A Therapy Dog On Duty

October 5, 2013
by David Leggatt   - Listen to this devotional

Matthew 11:28 – Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. (NRSV)

I have a Shi-Tzu dog named Daisy Mae who is also a therapy dog for St. John's Ambulance. We go into the local nursing home every Thursday and visit with the residents there. She just loves to bring joy to these older folks. They also seem to enjoy being able to pat and cuddle her. They both enjoy the treats when I pull one out to let them feed her. She sits, and then, very gently, takes it out of their hands.

Today, we were at a community college as part of a stress-relieving opportunity for the students and some of the staff. Again, Daisy just loved the attention these students gave her. One girl said that she was really stressed over being away from home for the first time and also over a paper that she was writing for one of her classes. She patted the couch beside her, and Daisy jumped up and began to cuddle with her. I could see the stress just melting away from the student.

When I got home from this outing, it made me think back to my days as a mature student studying for my undergraduate degree in university and for my Master of Divinity in seminary. After all these years, I can still remember all the stress and tension, especially when I had papers due or exams to study for. My stomach would be in knots, and sometimes, I would even be physically sick.

We didn't have therapy dogs at either of the institutions I attended, but we had something much, much better. We had a chapel where we could go and pray, and ask God to help us, to calm us, and to be a friend in need. In addition, there were other mature Christian students like me who were going into a whole new way of life. I can remember gathering in one of the larger rooms around ten o'clock every evening for a cup of tea, some friendly talk, and prayer. We could hold up our fellow students in prayer and be held up in prayer ourselves. For me, it was the most peaceful time of the day. I often took advantage of this to go to bed with this peace surrounding me.

John 14:27 – [Jesus said,] "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid." (NRSV)

As Christians, we know that we have a friend in Jesus, a friend who can take all our worries and tension away. It is even better when we seek out Christian friends to have fellowship, sharing, and prayer with each other. No wonder the Lord in His wisdom warned us against "neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another" (Hebrews 10:25 NRSV).

Prayer: Almighty and loving God, we pray that You will be with those who struggle with workloads, stress, tension, loneliness, and heavy burdens. Give them the willingness and longing to turn to You and to the fellowship of other Christians to help them cope. Amen.

About the author:

David Leggatt <leggattd@gmail.com>
Wiarton, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    A good word of encouragement David.


    Well Done, David. Please write again.


    Thanks for the therapy lesson. Children have the same with their happy outlook on life.


    EXCELLENT David! Great to see one from you. May you be inspired to write more to share with us.


    Thank you so much David for this helpful message. I am forwarding it to family and friends who are stressed and praying that it will be a blessing to them. May God bless you.


    Very Good David. We must not give up meeting together even here on the Daily. What a blessing to have this ministry and so good to hear from you once more.
    God Bless.


    David:
    A powerful message filled with deep meaning. You have a way of making the light shine in dark places. Your words are very encouraging. I think of you often.


    Dear David,
    There are so many spiritual lessons we can learn from the animals – they have the amazing ability to touch our lives in special ways. In my family, our two cats have also been a blessing in times of stress. Thank you for sharing your experience and the biblical insights that inspired you to write.
    Blessings in Christ.


    Hi David,
    Such good words in your Devotional today. The fact that Jesus is there for us in all our situations has been one of our assurances through the years.
    A couple of years ago we personally went through an anxious time when I had heart surgery for the second time and it is at times like that that we can only pray that those looking after us are guided by God and that we carry our heavy burden to the Lord in Prayer.
    Thank you for your good words.


    Hi there David Leggatt. I didn’t realize that you wrote some of the daily devotionals for the PresbyCan Daily Devotional until to-day. I enjoyed your devotional about your therapy dog “Daisy” and how she helps people in many different ways.
    I found out about your writings from another who started writing devotionals for the PresbyCan Daily Devotional as you do. She introduced me to the web site last year. It is a small world isn’t it! Way to go! May God Bless you and your comforting dog! By the way, I think you must be a good listener from the heart!
    It’s wonderful having people like you that show concern, kindness and help to bring God’s peace to others.


    David; Peace! What a relief. God’s hand is ever at work! He knows what we need and when we need it. Thank you.
    (BC)


    Dear David Leggatt,
    Thank you for your devotional of Oct.5. especially:
    As Christians, we know that we have a friend in Jesus, a friend who can take all our worries and tension away. It is even better when we seek out Christian friends to have fellowship, sharing, and prayer with each other. No wonder the Lord in His wisdom warned us against “neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another” (Hebrews 10:25 NRSV).
    Copies of this devotional need to be posted on bulletin boards of learning institutions.
    Keep writing.

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