The number of hearts touched by the wonderful dogs God uses in this ministry is amazing! Here are some of their stories.
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 ☺
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
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
The note attached was her response.
Again, "Thank You" for allowing Bouc and me to serve our God in
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
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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 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!
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
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
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 ☺
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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....
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
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.
"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
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
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
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
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.
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
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!
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!
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
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.
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.
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!!
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
Hi Chaplain Larry,
I do believe that what led me to Canines for Christ was
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.
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,
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
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."
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
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
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!
...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
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.
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
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.
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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
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
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
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."
I'm excited and Gus will be wonderful!! I know that this is a "God
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
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!
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!
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
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.
Chaplain Steve Kesler
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.
....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
...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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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
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
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!
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
that this ministry was consistent with the goals we
envisioned. Upon presenting the Canines for Christ
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
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
...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
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.
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...
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 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
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.
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.
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
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
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
We thank God for the C4C Ministry and all the love that is given
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
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 :-)
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
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.
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!"
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 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.
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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
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!
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.
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.
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
"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
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:
May God bless you, Joan. We are thankful and blessed to
have you and your dogs in this ministry.
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.
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.
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
If you would like to know how to start a "Dog Church" please
contact Chaplain Steve
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
Thank you so very much!
p.s. The "little horse" is Kobe, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, with C4C
volunteer Annette Holeyfield from Tampa, 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
*** 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
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.
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
Dear Chaplain Larry,
"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!
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".
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.
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!
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.
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!