the bed and her eyes were fixed on him. That is not her normal meet and greet behavior as her purpose as the therapy dog is to go to each person in the room with her nose and soulful eyes to offer her head and back for petting and warmth companionship. In this particular case, she stared directly at the man and did not move for what seemed like minutes. She then moved very slowly forward to the very edge of the bed, then placed her nose on the man's hand and looked very carefully and soulfully into his eyes. She remained there for what seemed like two minutes and then she lay down at his feet. I believe what she saw was God's angels that were surrounding the bed and that were getting ready to carry this man into the loving arms of Christ in heaven. Dogs have senses that we cannot comprehend as our minds and visions are clouded with many other things that control the theater in our minds. This amazing dog knew something was different in that room. It was if she was saying to the man, "It's going to be OK. Go ahead and the next time that you will take a breath and open your eyes you will be in the presence of your Lord and Savior Jesus. It's going to be OK ... you can let go." The room, full of family, friends, and hospital staff was overwhelmed at what they saw. You could feel the presence of God's angels and the comforting mercy of the Holy Spirit, as he let go and passed into his eternal home with his Lord.

Did she really see God's angels? Do you believe?

"Therefore, angels are only servants—spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation." Hebrews 1:14 NLT

Divine Intervention
By Dawn Luke, Mt. Juliet, TN

Hi Chaplain Larry,

I do believe that what led me to Canines for Christ was divine intervention.

My husband and I needed marital counseling, financial advice and spiritual guidance. Being raised by Catholic Cajun Grandparents from the backwoods of Mississippi and then an atheist Father from the formative age of 14 had me lost and confused about God. My daughter Ruby at age 4 asked if I would take her to church. You don't say "No" to that. She and I went on a church search in Georgia not really ever finding one, then we moved to Tennessee.

God moved us right next door to a Sunday school teacher that is in charge of benevolence at Immanuel Baptist Church, does free marital counseling and helps families with their finances. Carl Jones is also a true scholar of the bible and answers any and all questions, never getting defensive or angry. He and his family are also a beautiful example of what it means to be a strong loving Christian family, exactly what I needed at the time.

After a year of asking questions, intense debates, fervent prayer and actually reading the Bible for the first time, we decided to get saved as a family. Pastor John at Immanuel Baptist baptized us in the Lake. Our lives changed after this. It was gradual but I noticed little miracles everywhere. These little miracles were huge to me and brought me to tears. I knew we were on the right path.

After we got saved, we decided to do things a little differently. We took a Dave Ramsey class, I started homeschooling my daughter with a Christian curriculum, and we got involved with a lot of our church's activities. I started looking for my purpose to serve God and I knew it had to be something with dogs but I wasn't sure what specifically. When I would take my harlequin Great Dane out with me to the park on our play break, I noticed how everyone went crazy over him. We joked and called it the 'puparazzi' but he was wonderful with children and I thought to myself that I needed to do something with this. I told my Sunday school teacher my idea to make my Great Dane a therapy dog and he told me that Great Danes didn't make good therapy dogs and it was too expensive, that I wouldn't be able to afford it (don't get angry with him, he's 75 and thinks dogs belong outside). Being a baby Christian I hadn't yet learned to listen to God clearly so I got a little down about it and thought to myself that maybe I'd find something else.

Three days later, I was in the library with my daughter and as we were leaving the man behind the counter handed me a Canines for Christ card with his dog's picture on it. I stopped and asked him what this was and as he explained the hair on my arms and back of my neck started standing on end and I almost started crying right then and there. The man's name is Jim and he guided me and held my hand through the whole process, I couldn't have done it without him.

My Great Dane, Sgt. Pepper, and I go out now and visit people, we just go wherever God leads us, my daughter and husband even go with me sometimes. We've met some amazing people through this ministry and I was even blessed with my dream job because of C4C.

I just wanted to share my story and tell everyone how much this ministry has changed my life.

Don't Forget About Me!
By Dawn Kerstetter, Bryan, TX

Canines for Christ is an answer to prayer. My dog Chopper, a basset hound and cocker spaniel mix has that special dog-sense for children, sick, and elderly in particular. I knew he would be a great therapy dog. After seeing an article in a local magazine about this ministry, I was certain that this was what we needed to do for God's glory.

Saturday mornings are special to Chopper and me. We spend at least two hours most Saturdays with some of the most special people in our county - the residents at our local retirement community which houses independent, assisted, nursing, rehab, and memory care residents in Bryan, Texas.

We visit our "regulars" but always try to meet someone new who may be there temporarily. Because Chopper is a "low-to-the-ground" breed I bring a portable folding camping chair that I can sling over my shoulder in a bag. It works great for eye-to-eye visits and the residents can reach and pet Chopper while he lays his head in their lap. I believe this ministry has helped me to become a better listener - even if the person we visit doesn't talk. These precious souls communicate anyway. A favorite memory care lady, whom I call Smiley" because she always laughs and smiles, seemed afraid of Chopper. Now, after many visits she will let me put her hand on him and she will pet him. One morning she did not seem her usual self. She was agitated and upset. She was holding her arms around herself. She seemed cold, so I got her a sweater in her closet and put it on her. She settled right down and started smiling and laughing again. Chopper and I sat with her for a little while and it seemed to help.

Another resident who has Parkinson's disease has his wife there with him from dawn to dusk. She is a dedicated, loving person and happens to loves Chopper like her own. She always takes pictures of him. I have seen many tears from her. She told me that many mornings her husband will not smile. She said once we come in to visit and he pets Chopper he will smile.

One of my favorite residents God really placed on my heart. I have read the Bible and witnessed to this man on various occasions. He has opened up to me and even gets Chopper "talking" to him. When leaving from our visit one morning, he said, "Don't forget about me." It broke my heart.

I thank God He has opened the door for us to show His love to others. Thank you Chaplain Larry, and all of the C4C volunteers for being Jesus with skin on.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."

Eli's Special Visit
By Bill Fox, Cincinnati, OH

My canine partner, Eli and I have been privileged to make regular visits to the Mallard Cove Senior Living community in the Sharonville area for nearly three years. The residents are always eager to see Eli and welcome him with open arms and warm hearts. Our normal routine involves greeting the many regular folks that wait for us at the main entrance with special treats followed by hugs and kisses for Eli.

On one such visit last fall, we were met at the front desk by the Director who had a very special request for us before we began our rounds. He handed me a piece of paper with an apartment number on it and asked if we would please make a visit to a man who was terminally ill and under the care of a Hospice Nurse. I assured him that we would be happy to accommodate his request. Upon arriving at the man's apartment, we were greeted by both his daughter and the Nurse. We were eagerly invited into his room and informed that he had been unresponsive all day and that he may not acknowledge our presence. However, at the urging of his daughter who told him that a dog had come to see him, he awoke and immediately wanted to pet Eli. We went to the side of his bed where Eli placed both of his paws on the edge of the mattress so that he could easily reach. Although Eli weighs 80 pounds, he held that position for over 20 minutes as he seemed to sense the seriousness of the situation and the calming effect he had on this loving and caring person.

I noticed a ceramic placard on a shelf that had a Bible verse inscribed on it. I asked his daughter if this was his favorite verse and she assured me it was. She told me that her father was given this by his brother-in-law before departing for military service during World War II. Realizing the importance of this verse to this gentle and well loved man, I asked his daughter if I could remove it from the shelf and read it to him. She thought it would be a wonderful idea. As I read to him he reached out and took hold of my hand as tears welled up in his eyes. We then shared a short prayer together. This was a moment that will always remain in my memory!

Amid his grateful smiles of sincere appreciation for our visit, we slowly departed to resume our regular schedule. It was during that particular visit that I knew in my heart the power of the genuine love of a dog and the positive impact that it has on the human heart. Eli and his canine counterparts are God's instruments of unconditional love in making a difference in the lives of those they touch. It is truly a blessing to be a part of the Canine Therapy Team!

Emma Proudly Wears the Therapy Vest
By Linda McKeighen, Tampa, FL

...a dog gives us unconditional love. Sometimes, we take this for granted because our lives get busy. Our children take precedence; our finances cause life changes...Through thick and thin during this economic depression; I have been personally affected. With the loss of a corporate job, I was forced to sell my home and move four states away, breaking up my household with two daughters and a son nearby. My dog has been by my side all the while.

Last summer, my sweet boxer started losing the use of her back legs and after serious consideration, a set of "walk n wheels" were an option to give both of us a better quality of life. Little did I know how much she would become dependent on me.

The lesson in this journey has been to give back the unconditional love she has given to me all these years. I am no one to keep this abundance of love to myself so when I saw the therapy dogs in the lobby of our church and my friend Becky with her Marley, I jumped to volunteer. My dog, Emma proudly, wears a therapy vest and "trucks" down sidewalks, rolling over everyone's feet - some in sandals, happily displaying her desire to join the group, get the pats and rubs, and be in the middle of the action. Sometimes I feel like my "Cross is heavy to bear" caring for her, but I know that I am not alone and that her life still has purpose. Several children with disabilities: autism, MS, paraplegics have become verbal and interactive with her. She's my little pal and I am honored to be her owner. Christ's light shines also through the eyes of a therapy dog.

Encouragement From "Charlie"
By Jackie Jarboe, Dade City, FL

Dear Chaplain Larry,

I enjoy reading your stories about all of these amazing dogs. My dog, Charlie, had a banner day at Nu Vista. It was such an uplifting experience seeing the tears, the smiles, and the love the people shared with us. One man who had a stroke was in tears missing his puppy at home. Charlie gave him the incentive to work very hard to get back home to be with his beloved dog. One beautiful elderly lady had just lost her husband, but seeing Charlie made her feel more at home and more willing to get better. The stories are endless.

Everyone has a story. Each journey is unique. All have one thing in common -- the desire to feel the love and comfort only our Lord can give. May you continue to encourage all the teams in this special ministry that you so graciously started. May God bless you and Gracie for all the work you do for others and for Jesus.

Blessings!

Faces Light Up When Tiff Visits
By Wendy Corn, Tampa, FL

My dog, Tiff, became a Canines for Christ volunteer this past summer. I was drawn to contact Larry Randolph about Tiff possibly becoming a therapy dog soon after the youth put on the annual work camp known as R.I.O.T. Canines for Christ were part of the ministers to the Tampa Bay community during the 2010 R.I.O.T. camp. When I saw the photographs of those dogs, I wanted to get involved with this unique and amazing ministry.

God knew what he was doing when He put Canines for Christ on my heart. I have always loved and had dogs in my home. Tiff is a special girl who is very loyal, friendly and obedient. She also loves people. I had a feeling she would be a good candidate for the program. Larry agreed when he met her, and that was that.

No therapy dog had ever ministered to the residents on a regular basis. I am blessed as much as the residents when I take Tiff for a visit. Many of them keep a lookout for her on Thursday afternoon, when Tiff and I usually visit. Their faces light up and break out in grins when she comes up to them. One man, in particular, Juan, is unable to see, hear or speak but the joy on his face when he pets Tiff is unmistakable. Just visiting with Juan would keep Tiff and I going back to the Center.

If you have been thinking about this wonderful ministry, I urge you to contact Larry Randolph and get involved. For many years, I have been seeking how God would have me serve Him. Now, I have found it in Canines for Christ. If you decide to serve in this remarkable ministry, you will truly be blessed, as I have been.

Faith and Reba
By Patty Johnston, Saraland, AL

Hello Chaplain Larry!

Faith and I made our first visit this past Tuesday (10/28/2014) to North Mobile Nursing Home & Rehab. She did really well, I was real proud of her. I don't know how many residents we visited but it was a lot! The staff loved her as well. We went into the Therapy room, Alzheimer room, Recreation room and down 4 or 5 halls visiting everyone who liked dogs. Our visit lasted an hour and a half.

Going down one of the halls I was drawn into a room that the Activity Director (Jennifer) was going to pass up. There were two ladies in there, one of which I knew had perked up when she saw Faith. The other lady, Reba, was lying on a low bed. She had no teeth and could not speak but when we came up to her, Faith laid her head on the edge of the bed and just stayed there. I helped Reba touch Faith and she just smiled and smiled and smiled and laughed as best she could. The Activity Director could not get over it. She said she had never seen Reba smile like that before. Everywhere we went after that, Jennifer was telling every staff member she saw about how Reba had smiled so big in reaction to Faith and that she had never seen her do that.

I am thankful to be apart of Canines for Christ. For Faith and I to be able to show the love, compassion and joy of Jesus is a dream come true. To visit the lonely, hurting and sick and bring them a smile, I believe, blesses the heart of Jesus and blessed me too.

Thank you Chaplain Larry!

Faith, Trust, and God's Love in South Africa!
By Charmaine de Wet, Johannesburg, South Africa

I was desperate. My health was not good and my son, who has ADD, was struggling and I needed help. So I prayed. I was on the Internet looking for solutions and up popped an article on Therapy Dogs -- more specifically, Rottweiler's as therapy dogs. To this day I can't find that article despite constant searching.

It could only be God's hand.

My next problem was my husband. He had said no more animals and I could not go against his wishes. I also decided to look for Rottweiler breeders and was in shock at the prices for pups. The lowest price equaled 2 months grocery bill!

So I prayed and decided to have faith. If it was His will then I would have faith in Him and let Him lead.

A few weeks later we were told there were two 10 week old Rottweiler pups for a price that was about a week's worth of groceries. We could afford it! But my husband ...

So I prayed and had faith in His will. He changed my husband's heart -- A man who rarely changes his mind. God is all powerful!

The problem was that the pup was about 2 ½ hours from us and we were unable to get there. My husband knew there were people from his work visiting there so he phoned them. They were able to bring one of the pups up. Now it was just choosing which pup ...

I decided to have full faith in His plan.

My husband's Aunt stays in that area so I asked her to choose, knowing God would tell her which one he intended for His plan. Two days later and I was fetching my new Rottweiler pup but that is not the end of the story.

At puppy school we were the star pupils but then a road block. My pup got ill. I feared the worse and forgot to pray.

My faith was spent. Why would He bring me this far just to take it away?

My pup recovered and then another road block. The vaccinations she had received were tainted and with this info the puppy school requested we rather do private lessons at a price we could not afford.

I took a breath and prayed. I decided to let it go and again have faith in His plan.

We met a wonderful vet that re-vaccinated my pup and adored her. She encouraged me not to give up on the Therapy idea.

