Nothing like 18 mostly special needs and senior rescued dogs to keep me on my toes, and given this is only one small part of Walk by Faith Ministry which I direct with no staff or regular volunteers, you can only imagine I don’t always do the best job of keeping everyone up to date with what’s going on. So when one of paralyzed dog Miss Molly’s two wonderful sponsors reached out to me by e-mail to ask how Miss Molly is, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to let everyone know what’s going on with the ministry’s very special canine crew who truly walk – and play and love – by faith!
The ministry’s doggie sanctuary comprises 3 paralyzed dogs, 1 two-footed dog, 1 three-legged dog, 1 disabled dog, 1 dog missing some toes, 1 one-eyed blind dog, one 15-year-old dog with a severe back issue and a leg issue, one 15-year-old with walking issues, 1 nearly deaf senior dog with a walking issue, 1 dog with a double hernia who is truly doing fine, and a few others. When God gave me the name Walk by Faith Ministry some years ago, little did I know I would be learning to walk by faith along with all of these very special dogs not to mention all the countless people whom I am blessed, humbled, and privileged to minister to.
All dogs overall are in excellent shape, all things considered. When you become accustomed to working with special needs dogs as I have, every day is full of miracles. Considering virtually all of us – myself included – were once lost, abandoned, neglected, abused, forgotten, and struggling in one way or another, isn’t it a miracle to wake up each and every day? Yes, absolutely. And for each and every day any and all of us can walk by faith – whether in a doggie wheelchair, with a funny three-legged walk, by hoisting oneself up in the air with only two feet, or by the Word of God for the human one of us (that’s me!) – isn’t this a miracle also? It truly is a faith walk – day by day – around the property of Walk by Faith Ministry.
Every day certainly brings its own set of challenges – and miracles. I never know which dog will need a bandage change, a visit to the vet, a different medication, an extra pat on the back, and, sometimes, sadly, a goodbye when it’s time to move on to heaven. Nor do I know what I myself will need from the Lord to sustain and carry and lead me through another day of loving and serving Him, of caring for the canine crew on the home front, and of ministering to the world at large as He desires (on the people front, which is my number one priority contrary to what some might think!).
So for a brief update on some of the more outstanding cases as of today when it comes to the dogs……….
Paralyzed dog Miss Molly has had cuts on her foot for over a year now. I, with the help of my vet, have tried countless measures and means to help her foot heal so that she can live her life un-bandaged – to no lasting avail. I have literally cried, lost my temper, and virtually torn my hair out over this. Little did I know God was doing a work in ME while I was desperately trying to get her foot to heal. Though the cuts remain, despite brief periods of what looked to be a healed foot, I have changed greatly in the process. Where once I raged and sobbed over this long-term wound care along with all my other responsibilities, Miss Molly and I now enjoy our bandage change times. Miss Molly is perfectly calm during bandage changes – and enjoys the attention! Paralyzed dog Miss Mercy, her roommate, can’t understand why she doesn’t get the same attention – but manages to begin bandage change time by shoving herself right into the mix. Go figure! A company that specializes in a wound care technology has just donated its equipment and bandaging to my vet so that in about 10 days Miss Molly will be the recipient of a specialized technology to help her to heal.
Paralyzed dogs Miss Mercy and Miss Molly have their very own human bedroom all to themselves. A large quantity of dog food and other supplies are stored on one end of the bedroom. The rest is all theirs! They have special flooring, a diaper change station, a wound care portion of the diaper change station table, a big window for sunlight and fresh air when the temperature is right to open the window. And they have their very own door opening from the bedroom into the yard so that I can wheel them out in their wheelchairs for walks down the little dirt road! Not a bad life for two dogs that almost certainly would have been euthanized due to their paralysis!
Paralyzed dog Mr. Simeon, who is outside now even as I write in his wheelchair with many of the other dogs in the quite warm winter day and sunshine, has made remarkable progress over the past year. When he first arrived, he was grossly underweight, developed a horrible pressure wound, and had an incredibly bad, chronic skin infection. He is now a beautiful weight, his skin looks beautiful, and he thoroughly enjoys his life. Unlike the other paralyzed dogs who have some mobility by dragging (Miss Mercy) or “walking” with her legs tucked under her (Miss Molly), Mr. Simeon has just about no mobility without his wheelchair. So his special treat is living directly next to my bed on a huge dog bed so he can enjoy my company for long stretches at time. If the truth be known, I do much of my writing and other Internet work camped out on my bed.
