We recently gave a talk at a Rotary Club in Minneapolis. We spoke about how animals make people better human beings. We had a wonderful time, and those attending seemed to enjoy our presentation with a lot of questions and comments afterwards. Later, we received an email from one of the attendees.
The letter writer, an avowed dog lover, had bought one of our books and took it with him for a volunteer missionary job in Rwanda. He had gone to this strife-filled country to build a research center that will help in the fight against the AIDS epidemic. He had first gotten interested in this project because his Rotary club was building an orphanage and clinic in Rwanda. The orphanage, sadly, was necessary due to the hundreds and thousands of orphans in the country.
He writes, “There are NO dogs here. I miss my two golden retrievers very much, and not having other dogs around to at least pet is bad when you are homesick like I am. So reading your book, GOD’S MESSENGERS, makes me even more homesick. But reading your book did have a bright spot — actually I like the book very much and am reading it each morning as part of my devotions.
While reading the book, this man recognized the name of a story contributor. This was someone he had known in the early eighties when they both had been involved in youth-program charity work for their church. He asked if we would help him re-connect, and we forwarded his email on to the story’s author.
Then he ended his letter by saying, “Thinking about you two and what you have done for dogs and dog lovers (all pet lovers) has inspired me to see how I might earn a living in the Twin Cities when I return in September by working with dogs/pets/people. If you have any ideas along those lines I’d really appreciate it. Keep up the good work. May your day be blessed by the Lord.”
Well, this day-brightener certainly did bless our day. As we mentioned at the start of sharing this experience, it brought out two important points we have witnessed repeatedly through the years.
First, people who are compassionate toward animals tend to also give service to humans. The view that animal enthusiasts love animals because of some inability to relate to or like people just doesn’t prove to be true.
When we wrote the book RESCUED about animal rescue, we asked the interviewees what other charity work they did. Their devotion to alleviating human suffering was equal to or exceeded by what they did for animals. They all seemed to get the message: Rescue an animal and you either improve or heal a human family. Because animals ARE family members.
Second, and this is related to the first, there is a golden thread of Divine Love that connects animal lovers. They find each other, they support each other, they understand each other. The animals touch their hearts and bring them together in sometimes-miraculous ways.
This is one of the reasons we so enjoy publishing our Angel Animals newsletter. The community of thousands of animal lovers all over the world that reads it each week energizes and sustains us.
How have animals brought you closer to people and to giving service to others?
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ANGEL ANIMALS STORY OF THE WEEK
A LITTLE HELP ALONG LIFE’S JOURNEY
By Barbara Welch
On Mother’s day in 2008, we tried to keep a stray dog, but she would not stay with us. One week later we saw some college students walking with the same dog. I asked them if the dog was theirs, and they said, “No, but we have been taking care of her.”
The dog was a female Lab-German shepherd mix. She was about nine months old and had short white hair and baby blue eyes. I asked the students if they wanted me to keep the dog. I offered to contact an animal rescue group to be sure the dog would be safe in its care and find a good home. I decided to take care of the dog for a week.
I am a diabetic and was facing the prospect of needing to take a third medication for the diabetes. I started walking this dog three times per day in spite of my heel problems. Because of walking her everyday, I stopped craving caffeine, sugar, etc. My blood sugar numbers came down. I made a total turnaround in only two weeks and I felt peaceful and rested. The walking really did me some good, even though my feet were killing me.
Now, our local shelter has adopted the dog out to a good home. I would have kept her, but I know our cats well and could see that they did not approve. Ours wouldn’t have been the best situation for the dog. I felt such a connection with that dog, but I did not name her, because it would have been harder for me to let her go. I know God sent her to me temporarily just when I needed some encouragement to get out of my house and exercise.
I am very thankful that the dog came into my life when she did. I had been praying for God to help me with my diabetes, and the answer to my prayers came in the form of an animal. Since the dog graced my life, I have continued to walk and ride my bike at least two miles per day. My blood sugar is still under control, and my doctor said I do not have to take the new medication. Praise the Lord.
Barbara Welch is forty-five years old and has been married twenty-one years. She is a stay-at-home mother of two boys. Barbara plays the piano, crochets, and sews. She loves all kinds of music and listens mostly to Christian contemporary but enjoys a good dose of 1980s rock and roll.
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT:
Has an animal ever entered your life temporarily and helped you to heal or left a permanent paw print on your heart? (Send your stories to email@example.com.