God sent me hope and my faith increased.

We found another dog school and started attending. My pup was amazing! She knew what to do when. It was as if she was born to it. Then came the thought of joining a Therapy group. We had been doing so much already for children at my kids' schools but we needed to be at least registered. It was the right thing to do.

I prayed and had faith. He guided me to Canines for Christ and I decided to join but there were a few more road blocks ahead.

I am based in South Africa and a therapy group in my country had contacted me to join with them.

I had faith. I was on the path He had chosen for me.

I chose Canines for Christ.

The lesson He taught me was to leave it in His hands and have faith in Him.

And by the way ... My pup's name is Faith.

*Charmaine de Wet and Faith live in Johannesburg, South Africa with her husband and 2 beautiful children. We are very blessed to have this family join Canines for Christ sharing the love of Jesus to people in her community. This truly a world wide outreach ministry and we give God all the praise for His blessing on us. If you would like to, please send an email to Charmaine.

Faith's Fan Club
By Patty Johnston, Saraland, AL

Chaplain Larry,

This is Faith and me with Jennifer, the Director of Activities, at North Mobile Nursing Home and Rehab in Mobile, AL. Jennifer told me today that the residents love Faith and ask about her all the time and that she loves seeing her as well. We visit every other Tuesday.

I appreciate Jennifer and her willingness to escort us around and help us.

It is so rewarding for me to see the smiles of those who have come to love this sweet and gentle Golden Retriever. And, what a blessing it is to be a "ministry of presence" as we go and love on the residents and bring a little joy to their day.

Thank you again for the opportunity to be a part of Canines for Christ. I love this ministry and I am praying for God to open another door for Faith and me to go and minister God's love and compassion.

Francis, A Canine for Christ
By "Francis" Boerst, Tampa, FL

My Name is Francis. I am a Canines for Christ therapy dog. Six years ago a nice man named Bill found me under the bushes and called a lady. I heard him say her name. It was Leslie. They talked for awhile and then Bill took me to a shelter. He said, "I will be back for you." I was scared, hungry, and sick. It was July 4th, 2004. What was going to happen to me?

Bill came back with the lady named Leslie, who is my mom now. She took me to an animal hospital and I felt better. Soon, I was trained to be a Certified AKC Dog. I went for testing and passed!! Because I have hip dysplasia, my knee snapped, I had two surgeries in three months. Mom helped me learn to walk again but she seemed sad. Her mom died and then, her dad.

She discovered Van Dyke Church, Pastor Matthew, and a man named Larry. Because of their connection, mom took me to a place called Suncoast Kids Place. I got to play with lots of kids but, they seemed sad. Then, I knew my reason for being rescued. It was to help them feel better.

I love working there but my legs have arthritis and my hips hurt all the time. My mom took me to a wonderful veterinarian. In the picture, I am working out in an underwater treadmill. I also get to do other exercises and therapy which promotes natural healing and pain relief. Now I can travel, play, and help at Suncoast Kids Place. I am so Happy! "Always have hope," my mom says. I Love Jesus!

Fred' s Gentle Touch
By Eva Herring, Pensacola, FL

Hi Chaplain Larry!

Things have been very busy! We have taken Fred on 2 searches that our local Search and Rescue Team went on.

At the first search, one of our team members was tired and asked Fred for a kiss. Fred very gently touched noses with the person.....I am not sure who was happier, the team member or Fred!

At the second search, he was able to meet the family of a missing person that we were searching for. A family member reached out their hand to Fred, and Fred was so sweet and gentle with them. They were able to love on Fred, allowing them to forget about the horrible situation around them.....if only for a moment.

Thank you for allowing us to be part of the Canines for Christ ministry!

Frodo with a new resident, Florence
By Liz Collier, Tampa, FL

Frodo and I met Florence who is a new resident at West Winds. So far, she prefers to read in her room and rarely ventures out. I'm hoping that Frodo will be able to show her that God's love is all around her, and she will open up to spending time with the other residents in their scheduled activities.

Frodo only sticks his tongue out when he is either happy or too warm. Since the facility is well air conditioned, I think we can assume that he was happy. He is still a little bashful but seems to be warming up to being in other people's laps as long as I remain close by.

GoD and DoG
By Susan Putt, Ada, OH

Well, thanks to your support and encouragement, Snickerdoodle and I are off and running! This past Monday we met with the activities director at Bluffton, Ohio's Mennonite Memorial Home. She is a dog lover herself and absolutely adores Snickerdoodle. She was thrilled that I contacted here, as she said they had a therapy dog or two a while ago, but hadn't had any recently and don't have any now. She spent an hour and a half with us, taking us around the home and introducing us to the residents whom she thought would appreciate our visits.

Already we are seeing God's work. I approached a woman sitting in a lounge area. I asked her if she would like it if Snickerdoodle and I visited with her for a while. An aide overheard me and told me that I was welcome to spend time with the resident, but that she didn't speak. After petting Snickerdoodle for a while, she said, "Nice dog" and then she said "Big dog." We laughed together when I told her that Snickerdoodle isn't even a year old and may be doing even more growing. I'm looking forward to visiting her again this coming week.

Last Monday I went to a talk given by the author of "Puppy in the Pulpit". Don't know whether you're familiar with this book or not. Her talk was mostly how dogs reflect God's love. She closed her talk with a song that I thought was wonderful. It encouraged me to find it on the Internet when I got home. You can find it at www.godanddog.org if you are interested. It is my intention to talk to different service groups and such and explain this wonderful ministry and this will be a wonderful resource.

That's all for now. Thanks so much for all of your help, support, and encouragement.

God's Plan
By Vicki Hyatt, Tampa, FL

I keep my eyes on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:8

If someone would have told me one year ago that I would be at such peace today, I would have never believed them. Like so many, finding myself caught up in the fast-paced corporate world, working 13 to 15 hours a day in a position I had held for over 20 years, things were beginning to unravel. I felt myself falling deeper and deeper into this hole that I could not escape. No matter how much I tried, how many days and hours were put in, there was no satisfaction in what I was doing, almost robotic like. All for what? Monetary rewards? Or to say I was loyal to a company? There was something so lacking in my daily routine.

Not only was my world spinning out of control with demands, I am a 53 year old woman diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2001. I had been very blessed to be able to maintain a relatively normal life. But because of the demands and the increased stress level of the position I had held for most of my adult life, my doctor suggested that I remove myself from the situation. Wow, what a blow! I know I could not keep up the pace. You see God had a plan for me.

In September 2011, I came across an article in our daily section of the newspaper; "On a Paw and a Prayer", explaining the Canines for Christ Ministry. I discussed this with my husband, how I thought Codi (my German Shepherd) and I would like to get involved. He agreed that it was a wonderful idea and that we would make a great team to visit and spread God's message of love, hope, kindness, and peace. That was just the beginning...This message that Canines for Christ takes to the world, was the same one that it brought to me. I found these things, not in searching and seeking wordly objects, but in using my time for a more worthwhile cause.

I am now filling my time with giving back; visiting and bringing a sense of joy to those that are hurting. Codi and I take part in various visitations. We are part of the grief support group, Suncoast Kid's Place, held at Bell Shoals Baptist Church and also go to see our veterans at the VA Hospital. On our visits to the VA, it is amazing to see the responses of some of the men and women who have returned from war; whose bodies and minds have been adversely affected by the tragedies they have faced. While we cannot change the situations, we can offer support and prayer. There is so much joy to be found when a young man, whose body has been broken by war, relates to an animal and sports a big grin. Nothing can duplicate that feeling of love. There is a connection there, not one of man's doing, but of God's Spirit. It is funny; I sometimes feel that I am reaping more of the blessings then those that I visit, because the sense of peace found can only come from God.

So you see, while I thought my world was unraveling, by my standards, God was putting together a better plan; one that would take away MY pain and disappointments and replace it with HIS peace and contentment. I thank God for this opportunity, to allow me to be a part of Canines for Christ. I will always keep my eyes on Him, for HE knows the plan not I.

God's Plan for "Bella"
By Ena and Clyde McDonald, Spring Hill, FL

When we went to the Pet Resource Center and chose Bella, we were told that she was heartworm positive, and that it would cost about $350 for her treatments. We were heartbroken because we knew we could not afford the treatments. We were given a card from Jagger's Dream, a wonderful organization that helps pay for treatments for animals. Jagger's Dream paid for Bella's treatments and gave her another chance at being a happy, healthy dog. She is now paying it forward and making others happy. She earned an AKC Canine Good Citizen patch and is a valued member of Canines for Christ. We are so proud of our Bella and are so blessed to have her. It was because of the kindness of Jagger's Dream that we were able to bring her home with us.

Jagger's Dream helps people like us who would not be able to bring home a precious pet without their financial help. Thank you, Jagger's Dream! Also, so that Jagger's Dream is able to continue helping other animals like Bella, please consider a donation to this wonderful organization

God's Power!
By Amy Windows, Tampa, FL

I am writing to share with you one of our experiences while Bo, Red, and I were out sharing God's love and light here in Tampa....

Bo, Red, and I arrived at a large public hospital here in Tampa to do some visits one weekend. We decided to stop in the hospital cafeteria for some lunch before heading upstairs to the patients' rooms. While we were eating, I noticed that a family at a table way in the back with three small children was paying lots of attention to Red. I got up and took her back there to see the kids and encountered a beautiful family with three of the most adorable red headed children you could ever meet. Of course, they could not believe it when I told them our dog's name was Red. I noticed a Bible sitting on their table and I began to talk to the parents. The children's young father was in a special wheel chair. He had been in the hospital for months after having had several of his vertebrae crushed in a work accident. His boss who had saved his life was there visiting all the way from Acadia. Bo and I asked if we could pray with them. We made a big circle around the table, everyone holding hands and those beautiful little ones bowed their heads and prayed along with us. Then we went over to their father and continued to pray. His boss began exclaiming, "I can feel the power of God in here" with tears coming down his face. He just kept saying "I can feel the power of God in here"... God's anointing was filling up that cafeteria. When two or more are gathered in His name and make their prayers known to Him, He shows up! I know that for sure. What an unexpected blessing during our lunch break. One we will never forget. All praise, glory, and thanksgiving to our King!

Gracie's Here! Gracie's Here!
By Terry Cone, Tampa, FL

Weekdays at 10 a.m., I'm surrounded by eager, impatient dance students ready to learn new routines. This advanced class is an intense, committed group of individuals made up of six dancers using wheelchairs and three traditional or "stand up" dancers. They are enthusiastic, dedicated, and passionate about dance. Nothing gets in the way of their lesson. Nothing but the cry, "Gracie's Here!"

Then everything goes to the dogs, or at least to one dog! Gracie is a gorgeous silver Labrador Retriever, who along with her trainer Larry Randolph, has visited Pyramid twice monthly for nearly two years as part of Van Dyke Church's Canines for Christ Program. Located on Sligh Avenue in Tampa, Pyramid is an adult day training center serving more than 150 individuals with a moderate to severe developmental disability.

Therapy dogs are trained to provide affection and comfort to people and that's our Gracie. The minute she and Larry set foot in Pyramid all other activities stop and the halls echo as students call, "Gracie! Gracie!" with huge smiles on their faces. Not at all intimidated by wheelchairs, Gracie greets everyone with a ready paw and lots of face licking. Larry will help Gracie balance on her hind legs and stretch up to a student's lapboard, so individuals with limited mobility can join the fun. Ambulatory students will frequently plop right down on the floor to snuggle with their four-legged friend.

Gracie's appeal cuts across a wide range of disabilities as she and Larry visit individuals with Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, Downs, and Prater-Willi syndromes, physical and mental retardation, autism, and traumatic brain injury. We have seen positive changes in the behaviors of numerous individuals as a direct result of Canines for Christ. Even students who are non-verbal or were fearful of dogs have blossomed under Gracie's love and Larry's patience.

Of course, Gracie is only part of the team. With his chaplain's background, Larry Randolph cares for each of God's special children at Pyramid. Larry remembers everyone's name and a particular fact about each student. He is quick with a smile and a pat on the back. Everyone feels important and valued when Larry is in the classroom.

In my dance class, students look forward to Larry's closing prayer as much as they do to Gracie's visit. After petting and playing with Gracie and getting their faces licked, students inch forward on their own to form the prayer circle. It is a very uplifting and spirit-filled moment.

Student Eric Nelson sums it up best. "Gracie and Larry work for God," he says, "so when they come into the room, it's like God is there loving us."

Gus' Amazing Response
By Sue Moore, Antioch, TN

Chaplain Larry,

I'm excited and Gus will be wonderful!! I know that this is a "God thing".

A little over two years ago I was delivering a cake to a friend and she has a little white terrier. I came home and told my husband that I wanted a lap dog. We weren't allowed pets growing up but Ray was, so his answer was "well get one". I went to the computer and found this little dog in our newspaper online. There was a picture of Gus and a description. I'd never heard of a Havanese before and I immediately got in touch with the lady and she asked lots of questions and we met her criteria. Early Monday morning, Ray went to play golf and I went to White House, TN and really thought I was probably going to a puppy mill. But, to my surprise there in the woods was a nice brick two-story house. This lady breeds championship Havanese and through the grapevine she heard a trainer/breeder had a Havanese that hadn't won enough to breed him. So, he just kept him in the crate and ignored him. He had been crated for 5 years and obviously had a bark collar that shocked him. Then they decided to take him to the pound. But, the lady in White House went to Kentucky and got Gus because she knew this dog didn't belong in a pound. When I went in her house she had her dining room fenced off for the females and the breakfast nook was fenced off for the males. And then there was Gus coming down the steps and jumped on the couch with me. I brought him home and, when Ray came home from playing golf, there's this little guy looking at him through the door. Gus had to have 9 teeth taken out and had ear mites. But, out of 100 people that wanted him we were blessed with him. He's such a big part of our lives and I really thing God meant for him to be ours.

After getting Gus 2 years ago, I knew I wanted to do something to give back and I wanted it to be with animals. I volunteered at the Metro Animal Control Center and walked the dogs. But, I found that 80% were pit bulls. They were sweet but they are so strong they just pulled me everywhere and I'm too old for that. So, I continued to volunteer as a photographer. Then I decided to see if I could take Gus and go to nursing homes. I looked up Bethany Assisted Living on Facebook and was going to send them a message. And there was a post about Ron Leonard and Canines For Christ. I got in touch with Ron and knew this is what I'm supposed to do. I am very open about my relationship with God and take every opportunity to share Christ.

