A few months back, I wrote about Molly, my little mutt who worked at Caring Counseling Ministries (CCM). At our old facility, she would enter the waiting room to greet clients, then spend the day snoring in her dog bed. The clients loved her antics, and she loved being there. We began jokingly calling her our therapy dog.
That came to an abrupt end when we moved to the new facility. Molly could not adjust and began having panic attacks. The inside terrified her, and the backyard, full of the scent of deer and other wildlife, sent her into a panic. She began trying to escape, and once ran into busy Route 37. I was heartbroken and wrote an article about the possibility of her retirement. I started leaving her home when I went in.
We Christians say that to Jesus, Heaven wasn't Heaven without us. So He had to find a way to get us there. I now understand that a little better. As glorious as our new facility was/is, not having Molly there soured it, and I couldn't enjoy it without her. Then a surprising thing happened. After the article came out, people started telling me they were praying for Molly. Many of you readers, who had never even laid eyes on her, began praying for her. I have never had such a response from anything I have written. I became determined to get her past her fears.
I decided to try the same treatment I would use for my clients to conquer extreme fear. Combining prayer, positive reinforcement, and the short-term use of a light doggy sedative, I began bringing her in for short days. The clients knew about her problem and possible retirement, and they rallied to support her. People brought her treats. They prayed for her. She got lots of hugs and petting from all. The miraculous happened. She got over her fears, and I got a bonus.
Previously, the term therapy dog had been said with tongue in cheek, as she was not emotionally supportive of anyone other than me. That changed. She now prefers to sit with clients instead of her dog bed. She gives kisses in response to tears and occasionally climbs into people's laps. This ushered in something I had given up on years ago; Molly earned the right to be licensed as an Emotional Support Animal.
So meet Molly, the newest licensed member of the CCM staff. She has conquered her fears and discovered people are great and may have a treat for her. She wears her new vest with pride. It's her Kevlar. In it, she charges into the backyard and sniffs those piles of deer poop! No longer Molly the Meek, she is now Molly the Giant Slayer.
If it sounds ridiculous to you that God would care about a dog, then you need to meet my God. He is not a cosmic fun-sucker, He is the giver of life and laughter. It says in His word that he even has the number of hairs on your head counted. His love for you knows no bounds. He cares about what you care about, even if it's a little mutt. And If God will do that for a dog, the sky is the limit for you!
• Cris Corzine-McCloskey is director of Caring Counseling Ministries, 11264 Route 37, in Marion; a nonprofit corporation for the purpose of providing counseling from a Biblical perspective at an affordable cost. Reach them at (618) 997-2129.