A life-time pet owner, the value of animals in our lives resonates in my heart. From childhood lessons of caretaking and responsibility to the comfort of unconditional love, pets have blessed me over the years. Expanding on that potential with purposeful planning excites me! Blending Christian faith and values with pet therapy offers great Kingdom-building potential.
Solid research reveals animals of every type offer the potential of hope and healing. The practice of utilizing animals in therapeutic intervention actually began in the 1960s. Measurable success kept the movement moving forward and expanding. Today, dogs, cats, rabbits, horses and more serve as ministry partners around the world. Special needs individuals, Alzheimer patients, traumatic brain injury victims, troubled teens, PTSD and chronic pain sufferers have all benefitted from this unique endeavor. Multiple organizations exist to train, certify and promote animal-assisted therapy.
Since God is all about relationships—and so are pets, the potential in pet therapy is even greater! Using animals to improve relational abilities as well as offer comfort opens the door to eternal possibilities.
In recent discussions with a trainer helping us create such a ministry in our area, my convictions on the matter deepened:
“Obedience is getting your pet to forego their judgment and trust yours. Your pet does not need to fear you; it simply needs to value your opinion.” Wally Wimmer, Last Straw Dog Training
That is a revolutionary training angle to contemplate! Immediately, my spirit understood the wisdom, because I saw a reflection of how God has prepared me to obey over the years. He has patiently taught me of His trustworthiness and love, never employing intimidation or harsh correction. In fact, my unchanging God has wooed me just as He did the nation of Israel.
“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself. (Jeremiah 31:3)
Once my pet understands my opinion is of value and my leadership sound, we will be on our way to a harmonious relationship with new purpose! Once I understand the love of the Father, my obedience opens exciting new venues as well. The trustworthiness of God needs to be seen in our world. We are to walk it out in the unique ways He has crafted each of us.
How can you show the trustworthiness of God to someone today?