A couple of weeks ago, my husband passed out a couple of times and after a couple of days in the hospital they sent him home with a heart monitor. We cancelled our vacation because he really wasn't well. One Sunday night, Gus kept pawing at Ray. Ray went to bed and Gus kept pawing at the sheet trying to pull it down and then Ray put the sheet up over his face so Gus would leave him alone and Gus got up on the pillow and started licking Ray's head. Now this is usually a mommy's dog and doesn't do the pawing and licking. Ray got up thinking maybe I was sick. Then we thought maybe Gus was sick. The next day, the doctor called and said they had gotten Ray's results from his monitor and we were to pack a bag and go to the hospital and fast. Ray's heart rate was 30 and Gus knew it. Ray had a pace maker put in the next day. I put Gus' service vest on him and he got on the hospital bed with Ray and put his little head on Ray's chest. I'd heard of things like this but now I've seen it.

Thanks for being a shining light for our Lord and Savior!

Harry and Hannah Share God's Love
By Joan Morales, Tampa, FL

Larry,

Just wanted to let you know that Harry, Hannah, and I were at Manor Care today and WOW! What a visit we had!

We met a young boy who was visiting his grandmother. He was obviously bored, just sitting around with nothing to do. Hannah quickly engaged him. He and Hannah began visiting with Harry and having a wonderful time. His dad was very thankful that we stopped by.

Soon after that, we were asked by one of the nurses to stop in and see a gentleman that she said was dying and needed a little lift in his spirit. Hannah and Harry came through again. The man, although weak, was very pleased to visit with Harry and when he saw Hannah his face lit up and he said she reminded him of his granddaughter.

After the visit, when we were on our way home, I asked Hannah what she thought of our day and she said “I really liked it! When can we go back again”?

Well, needless to say, what began as a school project will now be a regular part of our homeschooling life when we can get a sitter for our younger daughter.

Just wanted to let people know that it’s not just the patients that we touch with this ministry. It’s the visitors and sometimes us as handlers too!

God is good, all the time!

He's a "Petting" Dog
By Chaplain Steve Kesler, Tampa, FL

The power of the Canines for Christ ministry is difficult to describe but joyfully easy to experience. Just do it and you will see! Bruce, Hurley and I visited Citrus Park Mall in Tampa, FL the other day where many people stop to talk with us when we just sit in the center of the mall and let them come to us. All I say is "he is a 'petting' dog." That is all it takes. We get lots of opportunities to talk with folks. That day a lady came up with a four year old autistic child. He circled Hurley (a small 13 lb dog) for a while until he got the courage to actually touch him, then backed off, touched Hurley again, backed off then came and literally put his head down on Hurley. His mother almost cried at this unusual behavior for her autistic child.

Our loving God is so immediately and powerfully present in our C4C ministry that anyone can see Him. I started in this ministry thinking I would do it a couple of times a week, but we all see examples like this almost every time we go out. Now I am full time. I feel like I am bathed in God's love every time.

Blessings,
Chaplain Steve Kesler

Help! She's Dying!
By "Gracie" Randolph, Tampa, FL

A true story....

Is this really happening?......Before I get into my story, I must tell you that my life as the family dog in Larry and Susan's life has been amazing. From that day almost 7 years ago when he brought me home at eight weeks, I just knew that my life would be special. I remember when he told me that I was the calmest and gentlest puppy that the Christian breeder had ever raised and I would be a perfect therapy dog. So, since I was a free gift, he called me "Gracie", a gift from God to be used to glorify Him. God had it planned that I would have a purpose for my life, but I had no idea that I would see tens of thousands of people over the years. He created me for this purpose and faithfully I have honored this role in my life. Every day, I look forward to bringing smiles and joy to everyone I see, while my master shares the message of God's great love....... But,one day in October 2011, everything changed.... God had another special purpose for me on this day that I will never forget.

I was so happy as I had just been picked up from my friend's home after my masters had been on vacation for a week. The day was beautiful. Cloudless blue sky, cool breeze, familiar smells in my house and yard...I was home. Home at last. As I was laying down for my afternoon nap I suddenly heard a loud and unusual noise come from the bathroom. It was different than anything I had ever heard before. My instinct and senses told me that something was terribly wrong. I bolted from my comfortable spot and ran into the bathroom to find her lying on the tile floor. She was unconscious and not responding. Blood was coming from her mouth and forehead and she was turning blue. What was I to do? When I heard her fall and bolted into the room, he knew something was not right as I would have never reacted that way from a simple drop of a brush or bottle. He knew from my reaction that it was bad. As he ran into the bathroom, I could see the fear on his face and sense helplessness. His wife was lifeless and dying in his arms and he started praying..."God help me"...don't let her die now...tell me what to do...I need you right now!! While he was holding her in his arms, I was there with my nose on her belly, hoping to make her feel better and I wanted to be there to comfort her when she woke up. He carried her into the bedroom and called 911. I could feel the presence of Christ as he was praying and comforting her... It seemed like a long time but soon a lot of men in uniforms were at the door and I was nervous as I greeted them, but they understood and were very nice to me. I was not allowed to go back into the room as the men were working on her and I was very concerned. I sat at the door hoping to be able to go into the room to lay with her again. But, the men took her out of the house in a bed and away on a helicopter. She was still not awake. I heard the men say that she had a grand mall seizure and from the fall she had now had bleeding in the brain and it was serious. They were taking her to a trauma unit at a major hospital. It started out as a wonderful day, but how things can change so quickly.

What would have happened if we were out on a walk or playing in the yard? The results would have been very different. I believe that God has given dogs like me a special sense that knows when something is not right and places me in situations that will show His greatness as my Creator. Many of my fellow canines have similar stories of sensing danger or trauma and reacting to help that person. Perhaps, I was born for this one purpose and if that was the reason. I am very happy to have been there to help save her life. There is a happy ending to this true story. Today, she still has some issues from the brain injury but is happy and loving to me and her husband. I admire her so much in that she never once complained or asked God "Why me?". She always gives God praise for keeping her alive.

In The Beginning ...
By Chaplain Larry Randolph, Tampa, FL

....the story below was written by Deborah Bliss, program coordinator at the Pyramid Adult Development Center for the mentally and physically disabled in 2008. "Cody" was the very 1st Canines for Christ therapy dog and created the path for hundreds of canines to follow. Enjoy...

 

In the 11 years I've worked at Pyramid, this is one phrase I never thought would come out of my mouth: "We have gone to the dogs or at least one dog."

Cody, the "Wonder Dog", is actually a therapy dog. Along with trainer Larry Randolph, Cody is at the Pyramid every other Wednesday. They are part of a program called Canines for Christ, a Christian Outreach Ministry. The program was started two years ago by chaplain Randolph and his wife Susan. Teams from various churches regularly visit facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living centers, children's grief centers, hospice centers and many other facilities. Therapy dogs are trained to provide affection and comfort to people, and that's our Cody.

The minute he and Mr. Randolph set foot in Pyramid, all other activities stop. "I was amazed, says training instructor Jocelyn Summons. Cody first came into our classroom during snack time and this is a group that loves their snacks. In one second, everyone stopped eating and started reaching out to pet the dog. You've never seen so many smiles and happy faces." Ed Griffin (in photo) is a case in point. He sits down on the floor and Cody snuggles into his lap while Mr. Griffin gets next to him. When Cody and Mr. Randolph move to the next class room, Mr.Griffin becomes their official escort and follows them everywhere with a big smile on his face. Michael Coates was uncomfortable around dogs and would have to be taken to my office while everyone else gathered around Cody. But Mr. Randolph worked one-on-one with Cody and Mr. Coates and pretty soon Mr. Coates reached out his hand to Cody. Mr. Coates and Cody still enjoy that one-on-one time.

"To see the happiness that Cody brings the students at Pyramid warms my heart and I feel very blessed to be part of this program, says Mr. Randolph."

 

...Cody passed away August 2014, but it was he that opened the door for so many dogs to reach out with the love of Christ to the world.

Iraq War Veteran Inspires Many
By Chaplain Larry Randolph, Tampa, FL

Joel (permission granted) was injured in Iraq and has had over 100 operations. Joel has been an inspiration to many with his positive attitude and his gift to encourage others. Gracie has made such an impact in Joel's rehab, that he now has a British lab in training for a service/therapy dog. Our lives are better for meeting and knowing Joel.

God bless you and thank you for all you have done for us.

Joni and Georgia - A Unique Beginning
By Joni Deitch, Lutz, FL

I would like to start my testimony by saying that I am so proud to be a part of the Canines for Christ Ministry! My beginning with this Ministry is unique and very special to me. On my very first visit to Van Dyke Church, I was greeted by the one and only "Gracie". She noticed that I was wearing a cast on my left leg and she was quite curious. She sat next to me during the service as did her parents, Larry and his Wife. After the service the Randolphs were so kind to me and spoke with me about my visit to Van Dyke and a little about what lead me there. I left church that day feeling very touched by that experience never knowing that I would become involved with the ministry. It just so happened that one of my next visits to Van Dyke was when the church was inviting members to learn about the different ministries available in and outside of the church. Of course when I saw Larry and Gracie I went right over to inquire. Larry told me enough about the ministry that I knew I was hooked. We arranged for a meeting at Nu Vista Rehab for my Georgia to do her first trial run at being a good candidate for the ministry. I was so impressed by how sweet she was and the fact that she passed with flying colors on that very day.

The rest has been so incredibly humbling and special to me. From seeing people in the rehab center that have injuries like the one I suffered after my accident, to the disabled adults at Pyramid, and the nursing home patients that are so welcoming when the dogs come visit. I just can't explain how it makes me feel to give my time to these people. Georgia and I are proud to be a part of this Ministry. A huge thank you to Mr. Larry Randolph and Gracie for changing our lives.

Joy, Smiles, and Love ... So Special
By Chaplain Larry Randolph, Tampa, FL

The day started out as a normal day with our scheduled visit to the Pyramid to minister to the students with the weekly bible study and the abundant round of licks and kisses from their dogs friends. We had been advised that the students and staff wanted all the C4C teams to come as they were planning something for us. Then what happened was a gift from God...

The staff and students had a “birthday appreciation party” for the C4C volunteers .The Doggie volunteers were treated to “homemade” dog cupcakes, beautiful water bowls, handmade name tags, and each dog was presented with an “artist painting of their picture”. Also, we were given a $40.00 donation from the students, that represented most of their money for the week.....wow!

Knowing the level of disability that most of these people have, I can say that the love that when into preparing this party was an act of “Amazing Love” that came from the presence of Jesus Christ being in that facility and in their hearts. Many expressed in their own way that this ministry had “changed their lives” and that the love we gave to them was returned tenfold!! We are honored to be servants of Christ and give Him all the glory...Thank you, Lord for touching the hearts of people as only you can do.

The C4C volunteers present were:

* Linda Cassidy and Belle
* Crystal Grimes and Roman
* Laura, Carl Stewart and Chloe and Leah
* Larry, Susan Randolph and Gracie

May God bless you,

Chaplain Larry

Kay + A Tiny Cross = A Huge Act of Faith
By Chaplain Larry Randolph, Tampa, FL

For the past several years, I have been a regular shopper at a local grocery store where Kay works as a cashier. Often, I bring Gracie with me after I have just completed a day of visits in the community.

The response to her is wonderful from everyone as she accompanies me in the store. Kay observed that I had a cross on my lapel that was in the colors of the American flag and remarked that it was beautiful. Immediately, I presented it to her as a gift. Later, I heard that she in turn gave away her cross after someone asked about it. So, henceforth, I have now given her dozens of crosses and she gives these out to many people in the store and elsewhere. She has told me that this is how she serves our Lord, by sharing this tiny cross as a symbol of her faith.

Folks, never doubt that the smallest gift can make a huge difference in the life of someone. These cross are available for you to share in community as you reach out to people with your faith.

God bless you, Kay. We are grateful for you.

Kisses and Blessings
By Karen Massey, Perry, FL

Greetings Chaplain Larry and friends:

What a blessing to be a part of such a wonderful ministry. Recently Belle and I attended a health scholars camp for middle schoolers. We talked about the benefits of pet therapy and gave lots of kisses. We have been invited to another one in July. Belle received her advanced therapy dog patch and I thank you for information on this. We continue our weekly visits to the nursing home. They bless us every time we go. Our prayers are with all of you.

Laura's Story
By Laura Stewart, Tampa, FL

My story, my life REALLY, begins on June 26, 2007, the date of my near death car crash. It took me a couple of years to understand why I was still here, until I discovered Canines for Christ and The Pyramid School, among many other places that I go.

Carl (my hubby) and I started taking our dogs to the Pyramid School for adults with disabilities. EVERY WEDNESDAY, we would pack up Leah, our 5 year old white English lab, and Chloe, our 10 year old yellow lab.

What a wonderful experience, not only to hear Chaplain Larry give his wonderful Bible Study, but to see all of those precious faces. Some can clearly speak, some just a little and others do not speak at all, BUT GOD ALWAYS knows what they are feeling and wanting to say. When Carl and I, and Chaplain Larry and his wife Susan, began visiting the Pyramid, we were the C4C canine group. That group has now grown from Gracie, Leah & Chloe, to add Skipper, Murphy, Mattie, Belle and many other dogs at times! No matter what level of understanding the students have, their EYES ALWAYS LIGHT UP knowing that "Jesus with fur has just entered the house."

When Chaplain Larry gives his Bible lesson, the "AIR" within the School moves like nothing I have felt before, except in one other place; that was on the operating table during surgery after my car crash. I remember God saying to me, "It is not your time; you have more to do!" At the end of every day, Chaplain Larry asks for any special prayer requests. The one I would always hear from one man was, "If I have any family left on this earth, I would love to meet them some day." I would listen to Willie, week after week, making the same petition to meet any of his family that might still be on this earth. So, as I struggled with my own purpose, I mentioned Willie to my mom. She always told me," If you can find the good in a bad situation, you are a better person for it." I told mom about Willie and his weekly prayer. Being the mom that she is, she said, "Why don't we adopt him?" I prayed about it. How would Willie feel? Would it be fair to the rest of the students at the Pyramid School? Could I get my sister, brothers and my own children to embrace Willie as I felt God had asked me to do? So, I asked Willie. "Would you like my family to adopt you?" With a big smile on his face, he said, "Yes, I SURE WOULD." Willie still prays that someday he would like to meet his real family, BUT HE LOVES HIS NEW FAMILY TOO!

