By Larry Randolph
Can you imagine?
Can you imagine taking your dog to visit a 911 facility and bringing joy and peace to these operators that are under great stress? Can you imagine your dog bringing joy and peace to a lonely resident of a nursing home? Well guess what? With Canines for Christ, this is all possible.
Started in 2007 in Tampa, Canines for Christ is a therapy dog ministry that uses family dogs to minister to people in the community in great need of kindness, compassion, hope, and God’s love using compassionate and gracious dogs to open the door to share this message. In the past thirteen years, this ministry has touched the lives of millions of people all over the world and has grown with hundreds of certified therapy dogs, volunteers, and chaplains. Our ministry is to let Christ’s love shine through us and our canines, as his ambassadors, as we bring the light of Christ into the darkness.
We visit many places such as nursing homes, Assisted Care Living Facilities (ACLFs), Community Hospitals, VA facilities, cancer centers, grief, and hospice facilities, 911 facilities and First Responders, schools, special needs facilities, Community parades and events, and crisis response in disasters. The need is great, and we try to fulfill any situation that could benefit from a warm nose, wagging tail and an encouraging and kind message of God’s powerful love to the people in need.
Okay that sounds pretty interesting. But how do I get involved? Well, there are several questions that you should be asking yourself. What is my purpose in life? Where is it that God wants to use me to build his kingdom? Can I use my dog to bring joy and peace to somebody in need of help in this difficult time? Am I able to represent the ministry of Jesus’ presence with the sick, elderly, lonely, disabled, depressed, injured, and dying? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, then you could be one of our volunteers!
So how do I get started? First, you must have a gentle, well-mannered dog with good social skills at least 1 year old. We will certify the dog with the AKC Canine Good Citizen certification. Second, you must complete the volunteer questionnaire and application located on our website. Third, you must be willing to volunteer your time to be an ambassador for Christ. And, finally, pray that God will use you in a mighty way to serve and honor Him in this ministry.