Very senior dog Jake, whom I thought I would lose months ago when my beloved ministry co-founder Red went to heaven, is still with me. He is in fact happily snoozing right next to me on the bed thanks to yet another pain med to help address his extreme back issue. He is hanging in there, day by day, and I am on the cusp of making yet more medication changes.
Little Miss Miracle, disabled and found severely neglected just months ago as a senior, was flown to South Carolina from Virginia to be with me and all the others. Her Virginia vet said she may only have weeks to live thanks to an unbelievable amount of health issues – including a mass on her neck that appeared to be a possible aggressive deadly tumor. The tumor “disappeared” without treatment, and she is thoroughly – and healthily – enjoying her miraculous new life. She is currently snoozing ON TOP of Mr. Simeon’s pillow. Mr. Simeon, mind you, is the only dog I have ever had who managed (though paralyzed!) to take my bed pillow off my bed whenever he wanted it. So I finally donated one of my pillows to his “cause.”
Admittedly, I also came home one day to find my laptop on the floor with Mr. Simeon, whom I suppose planned to begin writing his first book most assuredly to be published by Walk by Faith Ministry along with my own books. Little Miss Miracle, though only 10 pounds, is now curled up with her severely disabled feet sprawled out under a baby blanket next to Mr. Simeon who has returned from his wheelchair escapades at the time of editing this writing and is now under a large pink blanket (not the ideal color, I know). Two-footed Miss Winnie, who decided to pay a visit to my bedroom today courtesy of my carrying her (she is perfectly capable of “walking” in her own special way but enjoys the free rides from time to time), I have just discovered, is now all curled up and snuggled in little Miss Miracle’s SMALL dog bed (Winnie is over 4 times little Miss Miracle’s size) which is smooshed up against the big dog bed with the other dogs. Get the picture? Pretty beautiful, eh? Pretty God, if you ask me.
Little Baby, meanwhile, at 15 years old, along with senior dog Hope, are both struggling with senior issues – apparent pain and discomfort when walking. So I am working on medications with them to find what will work best to address their pain and facilitate their ability to walk.
Every day is definitely different, and for anyone who wonders, I have certainly struggled at times with fatigue taking care of all of them along with my other ministry responsibilities – not to mention impatience when they all seem to want something at the same time! I certainly wish I could say I have done this all perfectly, or that I have learned to do it all perfectly. I have not; not even close. I am learning to accept that I am perfectly imperfect, and that God’s strength is truly perfected in my weakness as the Bible teaches (2 Cor. 12:9).
Only by God’s grace and mercy, by His love and forgiveness, have I managed to come as far as I have come. Numerous times, I was ready to give up. I have at times become deeply discouraged with myself for falling so far short, and at times wondered why the Lord would give me these dogs to take care of given how many times I have fallen short in loving them the way that they deserve. I have countless times fallen to my knees in repentance for hurting them instead of helping them, for resenting them instead of loving them, for falling short of God’s glory in so many ways. The Lord has forgiven me over and again, and in His mercy not given up on me. Instead, in fact, He has taught me, and trained me, and refined me, as He perfects His love in me. I can at last see the phenomenal change He has caused in me as I have sought His face, studied His Word, and learned as I do day by day to walk by faith and to walk in His love.
My pastor, who is now with the Lord, told me some time ago that these dogs are like Moses’ sheep. God has used them not simply to teach me how to love them the way they deserve, but to train and prepare me as my ministry work continues to unfold. These precious, beautiful dogs whom I so love are truly just one small part of the ministry. And as my calling to share the Gospel while ministering the Lord’s love to a world in need continues to unfold, and as more and more opportunities arise for me to preach, teach, and to write, and minister to groups of people and to individuals, I am ever blessed by how God has led me to the place I am today – and to the place He plans to take me. Moses worked with sheep before God called him to deliver the children of Israel. I am so infinitely blessed because even as the calling on my life continues to unfold before me, I get to enjoy these sweet dogs while God uses the gifts He has given me to teach the world about Jesus the Christ.
It really is a walk by faith, isn’t it?
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN BECOMING A SPONSOR OF ANY OR ALL OF THE WALK BY FAITH MINISTRY DOGS, OR OF ANY OTHER ASPECT OF THE MINISTRY OR THE MINISTRY AS A WHOLE, PLEASE SEND ME AN E-MAIL AT firstname.lastname@example.org.
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE VERY SPECIAL DOGS OF WALK BY FAITH MINISTRY, PLEASE VISIT THE DOG SANCTUARY PAGE OF THIS WEBSITE. YOU CAN CLICK HERE TO VISIT!
Please visit Walk by Faith Ministry at https://www.walkbyfaithministry.com.