My parents visit every January for the month. This year, with the help of Terry from the Pyramid, Willie was able to come for my birthday, on January 12th, to meet his new family. My children, friends, grandchildren, his “grammie”, his new parents and many dogs were there! I feel blessed that not only do I have a new brother, but I hope I was able to make his wish, in some small way, come true.

Learning Your Function, Inc. Praises C4C
By Jim and Amy Cracchiolo, LYF Inc., Directors, Wesley Chapel, FL

About a year ago, Learning Your Function Inc. (LYF Inc.), was blessed with an offer from an existing ministry in the Tampa Bay Area. A mother of a client, offered to use her resources to invite Canines for Christ to our program. As director, weighing the impact was an easy task for me and my administrative staff. "Sure," I told her, "our student's love dogs!" But, what was disguised as a simple suggestion from a parent, a pack of pooches, and a lesson of the day has transformed into the continuation of the predetermined course of His plan for our program.

Canines for Christ carries a profound faith in Jesus Christ and the impact that He has on others, especially when using their personal companions as a conduit for expression. Lessons on the importance of kindness, understanding, and forgiveness, all cornerstones of His teachings, are expressed through meaningful stories using canines as the main characters. Our students eagerly seek guidance as they seek attention from the live main characters, Chewy, Gracie, Rascal, Georgia, and of course Bruce. Many different breeds, but all created in His image with compassion and gentleness that resonate the Living God.

It is said that you cannot trace His hand, but you can trust His heart. Canines for Christ exemplifies this message, by impacting the students, staff, and program by sharing His word. LYF Inc. bases its educational model on functional life skills, ones that can be applied after being taught. We cannot thank Canines for Christ enough for the sharing of the words and actions of Jesus Christ, so that, like independence, socialization, and employment, we can implement His teachings in our everyday lives.

Sincerely With the Grace of God,
Jim and Amy Cracchiolo

Let's Go To Work!
By Patty Johnston, Saraland, AL

Dear Chaplain Randolph,

Let's Go To Work!

When I put on Faith and Ranger's Canines for Christs Therapy Dog vest I say; "Let's go to work!" We head into the nursing home or to work with Special Needs children and they do their job of loving on people while bringing them comfort and joy.

We celebrate Labor Day as a tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. When we as Christians do the Lord's "work", our goal is to contribute to the strength, spiritual prosperity, and well-being of the Body of Christ and to minister to the lost and hurting.

1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV) tells us: "Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."

And, Galatians 6:9 (KJV) tells us: "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."

So...I encourage you with your personal gifting and calling to "keep up the good work"!

God Bless and enjoy your Labor Day weekend!

Lives Touched at the Florida Hospital
By Diane Hollrah, Volunteer Services Coordinator, Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel, Wesley
Chapel, FL

In June 2014, Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel began a wonderful partnership with Canines for Christ. As a brand new, start- up faith-based facility, we were excited about growing the Volunteer Department with services that provided quality, compassionate and Christ-centered care to our patients and their loved ones. When we met Chaplain Larry Randolph, C4C Coordinator, we knew it was the perfect match.

The pet therapy volunteers at our 83 bed hospital have provided over 800 visits to our patients and staff in just 8 short months. The feedback we receive is, without exception, so positive that we hope to add more pet therapy volunteer teams in the near future.

Not only do the patients look forward to seeing the animals, but the hospital staff has embraced the teams as well. Often there are long days of stress, sadness and trauma in a hospital environment so the pure joy and calming effect that the animals provide are much welcomed and appreciated. Having the handler and animal involved with patient visits allows for a break in monotony, loneliness, fear and anxiety and also provides comfort, perhaps a "touch of home" and an excellent opportunity to "extend the healing ministry of Christ."

We have witnessed the significant difference that our partnership with Canines for Christ has made to the kind of care we strive daily to provide and we look forward to this continued partnership for many years to come.

Lovable Nia
By Sally Severson, Pensacola, FL

It's been almost three years since I got "Nia". We had just had our pet English Bulldog pass away and were contemplating getting another. We had been praying and seeking what the Lord would have us to do. God laid on our hearts a cute and lovable English Bulldog from our local pet store. My husband purchased her for me for Valentines Day. I prayed and asked the Lord what He wanted for me to do with her, because I believe all we have and do should bring glory and honor to HIM. So, how do you bring glory and honor to the Lord through a bulldog? God gave me the idea to use her as a therapy dog, but as a therapy dog for HIM. Awgh! I thought "How do I do that?" Then I used Google and found Canines for Christ. I contacted Pastor Larry to ask if I could be a part of C4C even though I am in Pensacola, FL. Of course, Pastor Larry being so gracious said yes. He told me what I needed to do to get her ready. So we took classes and trained and became a certified therapy dog. God even brought the perfect dog into our lives for His plan. She has a great temperament and loves people and truly enjoys her visits.

We visit an assisted living facility, a local school for children with disabilities, Pyramid, and ARC Gateway which has many local facilities for all ages of people with special needs. We have also attended special events for disabled children and the local Veteran’s Home in AL. I have learned through this journey that when God tells you to do something, do it, no matter how impossible it may seem to us. God has taught me also that as much as I know we are ministering to others in the facilities we visit, God is working in my life and showing me more about who He is. He created us all in His image and loves us all. He loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for us. We all have a purpose and He can use all things to bring glory to HIM, even a bulldog. I am humbled to be a part of this ministry and excited to see where the Lord will lead us. I continue to pray that He be glorified in all that I do and that I be changed and become more like HIM in the process. He made us and knows what He wants us to do on this journey He has us on while we are here on the earth.

Mattie -- A Tiny Wonder Dog
By Brenda Bowden, Tampa, FL

Dear Chaplain Larry,

When I was a little girl, my family always had between 4 and 6 Chihuahuas. Some were teacup, some toy, some up to a whopping 5 pounds! But they were all loving, sweet animals, and I have the most wonderful memories of each of them! My mother taught Snowball to say "I want out," and "Ball;" and my sister taught Tinkerbell to play ball by pushing the ball back and forth, each with their nose. My little dogs never met a stranger, and they gave us many, many moments of joy and love.

When I grew up, I knew I would someday have another Chihuahua. But teaching day school and night school for more years than I like to count, I never had time to devote to a little dog. So, when my children were young, we opted for larger dogs that seemed to be perfectly happy being left alone all day, and I continued to dream of the day when...

I retired October, 2012, after 38 ½ years of teaching, and knew the time was right. I began the search for the perfect puppy and, after about 6 months, I found her. She weighed 1 ½ pounds and was the most adorable white and black ball of fur you could imagine. When I took her home, I realized, for the first time, what it meant to be the adult owner of a little puppy: seemingly endless days closed up in the kitchen while I tried patiently to explain the concept of potty training to a member of the breed that is notorious for being hard to potty train. After a few months, I had another stark realization: I had waited for freedom from my job to raise a puppy that was taking away my new-found freedom, and I was frustrated to say the least. Would I ever be able to go anywhere? Do anything?

I decided that training was the answer, and my first thought was that she would be an agility competitor. So, I signed her up for puppy classes with a friend of mine who trains agility dogs. Not only does she train them, but the year before, she had trained the first ever National Agility Champion Chihuahua. My plan was that Mattie would be #2. After 8 sessions, Mattie and I both knew that wasn't going to work. I could read her thoughts: "You want me to go through that dark tunnel, really?" "Do I have to jump off that table?" "How many more times do we have to go around in circles?" "I don't like this at all!"

Once again, I was back to the kitchen. And now, I had new questions. Even if we did ever get her potty trained, how would I ever be able to do the things I had looked forward to doing like volunteering? Serving at the church? Visiting the sick? Doing anything of lasting value??? The answer alluded me, but by then I was in love with the little cotton ball we had named Mattie that I had to find an answer.

So that night, I decided to ask God what to do. I admit that I told him I really loved her and I hoped He wouldn't tell me to find her another home so I could serve Him better. I asked Him to please show me how I could use her to help others and glorify Him. In the middle of the night, I awoke from a dream in which He had done just that. In the dream, I was visiting a child of about 10 years old who was in a hospital bed with an unknown ailment. Her caregiver said that no one knew what was wrong with her, but that her family did not expect her to recover because she didn't have the will to live. Without a moment's hesitation, I replied that I had someone who could make her smile. "Well, bring her in," she said enthusiastically. I explained that it really wasn't a someone, but the caregiver said she didn't care; bring it in anyway! So, I left the room and returned with Mattie. I brought her to the child's bed. I could see something about the child that no one else could - a large dark circle across the child's abdomen. I put Mattie on the bed, and she immediately climbed up the child's body and started kissing her face all over. The child laughed, and, miraculously, the dark circle began to shrink and finally disappear!

I awoke and sat bolt upright. "That's it!" I said. I knew I had my answer from God. God had told me that Mattie would help sick people feel better. What I didn't know was how in the world a tiny puppy could do that. Weren't all service dogs large? Labradors and Golden Retrievers were all I had ever known about. How in the world could a puppy with a goal weight of 3 ½ pounds do the work they do? But I have learned not to question God about the details. Whatever He calls us to, He will prepare for us. So I went back to sleep, knowing that God would make a way, and that I wouldn't be stuck in the kitchen forever.

The first thing in the morning, I began to research. I learned about therapy dogs, what their training had to be, how and where they serve, and what local therapy dog groups there were. After discovering Canines for Christ online, I instantly knew that was the group we would work with. I enrolled Mattie in obedience classes and by ten months old, she had her Canine Good Citizen certification. Now, we were ready to contact Larry Randolph and see if she qualified. Mattie and I met Larry and his white Lab Gracie at Panera Bread, and Mattie fell in love with Gracie. Larry said he thought Mattie would work out just fine, and he ordered cards and an extra small red vest for her. A friend of mine made the red vest over into half its original size to fit Mattie who was then 3 pounds, and we were ready to go for our first visit.

The first day we walked into Pyramid (a daycare for developmentally disabled adults), Mattie knew what she was meant to do, and she gave kisses to everyone she met. Her favorite that day seemed to be Regina, a quadriplegic in a wheelchair who can't move and can't speak. When I set Mattie on the tray of her chair, Mattie wouldn't stop kissing her face. I became concerned that perhaps Regina didn't like that, so I asked her to blink if she wanted Mattie to stay with her. She blinked. Thinking she might have blinked coincidentally, I asked her to blink twice if she wanted Mattie to stay. She blinked twice and her smile lit up the room. Mattie seemed to instinctively know that Regina needed something extra that day. From that time forward, Regina looks forward to seeing Mattie; and Mattie always nuzzles her face and kisses her when they meet.

Since then, Mattie has developed many other friendships in a variety of places. She climbs onto the lap of her "Aunt" Caroline who is wheelchair bound and who patiently waits to hold her every week, she snuggles on the bed of her "Uncle" Frank whose arthritis is so bad that he is bedridden, she entertains her "Aunt" Nancy who suffers paralysis from a muscular dystrophy medicine she was given but loves to laugh at Mattie's games and the outfits she sometimes wears when she visits. The list of names of her "Aunts" and "Uncles" goes on and on, but she never tires of seeing and loving on them.

Mattie is 2 ½ years old now, and together, we have the freedom I was so afraid of losing. Together, we go almost everywhere. Mattie's purpose in life is to make people smile and laugh; and it doesn't matter if it is in a hospital room, an assisted living facility, a daycare, a grief center, a school, a church, a store, or on the street. Just like the puppies of my childhood, Mattie has never met a person she didn't like, and she makes friends everywhere. I have never thought of myself as being particularly outgoing, but with Mattie, it's easy. She makes the introductions everywhere I go. She says, "Hi. I love you." And it is easy to have conversations after that. Her extra, extra small red vest says "Canines for Christ," and that is a great conversation starter, too.

I now know why Mattie didn't like those dark tunnels or high tables or circular runs on the agility field. It's not because she lacked courage. Mattie has the courage of a superhero. She's not afraid of big dogs, big people, wheelchairs, crippled bodies, arms and legs that don't work quite right. I believe she just knows that people aren't supposed to be left in the dark. They need the light and love of God. And she gives it with a warm snuggle and wet kisses. She knows that some situations make people feel like they've been left on a high table and that makes them afraid, and people shouldn't be afraid. So she lets them hold onto her so tightly she can't move. She knows going in circles, trying to get off the wheel of illness or despair makes people dizzy, and she tries to steady them and make the whirl of anxiety stop.

Perhaps I've personified her a little too much. But I don't really think so. Therapy dogs are wonder dogs. They do God's work. And they open doors for us to do God's work and share God's Word. I will always be thankful that God gave me a dream that led Mattie and me to Canines for Christ. Neither of our lives will ever be the same again.

Mickey
By Bill Fox, Cincinnati, OH

At age 50, my father suffered a disabling stroke that rendered him paralyzed on his left side. After months of rehabilitation, he regained his ability to walk with the aid of a cane. A proud and hardworking man, he remained determined to improve his situation. Every day as part of his recovery proces, he walked around our neighborhood to gain physical strength and fight depression. Our family dog, Mickey, although never obedience trained, became my father's constant companion and protector. That experience left a lasting impression on me about the value and benefits of canine presence in the therapeutic process. I have never forgotten about our dog Mickey and his contributions to my father's mental and physical well-being.

Through church involvement and our desire to serve the Lord, my wife, Pam and I wanted to pursue a special ministry that would have a positive impact on God's people. We soon discovered that the need for Pet Therapy Volunteers exceeded the response and we began exploring avenues to help fill this need. We learned about Canines for Christ and knew that this ministry was consistent with the goals we envisioned. Upon presenting the Canines for Christ Ministry to our Pastor Tad Grover, he gave us his blessing to involve our church. We began seeking volunteers by serving as Sunday morning greeters with our dog Eli. This sparked immediate interest from the congregation and we soon began receiving inquiries from members wanting to become involved.

Steve Bader, our Trainer, added his support by offering to conduct the necessary training to certify volunteers. To date, we currently have eight teams from Sharonville UMC and Friendship UMC. We will soon have teams ready for visitations in service to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

God planted a seed in my heart long ago through my father and our family dog Mickey that I may one day serve God through Canines for Christ.

