A week before Christmas, a yellow lab joined our daughter’s family as a service dog. Her name is Addy. She is eighteen months old and has been in training for over a year to help our grandson, Luke with his Autistic challenges.
Luke and Addy met for the first time three months earlier for it’s the service dog that chooses the child. The family doesn’t do the choosing of the Canine care giver.
The day the Baker family drove to Highland Canine Training center (http://www.highlandcanine.com/ ) to see if the assist lab would pick Luke as her life-long partner was one of excitement, anticipation, and fear of disappointment. The miles clicked away as the hopeful chatter died down as mom and dad prayed silently for Luke, the dog, and God’s will. The two boys were quietly playing their electronic games as the car roared across miles to new possibilities.
As dad turned the car off, the boys ended their games. In the yard, they saw a lady throwing a ball and a lean lab running after it. Mom suggested they watch for a minute or two before opening the car doors.
Addy’s training was evident as she returned the ball and dropped it at the trainer’s feet. She then sat at the trainer’s side to wait for the command to fetch the newly tossed ball. Addy’s obedience along with a desire to please was showing in her patience.
When Addy was brought to the Baker family, she passed everyone and went straight to Luke. She greeted him with wiggles and a wagging tail. He had never experienced being chosen first in anything. No one trained Addy to pick Luke. However, she did show us who she was picking to love at first sight. There were lots of hugs and cuddles between the two of them.
The trainer had been taught over years of experience to let go and trust the dog to choose who they wanted to care for. Addy loved on Luke the minute they met.
After the first meeting, Addy had weeks of training specifically for Luke and his needs. Luke was comforted over those long weeks of waiting by knowing that Addy was going to school while he did too. Every other weekend, he and his family would go visit Addy.
It was a big day when Addy was brought to Luke’s home. Two service dog trainers stayed almost a week. They blended training and teaching methods for a smooth adjustment while the parents continued to pray. All family members were trained in exact skills for obedience and off-leash essentials.
Older brother, Seth, was shown drills and skill sets that needed to be done for on-going reinforcement with Addy. Training equips with techniques and tools that mold performances. Therefore, Seth was reinforcing necessary actions for needed services.
The parent’s education went beyond training to teaching. They had a broader focus of in-depth learning to what would enrich the relationship between Luke, Addy, the family, and social settings. They had to become the imparters of knowledge and understanding. Dad and Mom saw they too would have times of blending training, teaching, and a lot of praying.
Prayers paved the way to major adjustments with Addy joining the Baker family. Addy is an answer to many prayers. Her training made for easy modifications for the family. Her love is a nonverbal teaching method of acceptance and care.
As a professional speaker, Addy has reminded me of what I need to do for those I’ve been called to care for through my speaking engagements. I need to listen, to obey, and serve happily.
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
James 1:19 NIV
Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.
Luke 11:28 NIV
Serve the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing.
Yes, I’ve been trained in the elements of professional speaking techniques, yet it’s the teachings from scripture that equips me while prayer is the difference maker.
The key differences:
Training is fact based. Teaching is sharing a collection of knowledge and experience. Praying turns over the facts, knowledge, and experience into God’s hand to unleash His power for blessed outcomes.
In this New Year of 2014, may you –
Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Photo album of Addy at http://vimeo.com/82779523
Uplifting blessings always,