Miracles
By Carl Stewart, Tampa, FL

Almost six years ago, I was witness to a miracle when my wife Laura survived a car crash in which she flat lined twice and doctors told us that she stood almost no chance of recovery. Last week, I discovered my ninety-year old mother on the floor of her bedroom in a state of confusion. She was rushed to the emergency room where we were informed she had suffered a massive stroke and doctors told us that she had no chance of recovery and we should expect her to survive from only two hours to a maximum of two days. So per her wishes, we took her home from the hospital where three generations of family and two Canines for Christ ambassadors (Chloe and Leah) gathered around her. Chaplain Larry Randolph came by to prepare her for passage and she was at peace with God. Then as with my wife, we started a prayer chain that spread all across the country. Today, my mother is in rehab at John Knox Village and is making amazing progress towards recovery. Not everyone gets to see a miracle but I feel I have now seen two miracles and witnessed and felt the power of prayer and the grace of God's presence. Who knows how long my mom's recovery will take or last but her goal is to see her first great grandchild, Parker, walk as well as future great grandchildren. Who can dispute God's miracles?

Moonbeam -- A Perfect Match for Carlos
By Chaplain Larry Randolph, Tampa, FL

This is an incredible story about perseverance and faith.

Two years ago, I was eating lunch at Panera Bread with Gracie, and Carlos was there with his mother. We noticed that he was observing us and when we finished eating, he came over in his wheelchair to ask about the Canines for Christ ministry and said that he had recently lost his service dog...and could I find him a dog like Gracie? (this is a frequent request). But, more importantly to him was that he could use the dog as a volunteer with Canines for Christ to tell people about God's love as he visited places in the community. Carlos was diagnosed with MS in his mid thirties and has been limited to a wheelchair for several years. He wanted to have a dog that would give him emotional support, comfort and unconditional love, and one that would adapt to his physical condition. I knew that this would take a special dog and that it would take time and God's help though prayer. So over the past two years, Carlos was patient and prayerfully persistent to wait until the right dog came available. ...Enter MOONBEAM... a beautiful white German Shepard that was located by this ministry and trained and certified as an Emotional Support Dog for Carlos. Smart, loving, gentle and loyal is this breed and she has been the perfect match for Carlos. The dog never leaves his side and has a emotional attachment to Carlos that was given by God in His wonderful plan of kindness, compassion and love.

Thank you Carlos for your faith and patience. You bring encouragement to many with your love of Jesus in the midst of your physical condition. We are grateful to have you and Moonbeam in C4C.

Carlos Vila lives in Temple Terrace, FL with Moonbeam and visits nursing homes, rehab facilities, doctor's offices, restaurants and goes everywhere with Moonbeam. They are inseparable. This is a picture at a rehab facility they recently visited.

My Guardian Angels
By Charles Salzman, New Port Richey, FL

Dear Chaplain Randolph,

One evening in June 2016, around 7:45 p.m., I came out of the Port Richey library on Main Street, in New Port Richey, FL and to my dismay found my car battery had died. Having called AAA, I was told it would be over an hour before any assistance would arrive. Somewhere around 8:30 PM, 2 guardian angels arrived and parked a few cars from me in the form of Cheryl Beckwith and her husband. They were walking a dog and as they passed me and my wife Halina, my wife spoke to Mr. Beckwith telling him our problem. I didn't even catch his name. She told him of our plight and he proceeded to assist me in managing to get to the back of my vehicle to retrieve the jumper cables (as the rear only unlocks by using the remote) and then he drove his car up to mine where he jump started my car. I cannot tell you how kind a deed this was. They truly were guardian angels. Mrs. Beckwith gave my wife a Canines for Christ card and that is how we knew to contact you via the website.

I am 82 and no longer am able to go under the dashboard and reach over folded seats etc. to do what Mr. Beckwith did to help.

My heartfelt thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Beckwith.

Thank you and God bless you.
We believe in John 3:16 as well.

Sincerely,
Charles Salzman

Oliver Brings Light Into the Darkness
By Deanne Rhode, Lutz, FL

We have an organization at Idlewild Church called Passion for Prison that goes into prisons to share the gospel and encourage inmates. Now, as you can imagine this is a very structured effort with many limitations. They, Passion for Prison, have asked Oliver and I to join them and finally received clearance. So tomorrow he and I will join Passion for Prison at Hernando County Women's Corrections. Please pray that the Holy Spirit speaks through me and softens hearts of those who are tough. Please pray that Oliver does not suffer any heat related issues because we will be outdoors most of the day and it is going to be hot.

...following is the story after they visited the prison...

I have one tired puppy!! It was incredible. The Lord's light shines brightly in an environment I would have never expected to see it. The testimonials from staff, inmates, and volunteers impacted me greatly to expand my relationship with Christ and how to help those seeking him and all his glory. I can honestly say it was like being at a revival. The Lord's presence was palpable. I listened to the most impactful testimonial I have ever experienced from their compound Chaplain that has really made me sit down and really think -- boy do I have a long way to go in my spiritual walk. We worshiped, we prayed, we laughed, we cried, we danced, we ate, and we shared the love of the Lord.

I had to keep reminding myself these ladies were criminals, as we hugged, laughed and worshipped together. This group was so kind, faithful, respectful and just a joy. Technically we are not allowed to have any physical contact but I couldn't not love on them!! The guards were very forgiving and looked the other way!! Talk about the Lord's favor.

I think Oliver is going to sleep for three days!! He, of course, was just a big ball of love and has been invited back! We were thanked all day long for coming and that Oliver not only made their day but made their year. He was surrounded by inmates loving on him all day long. Hugs, kisses, belly rubs and smiles!

Thank you Canines for Christ for the opportunity to be able to serve and grow in my walk with the Lord.

Only God Can Do Miracles...Here Is One
By Jackie Ruggles, Odessa, FL

How I became involved with Canines for Christ...

When our boys were young, we moved to a house on a lake in a suburb of Tampa, Florida. We were nestled in the woods on 5 acres of land. It was a great place to raise kids and dogs. Soon after our move we adopted two Labrador Retriever puppies. They were a wonderful addition to our family! Because we had property considered by many of our friends to be "a dog's paradise," over the years we would help out friends by keeping their dogs during transitional times. We decided to keep one of the dogs for good when our friends could no longer care for him. He was a 1 year old Golden Doodle. The boys nick-named him "Ozzie." He had a standard poodle body. He was very tall and fast. One day, I was taking our younger son to a birthday party, when I noticed all three of our dogs following my car out of the drive-way. This is something they often did but always turned around to go back home after we made it as far as our mailbox. On this occasion, I looked in my rear view mirror and saw all three dogs stopped at the mailbox. I did not know that Ozzie had decided to sprint to the car and had gotten ahead of me. Ozzie was killed instantly. It was a devastating time, particularly for our boys, who had become very attached to Ozzie.

I never could have imagined what would follow... We met Chaplain Larry and Susan through a bible study a few years after moving to our lake house. We met initially through Community Bible Study but also attended the same church where Canines for Christ first began. Approximately two years after Ozzie died, our younger son noticed a dog in our yard. He told me the dog was abandoned and that he could see his ribs. I was sure he belonged to a neighbor as it would have been very unlikely for an abandoned dog to wonder in our yard so far from a road. However, he turned out to be lost. He was not chipped, and it did not appear anyone had been looking for this sweet Golden Retriever. "Buddy" joined our family that day in 2009. The vet guessed him to be between 1 and 2 years old. Buddy appeared to have received some training as a puppy. He walked perfectly on a leash and was well behaved. He loved kids and other dogs. I knew I had to share God's blessing with others so this summer when my schedule allowed, I contacted Chaplain Larry who evaluated Buddy and certified him to be a Canines for Christ therapy dog.

However, my story with Canines for Christ doesn't stop there. Last August, our older of two boys was starting his Sophomore year in college. He found a little injured toy poodle hiding under his room mate's truck in his driveway. She was not chipped, and no one claimed her from ads they posted. Our son drove her 26 hours to Tampa. We fell in love with this sweet little dog, Lana. After evaluation from two vets she was referred to an orthopaedic specialist who had to amputate her back leg. She recovered well and has since become part of the Canines for Christ team. Vets estimate she is about 7 years old, like Buddy. Although we would never want to again experience the loss of a pet in such a way as with Ozzie, we cannot overlook how a golden retriever and a poodle (the two breeds that make a Golden Doodle) needed to be saved and found us. Some would call it a coincidence, but I choose to look at it as a gift from God. We love sharing our time and story with people of all ages and in all places and circumstances through the ministry of Canines for Christ. It has been a wonderful blessing and affirms Romans 8:28, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called to His purpose".

Thanks for the opportunity to share our story...

Our True Path
By Laura Stewart, Tampa, FL

The definition of a Christian volunteer is a person who freely commits their time and talents to a ministry of choice. The road or path one takes to make that commitment is different for everyone, but we all end at the same destination, sharing God's love and kindness with others.

My path has led me to share God's love with our dog. Chloe and I joined this wonderful spirit-filled fellowship several months ago. Through this ministry I have met soldiers struggling to put their lives back together with hard work and the love of family and friends. A kiss from Chloe or simply just sitting there even though they may not see her but just long enough to feel her spirit! I can feel God's presence right there by their sides. The VA Hospital is a very large place without our guides, Larry and Gracie, Chloe and I just wander the halls and let God lead the way! We always seem to visit exactly the people who need us most. With the families waiting for their loved ones in surgery, Chloe seems to know EXACTLY where to go. When Chloe and I walk into the room, it is as if their spirits are lifted on angels wings. SMILES ABOUND!

The first assisted living facility Chloe and I visited, Emeritus, has always been very dear to my heart. It seems with each visit the number of residents wishing to love the dogs and their interest with C4C increases dramatically. As the months have passed I have tried to learn the names of many of the individuals and their joy at being recognized is heart warming and special. Chloe and Leah know that when I get out their vests on Wednesday (they go bananas) we must be going to the Pyramid School. They love the people, the energy and the attention. Larry knew when he brought us to Pyramid and opened that door how awesome our walk with the Lord would be.

Chloe has become very dear to my heart but I know she is getting older. I recently asked Larry for the name of the breeder who blessed him with Gracie. On the very day I called "it just so happened" a friend of hers could no longer care for one of her dogs. "it just so happened", this friend asked her to find Leah a home. "it just so happened" after hearing my testimony and a promise to use Leah with C4C, we had a new addition to our family. I told Larry the story and "it just so happened" that they turned out to be sisters!

Now, I do not believe in coincidences or "it just so happened"... I believe God brought me to Canines for Christ for many reasons among these was to bring these two sisters together! Gracie & Leah will spread God's love and joy through Canines for Christ! We would like to thank all of the people for allowing us to be part of their lives sharing their strength and courage with us! God brought Chloe, Leah, Car, and myself to share our love of the Lord with others and everyday WE ARE REWARDED RIGHT BACK!

Passion and Barbara - A Life Changed
By Darleen Senete, Brookfield, CT

Dear Larry,

Passion and I met Barbara Fabian last week. She has been a patient at Bethel Health Care for 6-7 weeks. She has had many challenges over that time, but the good news is that she is expected to go home next week. As I visited with another patient, Barbara's husband came out of her room. He took one look at Passion and said, "You need to go in and see my wife!" Well, we did, and Barbara fell in love with Passion. She told me how she used to rescue hard-core dogs and re-habilitate them. I could tell something very extraordinary happened in that room. Her countenance did a one-eighty! Before we left, she asked me how to train a therapy dog, because she wanted to do what we did. This week I came to see her again and give her the picture and ask permission to send to you. She was like a new person, all excited and told me how I gave her such a lift last week. Funny thing is...I told her she was the one who gave me the lift!

Barbara is also Catholic and goes to a tiny church up the road from us. She said she has literally prayed over some of the more aggressive dogs she has had to handle. She will not be on her feet for awhile, though.

Also while I was waiting for a young ski victim to return from a Dr appt, I was sent to a room to see a young man (20s?) with ALS. He can only whisper now; no movement in any extremities. Smiled at Passion. Has a sign on his door not to enter unless you are a Yankees fan, so I had to confess being a Red Sox fan like my dad (even named our first dog Yaz). He was happy Passion was a Yankee fan like his other mom (Tory). Not sure he would be interested in the stick, but will try to get a better evaluation from nurses/family if I can. My concern is that he is really toward the end stage.

What started as 1 hour visits have now become more than 2 hours; there is such a need, but so so happy to go there. Thanks for being our "sponsor". Would so love to meet you one day.

Pebble's New Friends
By Diana Sillence, Tampa, FL

Being a part of Canines for Christ and going to the Kids Place has been a blessing with each visit. First of all, my dog Pebbles, loves going for a ride in the car and becomes ecstatic when she knows she is going somewhere. When Pebbles "figures out" that she is going to Kids Place, she starts to get antsy; and when we arrive, she scrambles to get out (thank goodness for leashes); and literally runs, pulling me with her, to the door of Kids Place. She makes me smile and laugh every time we visit.

But most importantly are how the children react when Pebbles arrives. They love Pebbles! There is such a warm greeting from the kids that I feel the love too. And there is nothing like a child's love. Times how many kids? The experience is wonderful. Children are so innocent and special; and it is amazing while they talk about their loved ones; and at the same time, a few of the children take turns holding Pebbles. Pebbles and the children share their love with each other. The Kids Place is good for the children and good for me since I have lost several members of my family, including a son. And you know, kids say what's on their minds; and they express themselves with the cutest, most perceptive comments. Looking through children's eyes gives a brighter meaning to life while they share their emotions even during times of a loss. I am so blessed just watching the children and Pebbles have a great time together.

PS-When Pebbles and I leave the Kids Place, her head almost immediately flops right down on my heart. "What a wonderful night," she 'says' as she drifts off to sleep.

Powerful Testimony of God’s Saving Grace
By Tracy Buono, St. Petersburg, FL

I want to share some exciting news that happened when Moses and I went out to minister.

My church does a once a month Sunday afternoon "Treasure Hunt" which is street Evangelism. I have never done this before and did not have a desire to do so or an intention to participate. After service the Lord really softened my heart to it. Once I got home I prayed and He put it on my heart to bring Moses. Then all throughout my afternoon all I kept hearing is go to the Pier at Clearwater Beach. Then He showed me the number 60 so I knew it was Pier 60.

After I arrived at my church later in the evening, a woman confirmed she also heard from the Lord to go to the beach so the three of us headed out around sunset when they have all the vendors on Pier 60. The Lord also gave the woman from my church the color blue.

We walked the length of the Pier and turned around and the Lord led us to a bench where four teenage boys where hanging out. Two of the boys were wearing blue in their shirts. We sat down and the boys were so drawn to Moses and were loving on him. It opened the conversation and after 20 minutes two of the boys, both 16, accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

It was an amazing experience! What's even more miraculous is how easy the conversation flowed and how these "tough looking" teenagers received what we were saying and even let us pray with them in front of all the people on the Pier. They even held hands when we prayed! LOL WOW!

Praise the Lord for this great ministry and all the hearts He is touching through it.

Ranger Blesses Autistic Children
By Patty Johnston, Saraland, AL

Hi Chaplain Larry,

Ranger and I were once again invited into Davidson High School through being asked to be a mentor to a student doing his Senior Project on Pet Therapy. Orum Snow is the student. For his product ideal he asked if we could visit the Autism class.

Before making the visit, Michelle McDaniel, a Coordinator for the Autism Society of Alabama, who is currently training her dog in hopes to volunteer with Canines for Christ, prepared a wonderful social story for the classroom visit. It was a pdf presentation with pictures that prepared the students for our visit.

The teacher, Ms. Audra Braughton welcomed us into her classroom. The students were seated and very well behaved. I took Ranger around so that each student who wanted to, could pet him. Ranger did a few tricks and we gave them our C4C cards. Some of the students had their picture taken with Ranger and wanted the teacher to print them out for them.

Ms. Braughton told me the following: The parents were pleased and thankful that their children had the opportunity to meet Ranger. Kyle, who is usually not very expressive about what he experiences at school was so excited to tell his mom about Ranger. He wanted a copy of the pdf presentation too. Kyle and Corey's mothers said they would really like it if I could share their pictures and send them copies of the newsletter if they were in it. Casey's mom said it was okay to send his picture in too.

What a blessing it was to not only be a mentor to Orum but also to have the opportunity to visit with these precious kids and be a Ministry of Presence.

Reading Time With Buster
By Judy Overman, Tampa, FL

The Canines for Christ Ministry has given Buster and me the opportunity to spend many wonderful times with the kids at Mort Elementary School in Tampa, FL. He receives so much love and gives his whole heart to these kids every week.

Buster is a member of their reading group! He lies down with the kids surrounding him and listens to each child read a book that they have chosen especially for our arrival.

Each child has come to truly love him and they prove their love each week with special hugs and kisses. Buster gets to give many kisses too. For Thanksgiving the children drew a poster for him and each wrote a sweet note.

The Christmas party to which we were invited was so special! They made a Christmas Tree poster for Buster with all their pictures included as ornaments on the tree. Buster brought Christmas gifts to all the kids and they gave him all the treats he could eat.

What a great joy it is to spend such wonderful times with these children.

We thank God for the C4C Ministry and all the love that is given and received.

Red - Exhausted But Blessed!
By Amy Windows, Tampa, FL

Here is a picture of Red after a day's work at Florida Hospital Carrollwood yesterday, August 17, 2013. She gave out lots and lots of love and then was out like a light very shortly after landing on the back seat of the car.

We have been so abundantly blessed by the Lord this week. It is extraordinary what He does when we commit to being obedient, faithful servants while expecting Him to show His glory by leaning on His promises. I have been led lately to spend some time in the Emergency Departments and waiting rooms since I have spent lots of time working in them in the past. God is just literally opening the doors wide and using us to be a blessing at such a critical time of need. All I can do is praise and thank Him :-)

Remembering "Passion"
By Darleen Senete, Brookfield, CT

Diane is the wife of an Episcopal minister and as we walked through rehab today, she spotted the vest. She said she knew of your ministry and that it was from Florida!

The therapists told her about "Passion" and how much joy he brought to their patients. It was such a nice thing to hear.

Don't know if I shared with you but the instructors said they were sorry about Passion and had heard good things about our ministry.

Spreading the love is only happening because of you and accepting us into your sweet organization.

Thank you from all in CT ☺

Note: Darleen lost Passion this year after a long and wonderful life. She is missed, but now Gracie and soon-to-be therapy dog, Buddy, will be bringing smiles and God's love to many in need.

Reunited by Passion
By Darleen Senete, Brookfield, CT

Passion and I have been visiting Glenn, a resident of Ability & Beyond since 2009. All I knew was that he had suffered a severe brain injury as a child. Of all the residents, Glenn developed a particularly close relationship with Passion. One day as I was leaving the home, I met a friend who wanted to know who we were visiting. When I told her, she said she knew Glenn as a boy and began to tell me about the accident and how he had fallen off a gang lawn mower. I stopped her mid-sentence and finished the story about how he was in a coma for a long time and even the doctors did not expect him to live. You see, about 40 years ago, I took care of Glenn when he was a patient in our ICU. I just never made the connection. In the 95 degree heat of that summer day, my friend and I stood there with goose bumps from head to toe!!

It is amazing how life came full circle with the help of a sweet, golden retriever. Although today he is wheelchair bound, Glenn has a great sense of humor. He enjoys singing and doing impersonations. As for his injuries, he proudly told me, "I wasn't supposed to be here, but I fooled them!"

Roger's Story Impacts Children's Lives
By Patty Johnston, Saraland, AL

Chaplain Larry,

Here is a picture of Ranger and I at the Saraland, AL YMCA After School Program. We got to share with 33 children about Ranger having a rough start in life and shared that not everybody has a great start and not everybody's life is great now. They might have problems at school or maybe at home but with Jesus in your heart and leading the way He will get you through it. Then Ranger did some tricks and commands. He shook hands with many of them. And they all got to pet him. The children really enjoyed it and thanked us for coming. I was blessed to be able to share Jesus through a story about Ranger!

I believe they are going to ask us to come once a month as special guests. I am looking forward to sharing more stories with the children about my dogs and relating them to the Lord and our walk with Him.

I am so blessed to be a part of this ministry and thank God for it!

Scarlett in the "Living Room"
By Judith Cooper, Loganville, GA

Scarlett and I have been serving a local assisted living facility in Loganville, GA for the past several months. Scarlett is a Golden Retriever mix, rescue, now nine years old. What can I say? I found Canines For Christ on our local SE Gwinnett Cooperative Ministry website, while serving at the Co-op. C4C is such an awesome blessing by giving both of us the opportunity to spread God's love.

On the way to our first visit, I remember thinking how grateful I was to serve this facility. On our way home I realized our time was not just a gift to the residents there. It was a tremendous gift from God for both Scarlett and for me. Visiting any community where God's scandalous grace and love is present leaves me extremely thankful and grateful.

On our first visit, there were only a handful of residents who were curious enough to come down to the "Living Room." Last week when we came through the front door, the room was full! We were thrilled.

I must tell you Scarlett is very good at what she does, giving comfort, bringing joy, simply loving as she spreads God's love. I am so proud of her, and we have made so many friends, heart friends. God created all of us. His word tells us: "God's gifts of grace come in many forms. Each of you has received a gift in order to serve others. You should use it faithfully." 1 Peter 4:10 (NIRV)

God is good all the time. All the time, God is good. Thank you C4C for blessing us.

Serving Outside the Church Walls
By Telma Frege, Tampa, FL

I learned about Canines for Christ through my dear friends Jen and Ray, and it has been a ministry that has blessed both Macchiato and me in more ways than I can explain.

Three years ago, I was grieving the loss of my dad, and while going through a period of loneliness and depression, I wrote a prayer asking the Lord to give me a dog. I haven't had one since I moved to the USA in 2007, and I knew a dog could provide me with company, comfort, and help me in my healing process. Even though I wanted a dog really bad, I was very specific in my prayer: I asked the Lord for a cocker spaniel, a puppy that I could train, golden in color, and a rescue... I didn't want to buy one because I believe in rescuing, plus at the time I didn't even have $100 to spend. I knew the chances of finding such a puppy were small but I trusted that, if having a dog was God's will for me, He would provide... not only the dog, but also the monthly budget.

Exactly a year later (February 2014), a puppy was born in Missouri, and later rescued by the Humane Society and brought to Venice, Florida. I adopted him on Memorial Day and we became a team with Canines for Christ on May 1st, 2015!

Since then, we've been working in Assisted Living Facilities, the Special Needs Ministry at Idlewild Baptist Church and Suncoast Kid's Place for Grieving Children. We've witnessed firsthand the work of the Holy Spirit in amazing ways, and I'm humbled at how He chooses us to supply for people's deep needs. I'm left in tears and praise God each time I see a kid make a breakthrough in his/her grieving process by petting Macchiato (i.e. a boy opened up for the first time about his dad's passing 18 months ago after spending an hour with Macchiato), or when an autistic kid touches the dog for the very first time in his life without fear. In Alabama, he had the blessing of working with a girl who was scared of dogs after being bitten by one, and after spending time with her for a while, she decided to pet Macchiato's head! At one assisted living facility, I got to pray for a Jewish lady (who loves dogs) who told me she was surprised "a Christian person was willing to pray for her", and later we talked about the Lord.

Before I found out about Canines for Christ, I was involved in other ministries at church but I was praying to find a new way to serve people outside of my church walls alongside with the dog God had given me. I love the way this ministry keeps me close to people's needs. It's the way the Lord keeps breaking my heart with the things that break His: loneliness, grief, special needs. I love how the kids and the elderly open their hearts when they talk to Macchiato, and how heavy my heart feels when I get home... that's good because that forces me to pray for them, to find new ways to communicate to them and love them, to stay in the Word and to remember that we are called not to be comfortable, but to be obedient, even if that means crying with those who cry, offering a hug to the lonely, enduring a long conversation about 1950s with an elderly resident, and spending a day with an autistic kid who cannot reciprocate all you do for him. Very few things I've done inside and outside my church have been as fulfilling and rewarding as this ministry.

I thank the Lord for Canines for Christ, and for each team involved.

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above" - James 1:17a ESV

Sir Arthur's Touch
By Susan, Brookfield, CT

Hi Chaplain Larry. This letter was written after a therapy visit from Sir Arthur. Sir Arthur is a beautiful standard poodle who lives with Rev. Joe Shepley in Brookfield, CT

Dear Sir Arthur,

Thank you for visiting Wanda and me yesterday morning. Your visit shifted our focus from pain, frustration, and fatigue, back to the goodness of God. In that case, we can't help but focus on our gratefulness which brings with it a sense of joy and peace.

I'm not certain about the relationship between God and the amazing animals that He has gifted us with, but I KNOW that He has chosen you to deliver His love to people. I was especially amazed to see you lay your head across Wanda's leg at the exact spot where she experiences the most pain! For one thing, it's an awkward spot. You could have laid your head in her lap but instead you laid it just below her knee. Not only that, but you did it three separate times! There's no question in my mind that you were able to sense exactly what she was feeling.

Well, Arthur, I just wanted to express our appreciation. Know that we love you! You're welcome here any time and I'll make sure those kitties don't bother you!

God bless you

Skipper's Calling
By Lisa Plasencia, Tampa, FL

I was blessed with wonderful parents. Unfortunately, they both were afflicted with health problems in their 60's. First, my Mom had a stroke, and my Dad became her caretaker. Then after a year or so, my Dad was diagnosed with late stage colon cancer. He passed away only months after the diagnosis. His last request was that I take care of my Mother.

My husband and I made the decision that I would retire early to stay home and care for my Mom. She lived with us for about 10 years before passing away from lung cancer.

During the time that she lived with us, my Mom had a little dog named Binki. It was amazing how much companionship and comfort that Binki gave my Mom. She couldn't speak much after her stroke, but she didn't need words to communicate with Binki. That little dog intuitively knew what my Mom wanted or needed. She would even come and bark at me when my Mom was stressed or in need. She knew how to comfort.

Watching that relationship gave me an idea. After my Mom passed away, my family got a golden retriever puppy. Skipper had so much love and joy that we thought he would be a great therapy dog. After taking him through the Canine Good Citizen training, I took him first to a nursing home close to my home to see if we could share some love with the residents.

The nursing home told me that they already had a Therapy Group approved for visits named Canines for Christ. The rest is history! I came right home and looked them up and sent an email to Chaplain Larry with a picture of Skipper! Here we are years later, blessed to be able to share God's unconditional love with the elderly, disabled, cancer patients, stressed students, and children.

These dogs truly show us the way. They have no prejudices, no judging, just unconditional love. Their love lowers the barriers that usually exist between strangers. They not only open the door so that we can share the love of Christ, they show us how to do it.

Love and Blessings,
Lisa and Skipper

Snickerdoodle's Surprise Mission
By Susan Putt, Ada, OH

There's a couple that my husband and I are particularly close to. He had to have colon cancer surgery, and I knew that I wanted to be there with Snickerdoodle to sit with the family that day during the operation. However, that morning did not go well. First, we forgot something we needed, and halfway there, I had to turn around and return home before we could depart once again. Many of my 'regular' residents were napping and one that I did have an opportunity to visit with had an 'episode' during our visit. Finally, stopping by assisted living to visit this wife's parents (a regular visit for Snick and me), I caught them 'at a bad time.' I explained that we had just stopped by to pray with them during their son-in-law's surgery. Driving from there to the hospital, I said to Snickerdoodle that so far that morning we were batting zero and wondered whether it was in our friends' best interest to go to the hospital surgery waiting room. But, we did. This woman is particularly fond of Snickerdoodle and was thrilled that we had come, even though she was surrounded by many family members. After 'making the rounds' among the family members, Snickerdoodle settled in between the wife and me.

All of a sudden, Snick sat straight up and gazed beyond the small circle of people. We all noticed it of course, and the son sitting opposite me said, "He's not looking at me." Before I knew it, Snickerdoodle left our group and made his way over to another. Now, as hard as it is for you and me to believe, not all people are dog people. So, I promptly followed Snickerdoodle over to this small group of people whom we didn't even know. I gasped when I saw him crawl up onto a settee to snuggle up with a woman in the group (he knows better!). But before I could say or do anything, she flung her arms around his neck, buried her face in his fur, and just sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. Unbeknownst to me, evidently this family had just received bad news. I didn't need to know the circumstances, and Snickerdoodle certainly didn't. He just knew that that's where he needed to be at that specific time. After a good crying jag, the woman looked up at me and said, "He knew just what I needed more than I did!". We stayed for a few moments with them (hoping to be more of a help than an intrusion), but before we made our way back to 'our' group, Snickerdoodle insisted on going around and saying hello to all the people in all the groups! We went back to our friends and settled in - as we shared our awe. It was at that time that this particular group was leaving the room, and as they did, Snickerdoodle once again made his way to this woman and she knelt down and cried some more with him. She thanked both Snickerdoodle and me profusely.

Now, you and I know that even though that morning had been hectic, God knew right where Snickerdoodle needed to be. I still get goosebumps, no matter how many times I share that story! Snick's a special guy doing a special ministry!

Sophie's Heart
By DJ Booher, Tampa, FL

Sofie and I so look forward to attending Suncoast Kid's Place. I do not even need a leash on Sofie...she runs to get into the house to be with the little ones. They love her up and include her in the turn taking of activities. Sofie was created to be of service to others especially little ones. I feel lucky to be a part of watching her connect and foster love and loyalty with each of the children.

Squirrels, A Dog, And Men. Oh, My!
By Sean O'Berry, Land O'Lakes, FL

Today we encountered a surprise at a park we visit, Crews Lake park. The Lord placed a squirrel in our usual parking spot: Oreo's favorite animal. Oreo then met a trio of gray squirrels at the parking spot, followed by several more at eye level as we made our way to the pier at Crews Lake Park. Another gray squirrel met us at the end of the road and walked toward us, then returned the way it came. God's humor is wonderful. We followed the squirrel around the corner.

Around the corner was a group of about ten prisoners together wearing gray and white striped shirts. The men were shoveling culverts and ditches to improve water drainage in the park. We asked the sheriff if we could meet them briefly with my Canines for Christ dog and received permission. We spoke of the special work that God is doing through Oreo. I told them all that God was looking out for all of them, and that my Canines for Christ dog was here with them for a reason. All of the prisoners were friendly toward Oreo, especially the last man reaching over to pet him who had a tattoo of a cross on his arm. As we departed, the music that came on the radio as we slowly rolled by had encouraging words especially for them.

Wow! Christ had used us to accomplish his good work! To Him belongs all wisdom and honor, glory, majesty and strength! Christ sends us to be His agents grace and mercy. We supply the faith, trust, and obedience, and God does all the rest, more that we could expect or imagine. He enriches our lives with opportunities to demonstrate Christ's love and kindness toward our fellows in need. Oreo and I are representatives of the Lord Jesus.

We are so grateful for this ministry. We hope this story is an encouragement to you and everyone. We give Him the thanks for the words we get to speak and the things we get to do for Him. God uses His little things like us to accomplish His great things!

TJ's Special Love for Children
By Jesseca Lynn Sanders, Selma, Alabama

We have loved being part of Canines for Christ. We are working to recruit more members in our area to be part of spreading the love of God through our Canine partners. In the last year, TJ and I have visited two different nursing homes regularly in our town. We have been invited to several churches for different events for the children and attended several community events.

At one event, the theme was to honor the police, first responders, nurses and doctors. TJ dressed as a Nurse for this and was a big hit with the kids and adults. We were not able to have our reading program at the YMCA this summer due to some health problems with the human half of our team.

One program we have really been proud to be part of is a program called "Hope Haven for Kids". This ministry started out serving foster kids and their foster families. They have now branched out to include children with special needs, especially those with Autism and Downs Syndrome. The family that hosts the event has horses to ride, a pond to fish out of, and games to play. Some of these kids have never experienced God's love or even been told about Jesus. Especially some of the Foster kids. TJ is the perfect draw for them to hear about God's love for us all.

When doing events with kids, we almost didn’t take the business cards with the picture of TJ and the plan of salvation on them. We sure are glad we decided to take them!! Kids LOVE them and will run back to get one if we miss them when we are handing them out. One parent called us and said he had seen the card on his son’s dresser. He looked at it with him and asked him if he knew what it meant. That little card opened the door for this father to share the plan of salvation with his son!! We are excited to think of all the seeds we have planted just by TJ hanging out and soaking up all the attention, and by my handing out those little cards. We are in the process of setting up a Dog Church type program at a local assisted living facility. Our only hold up is my getting all better, so I could really use some prayers for my health.

We are really excited where God is leading us on this ministry and the work He is allowing us to be part of as He builds his kingdom.

Thank You From a Grateful Husband
By Kevin FitzGerald, Husband of a Florida Hospital Patient, Tampa, FL

Today your group visited Florida Hospital on Fletcher in Tampa. I met with you and your great animals, then you kindly brought them to my wife's room in 488. She loves dogs, and with all her recent medical issues not seeing her animals has brought a great deal of sadness to her. The dogs in her room made her feel normal again, the presence of your group made her stronger mentally and spiritually. You then prayed over her and for the first time she cried, not out of sadness but out of an appreciation of the love and support your provided her, a stranger, in the name of Christ. She has had so many setbacks and this is the first time I saw her so interactive with anybody/anything.

The hope of healing -- the love of God -- is the only thing we can count on.

Thank you for what you do. Thank you on behalf of my wife for making her day. She talked about the visit for some time. And I found the prayer to help me think about what is really important. Again thank you for making such a difference in our lives -- and you did so out of the kindness of your being.

The Call ... A Grandmother's Reflection
By Joan Hartley, Huron, OH

Our two grandsons - fearfully and wonderfully made!

It was a simply beautiful, sunny day in May. My husband and I were enjoying a brief respite from the cares of the world in a picnic shelter overlooking our town's river. Just a couple weeks prior, our daughter had called us while we were on a spring boating adventure with friends. "The doctor thinks he might have Williams syndrome," she had said.

And now the phone rang again.

"Williams syndrome?" I had asked. "What is that? Why does he think that?"

Our grandson had been referred to a pediatric cardiologist for what appeared to be a heart murmur. It was this doctor who had shared his suspicion and recommended a genetic test to confirm whether or not he was correct. Although I had boldly dismissed the idea at the time, fear had immediately struck me between the diaphragm and gut like a sucker punch. Instead of leaving me breathless for a mere moment, however, it had taken up residence for the last two weeks. It felt like I had swallowed a lead weight.

What were the chances, I had thought during that first phone conversation? What were the chances that our grandchild - our dear, sweet, first grandchild - had a condition that affects only one in 10,000 people worldwide? Our daughter had patiently answered my whats and whys. A cute, upturned nose. Small for his age. An intricate starburst pattern on his baby blue eyes. I had reasonable answers for each item in the list. But, there was more. Poor muscle tone. Supravalvular Aortic Stenosis. Developmental delays. Looking back, I wonder who I was trying to comfort more with my rationalizations - my daughter or myself. She had told me we would know for sure in a couple weeks once the test results were complete. I wish I could say with certainty that I prayed with her then on the phone, but I honestly can't remember.

The rest of that boating trip took place in slow motion as did the next two weeks. Meals uneaten. Tears choked back. "It'll be okay," our friends had said. "Whatever the outcome, it'll be okay."

We shared the news at church and found encouragement in the kind words and prayers of fellow believers. Our pastor pointed us to God's Word and His many covenant promises. He reminded us of God's sovereignty and of His goodness toward us - even when we are called to suffer. One woman I knew assured me our grandson would be fine - that I just needed to pray and claim him to be healthy. And though I did pray - and so wanted to claim - I could not put God in a box like that.

"What will I do if the test comes back positive?" I had asked our pastor, but what I really wondered was, "What will I think of God if it does?"

And then the phone rang.

Seeing our daughter's number pop up, I mumbled to my husband, "This is it," and breathed deeply as I put my free hand over one ear in order to hear better the words that would come next.

"He has it," she said.

If you've ever been on the receiving end of such news, you can probably remember that moment when time stood still. Maybe like me, you wanted to deny the permanence of such a pronouncement. Tests can be wrong, right? Happens all the time. I ventured briefly in that direction, but could tell by our daughter's voice that I needed to stop. We talked, and I'm pretty sure we prayed that time.

But what of my prayers for the past two weeks? Had God made a mistake? Was He just not listening or vaguely disinterested? Were my prayers for our grandson's health returned empty? Worse yet, had I only been having a conversation with myself?

I cannot fully comprehend, let alone concisely explain, God's sovereignty in a broken world. I do not understand all the finer points of prayer. But, this I know. God's Word tells me He is sovereign, and Jesus told his followers to pray.

There are worse things in the world than scary diagnoses. Haughty attitudes. Callous minds. Bitter hearts. Many people say prayer works. Others say it changes things. But, I disagree. God works and God changes things. He works in the lives of His people - comforting, equipping, establishing. Redeeming. He changes the minds of His beloved when we demand His gifts be delivered in pretty packages adorned with neatly tied ribbons. It is often said, when prayers are answered as we had hoped, that God is good - all the time. Occasionally, I have heard those who have endured a great loss say the same thing, and it is the overflow of these suffering saints' faith that challenges and ultimately strengthens my own.

Phones ring, but things will be okay.

And God is good - all the time.

For more information on Williams syndrome, visit the Williams Syndrome Association's helpful, online site.

If you would like to send a note to Joan, the email is: joanhartley@icloud.com

May God bless you, Joan. We are thankful and blessed to have you and your dogs in this ministry.

The Long Road
By Gwen Givens, Tampa, FL

In late summer of 2000, a friend and fellow choir member mentioned to me that she and her aunt were going to visit Southeastern Guide Dogs, Inc. in Palmetto Florida. She wanted to know if I wanted to go along. Well, it sounded like fun. I had known people in college who had guide dogs, but it had never been anything I wanted to do. I saw them deal with the flea powders, the heart worm medication, the dogs getting sick, and this was not for me. But I thought it would be fun and interesting and, besides, it was an outing with people I liked.

So we journeyed down to the school, listened to the spiel, played with the puppies, and had a great time. At the end of the afternoon, our guide asked me if I would want to apply to the school. From out of nowhere I blurted out “yes.” It was really weird; I had this overwhelming feeling that this was a very right and good decision. I went home that night wondering what I had gotten myself into. So I began to pray about it and said: “Okay, God, I feel You are guiding me to this decision. We will see how it goes, and I will trust You in this.”

I had major obstacles. My parents were dead set against it at the time. I had to get help filling out all the paperwork and go through all the doctor visits for the physical. I had to recruit references. I had to get an okay to be away from work for a month. But I did it, and on February 14 of 2001, I got my Mia. She was a sweet petite yellow lab with a gentle and calm demeanor. We bonded very quickly, and we remained together for the next ten plus years.

I was so grateful I had listened to God’s whisper in my ear about my decision. He used us on September 11, 2001 to bring comfort to fellow employees on that terrible day as we all watched and listened to the news reports of the devastating Twin Tower attacks. I took Mia around to people who were crying, and they hugged her and cried into her fur. She was sweet and comforting throughout. I feel that God had placed her there so she could comfort those in need at that time.

My mother died in March of 2003 after a prolonged illness. It was a hard time to get through, but my faith, and my Mia were there to help me deal with the sadness. My mother died under hospice care, and I vowed I would volunteer for the organization if I could. In 2004, I took the training course, and Mia and I began visiting the people at Melish House. I did this until the scheduling problems with Hart Plus got too difficult and my work schedule increased.

Mia died in September of 2011 after a sudden and brief illness. The school had told me earlier that year that I should retire her. I had begun making plans in that direction. I had found her a loving home with a good friend. She became ill on the day of her retirement party. I left to get my new dog at Southeastern while she still struggled for life at the vet clinic. It was one of the hardest things I had ever done. But looking back, I can see God’s hand in this also. I was given the time to make a transition from one dog to the next and to prepare for the loss of Mia, or at least prepare as much as one can.

At school I was given my Orban, a large, rambunctious adult puppy who loves the entire world, thinks he is top dog, and love nothing better than ambush kissing. I thought he would really make a great therapy dog, if he could just calm down a bit. But I really had no motivation to get started on the process.

Again, God intervened. A friend of mine was in Nuvista for rehab. She called me and said: “Hey, there are therapy dogs here, and Orb would make a great therapy dog.” So she talked to the visitors from Canines for Christ and a light bulb from God went off again, and I said to Him “Well Lord, this looks like the answer.” So I contacted Chaplain Larry, and the rest is history. Through the graciousness of some wonderful volunteers, The Orb and I have been monthly visitors at Emeritus, a combination nursing home and assisted living facility. The Orb has made some fast friends, particularly Bill and Adelpha. They have become dear to me also. We have also visited with Jenny and Beverly, and, as usual, The Orb has given them the gift of a few moments of joy. I have always been touched by the totally selfless love of our dogs; their unconditional acceptance of everyone. I know that Our Lord loves us with the same steadfastness, and he loves us in spite of ourselves. Orban and I are truly blessed to be a part of this wonderful ministry. God bless all of you and your dogs and those we comfort and cheer.

The Power of a Whisper
By Chaplain Larry Randolph, Tampa, FL

It was a hot, humid, August morning and 2007 and as normal I rose at 5:30 to read and study my Bible and do my devotion before I left for work. As I was reading Proverbs 3:5-7, I heard this powerful whisper that came into my mind. God speaks to us in many different ways and it is up to us to discern if this is a true message from God or just some of the "white noise" that comes into our mind from many different sources. But, this whisper was so powerful that I had to put down my Bible and take notice of what was being presented to me by my God. He told me that He has always been alongside me even in times when I thought He wasn't there. Now, He wanted me to do something for Him that would glorify and honor His name and present His message of love, compassion and hope to many people that were in need of this saving message. He said that He wanted me to start a ministry using comfort dogs to be His vessel to open the door so that His powerful message of love could be communicated to people. A bit of a challenge, as I did not have a dog at this time. God was presenting me an offer to see if I would trust, obey and have faith in Him as He told me to start this ministry.

And as we all have a tendency to do, I wanted to disregard this because I did not have a dog and of course my life was too busy to get involved with something like this. For you see, my personal life, as well as business life, was extremely busy as I was a executive with a southeastern commercial real estate company on the board of directors and was very involved in that company. In addition, my wife and I have several grandchildren and traveled all over the country seeing them and visiting other places. We had just lost to cancer two small dogs a year before and decided that we would not get another dog for a least a couple more years. So the timing was not exactly what I wanted, however in God's eyes His plan is always perfect and His timing is exactly the way He sees your life for His purposes. Proverbs 3:5-7 says "that you should trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on to your own understanding, acknowledge his ways and he will direct your path." I could not help but reflect on that verse is I was listening to this powerful whisper from my God. Each of us are presented with many different choices in our lives and the choices that we make determine the direction of how your life will go. I could not get this out of my mind as to what God has asked me to do for Him. Even with my busy career and personal life He told me do not worry that He would give me the directions and the wisdom and the leadership to start this ministry and that I will be amazed to see where this journey of faith will lead. Have you ever had something that you just cannot get out of your mind? Matthew 6:36 "don't be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow. Live one day at a time."....So, okay God, if this is what you telling me I'm going to turn it all over to you. God chooses us to be a reflection of His love. He also can use His most loyal and graceful creatures, our beautiful canines, to reflect His love as vessels so that we can bring to others God's mercy, kindness, compassion, hope and unconditional love...Ok, God let's roll!!

Fast forward to today, and God has blessed us with approx.600 teams worldwide reaching millions of people each year with the love of Christ Jesus. We serve an amazing God and with Faith and trust, He can do anything.

The "Dog Church"
By Steve Kesler, Tampa, FL

For the past few years, Canines for Christ has been active in ministering to the disabled at various facilities, including day care development centers that promote the stimulation of the "students" through arts and crafts, music, dance, computer and other methods. At first, we were asked to bring in the dogs for a "meet and greet" as they love the interaction with these beautiful creatures. As we shared the love of Jesus with these people, we were asked to share a Bible lesson with the students as most did not have the opportunity to attend a church due to the logistics of transportation, etc. Beginning with just a few at first, the crowd grew and now each month in several locations in Florida, Canines for Christ teams "preach" to hundreds of mentally and physically disabled. The power of the Holy Spirit is powerful and very evident as we touch the hearts and souls of these people with God's amazing love. One of the students started telling people about the "Dog Church" and that is how it is known and loved by hundreds of people.

God can do the most amazing things if we just stop and let Him take control. The "church" below shows the "students" listening intently as Chaplain Steve Kesler conducts the service with Canines for Christ volunteers Peg and Ken Burdell as worship leaders.

If you would like to know how to start a "Dog Church" please contact Chaplain Steve Kesler.

The "Little Horse"
By Joni, Land O'Lakes, FL

I just wanted to send a quick note to say thank you for making my dad's day bright yesterday. The Canines for Christ visited the assisted living memory care where he lives in Land O'Lakes, and he absolutely loved it. My dad has Alzheimer's and with the progression of the disease he often can't remember things a minute after they happened. But on Saturday when I arrived he was talking about the "little horse" that came to visit him. (Yes, he thought it was a horse, but that's okay -- it was a big dog). He held a business card in his hand with a picture of the dog, and couldn't stop smiling and talking about it. This lasted for several hours. It made me feel so good seeing him happy, excited and able to talk about something with me as a lot of times he struggles to make conversation or speak.

You brightened both of our days, as I'm sure many others there as well.

Thank you so very much!

p.s. The "little horse" is Kobe, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, with C4C volunteer Annette Holeyfield from Tampa, FL

Tom and "Mighty Mouse"
By Tom Young, Pinellas Park, FL

Mouse came into the world by emergency C-Section on Apr 8, 2011. He was the tiniest living Golden Retriever I had ever seen, at a mere 7 ounces. He was less than half the size of the next smallest puppy in the litter. After a week or so, Debbie noticed that his chest was indented, and he was having trouble lifting his front off the floor. We went in for x-rays, and got the devastating news that our little Mouse would need surgery, and had only a slim chance of survival. Out of the blue, we got a message from someone we didn't know, one of the owners of Helping Hands Veterinary Surgery and Dental in Richmond, VA, offering to perform the needed surgery for the cost of her surgical supplies. Two days later, we were on the way to Richmond on an all night drive to get Mouse's chest repaired. Twenty-four hours later, Mouse was wearing a cast on his little chest, walking and playing with his litter mates, being a normal puppy. We soon learned that he wasn't destined to be "normal".

Mouse had the most incredible spirit--he feared nothing, was a born retriever(retrieving my slippers at 4 weeks, live pigeons at 7 weeks), and was gifted with superior intelligence and a sweet, loving temperament.

Mouse Achieved his Golden Retriever Club "Working Certificate" and his AKC "Junior Hunter" title, then entered several AKC-sanctioned dog shows. After winning "Best of Breed" and "Best in Sporting group" in a local show, he was banned from "AKC" shows on the grounds that his life-saving surgery at 3 weeks of age had "improved his appearance". We then entered him in shows sponsored by the International All Breed Canine Association (IABCA) where he earned his "International Champion" title.

While notable, these achievements were not to define who Mouse was. He had a much greater gift and a way higher calling. He has a incredible ability to sense when someone is troubled and a unquenchable desire to offer them comfort. In early 2014, Mouse and I were led to the Canines for Christ Therapy Dog Ministry after we were chastised by another therapy dog organization for posting a picture of Mouse retrieving a duck.

Chaplain Larry Randolph met with us several times, and we were accepted into the ministry on Feb 5, 2014 after our first visit to Grande Ville retirement home. Since then, we have brought the Joy of God's Healing Word to hungry souls in regular visits to 3 retirement homes, spending time in the Assisted Living and Memory Care units. We also visited schools, churches, and made other special visits with various dog rescue groups. Mouse has a sense of who needs the message of Jesus' love, and he has on many occasions pulled me to the side of an individual who was troubled by his or her circumstances. As Mouse accepted and returned their love, I was able to bring them the saving message of God's love and watch as they accepted the gift of God and secured eternal life.

Although Mouse has been a source of joy and pride to us as he garnered 3 Hunting Titles and became an International Champion with the IABCA, nothing compares to the joy of partnering with him as he uses his special gift of connecting to troubled souls who are hungry to hear God's word. So far, we have made over 150 visits and have seen over 50 struggling souls accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. There is much joy in heaven as a result of this sweet boy.

VA Hospital Extols Benefits of C4C Ministry
By Cathy Williams, Chief Recreation Therapy Department, VA
Hospital, Tampa, FL

*** Following is a letter from the VA Hospital in Tampa, Florida acknowledging the value of the Canine For Christ teams at this hospital.***

Since 2007, Mr. Randolph has consistently provided therapy with his dogs and led other service handlers and their animals in independently meeting with patients from our hospital that are rehabilitating through acquired or disease process injuries. Our patients experience challenges associated with multiple complex conditions such as spinal cord and/or brain injury, amputations, visual impairment, orthopaedic, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to name a few. He, and his group from the Canines for Christ Ministry, provide services through our therapy departments daily and work together with the Speech and Language Pathologists, Physical, Occupational, and Recreation Therapists.

Canines For Christ, led by Mr. Randolph, communicates efficiently with our Rehab and Nursing Departments, so the therapists can report on how our patients respond during his therapy sessions. Not only does Mr. Randolph provide therapy to passers-by in the hospital hallways, he and Recreation Therapy staff have designed a treatment intervention to involve his animals with some of the most compromised trauma patients at bedside to provide sensory stimulation to assist in assessing patients emerging consciousness. This information is crucial to our multi-discipline treatment approach to therapy, goals, and assessment.

Our department relies on Mr. Randolph and his team to provide much needed specific services that are relevant to our compromised patients and their connection to positive social interactions, and the human-animal bond that can alleviate depression, decrease feelings of loneliness, and heighten self-esteem by creating feelings of being needed, accepted and loved. Mr. Randolph and the C4C pets promote this emotional and human physical well-being each and every time he steps foot onto our hospital grounds.

Welcome, Ineta, Our First "Sunys Kristui" Volunteer in Lithuania!
By Chaplain Larry Randolph, Tampa, FL

This is Ineta Martinkeviciute. She lives in Kaunas, Lithuania. Ineta is enrolled in a local university studying art therapy and is a guitar teacher. Her two dogs are Jaris and Muza. She is engaged and plans to be married. But, more importantly is that Ineta is a Christ-follower and strong believer in our Lord, Jesus Christ. She speaks some English, but writes English very well. That is how we communicate and through Skype.

God moved in Ineta's heart to search the Internet for a Christian therapy dog organization and when she found Canines for Christ, she was touched with the way we present the gospel of God's love, kindness, compassion and hope to many people in need, using the dogs as the vessel to open the door to communicate. We went though a long process to make this happen, but it was all in God's hands and the rest, as they say is history. She, Jaris amd Muza are now: "Sunys Kristui", Canines for Christ in the Lithuanian language. In fact, not only are the vests in Lithuanian but the salvation cards are also with John 3:16 and the prayer in her language so she can present the wonderful message of God's love to her people. She visits the elderly, sick and children in her community on a regular basis representing Canines for Christ. This is an amazing story of how Canines for Christ is growing into a world-wide ministry sharing the love of our wonderful Savior in languages and places we would have never imagined. God gets all the glory and honor for this ministry is all about Him.

If you can, please send a welcome email to Ineta. I am certain she would love to hear from her brothers and sisters in Christ in America.

May God continue to bless you, Ineta, Jaris and Muza

Well Done, Resi!
By Helen Morrill, St. Petersburg, FL

Dear Chaplain Larry,

Well Done!

"Well done my good and faithful servant." Matthew 26:21

Aren't these words we all want to hear from our Savior? Well, hear the good news!!! He is saying it to you every time you and your canine companion go out and serve God bringing the light of Christ to others by punching holes in the darkness of suffering, loss, and confusion bringing forth His light through the smiles, joy, and blessings, which come each time you put on your Canines for Christ shirt, fasten the Canines for Christ ministry vest to your beloved friend and move out to serve Christ in love and obedience-what joy!

Friday, Resi and I went to our regularly scheduled visits to All Children's Hospital. One of the young patients (we will call him Adam) was around two and a half years old. He had had brain surgery. His entire head was bandaged, one of his eyes was swollen, and he looked so tiny and frail in that big bed. He had the most beautiful face and a sweet demeanor. He had an IV attached to each of his wrists. His mom was anxious - she wanted him to eat so that one of the IV's could be removed and Adam would regain his strength, but Adam would not eat.

Resi was indeed God's little missionary reaching out to this precious little one with the child-like innocence of pure love. There he was loving, snuggling, smiling (yes dogs do smile) and playful - trying to play the nite-nite game with Adam. It is always amazing to see these special dogs bond so quickly with people but most especially children. They are awesome! As I reached down to get Resi to take him to the next room, the father said no, please, PLEASE, can you stay? Adam said he would eat if Resi stayed. (Father and son had been speaking in Spanish so I had no clue what they were saying). So, there we were, Adam, his parents, Resi, me, our escort - and Jesus!!!! Yes, Jesus! One piece of popcorn for Adam, two cheerios for Resi, one piece of popcorn for Adam, three cheerios for Resi, two pieces of popcorn for Adam, four cheerios for Resi, and on it went until Adam's little tummy was full - working in tandem with Christ - indescribable joy!!

So you see, all of you dear, dedicated Canines for Christ pet therapy teams - you make a difference every day! In a world full of obstacles, fear, anxiety, and challenges, God, the author of life, composer of hope brings joy, hope, comfort, and encouragement, and He enlists our help to do it! Amazing Grace!

Can you hear HIS voice? I can - "Well done my good and faithful servant!"

And our response is:

All is well, All is well, With my soul, With my soul!

On our way - REJOICING!

Why Is This Happening?
By Bill Arneson, Odessa, FL

I have a Labrador Retriever, Sable, who works with Canines for Christ to bring God's message through her therapy work. Several weeks ago, a veterinarian found a cancerous growth on her hind leg. She underwent surgery to remove the growth but had to endure much pain and suffering wearing a cone around her head. I asked myself, "Why would God do this to a dog that was working in the field bringing His message to those who needed to hear it". Well today I got the answer. The veterinarian that was removing Sable's stitches learned that she was a therapy dog. I shared Sable's work and testimony with her and made sure that she had one of Sable's cards that tells how "How to make Heaven your home". If Sable had not gone through what she did, this veterinarian would not have heard the message that God wanted her to hear. Yes, God is good "all the time".

"Car City" Canine
By Sally Severson, Pensacola, FL

Dear Chaplain Larry,

The Lord led me to visit what we call "Car City" in Pensacola. It is a road with all of the local car dealers. The Lord showed me they needed stress relief from trying to meet the quotas placed on them. Nia and I visited Buick, BMW, Nissan, Mazda, Dodge, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Chevrolet, and Toyota car dealers. Nia loved on workers and customers as well.

The Lord had opened the door and we went and showed God's love to all. Just another way to reach out to our communities.

"Faith's" Calling in South Africa
By Charmaine de Wet, Johannesburg, South Africa

Hi Chaplain Larry,

Where do I begin...It's been a long time and I know you have been wondering about us out here in South Africa. Well it has been a roller coaster ride that is still ongoing. Lots of personal challenges. Though my one constant has been "Faith". A more amazing dog I have never had. Her aggression was towards men and, though she is tolerant now, she still just does not like being around them or any other adult for that matter. But kids...she just loves kids and is the most loving and gentle!

We have been visiting a small school in the last 3 weeks and the success is amazing. Unfortunately, she can't wear the vest as the kids pull on it but we have given out cards and prayers to the kids, teachers and parents. On this last trip, she met with a mentally handicapped child. The little girl took Faith for a walk and I was a bit apprehensive at first. Faith showed just what a true therapy dog and ambassador for Christ she is. She walked calmly and sat when the girl asked her to and treated the girl with so much love. It was a sight to see. The teacher at the school gave a class on dogs and therapy dogs. I never once had to worry about Faith. She knew what to do and ensured the kids listened well. We have school holidays coming up in two weeks so we will take a break for a week. Then school starts again. For now Faith is helping reduce exam stress.

In the picture, the girl on the right in the pink jacket is the mentally handicapped girl. I do not have permission to show the children's faces so can't post it publicly (unless you can block out the faces somehow).

Faith has her special calling from God: Kids!

God is great!

"Whiskey" Makes a Difference!
By Chaplain Larry Randolph, Tampa, FL

The handwritten note below from a veteran in a nursing home is an example of how a visit from C4C volunteers, Sally Severson with "Nia" (Pensacola, FL) and Arlee Gegzna with "Whiskey" (Daphne AL), made a difference in a precious man's life.

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This note was received as a result of their visit to a Veteran's Home with "Whiskey" on Veterans Day. We never know how we are affecting the lives of others when we do His work and service!