By Karen McBride
It started one morning when Chaplain Larry Randolph was spending time in his devotional. He was reading Provers 3:5-6 ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.’ He heard God speak to him and He said, “therapy dogs”. Larry didn’t understand as he didn’t own a dog at the time. His beloved dog, Gus, had passed away several years earlier.
Larry prayed on it and as he remembered what a comfort his own dog was during difficult times in his life, he took the first step in faith. He borrowed his daughter’s dog and visited a nursing home for the first time. From there Canines 4 Christ ministry was formed and has grown to over 1,200 people involved in the organization, in 38 states, and 8 foreign countries!
Canines 4 Christ brings joy to patients and volunteers by sharing God’s love. The animal therapy ministry visits people in cancer centers, children’s homes, nursing homes, hospitals, prison ministries, and other places where people are in need of God’s comforting words and the unconditional love and affection dogs bring.
Establishing the ministry was just the beginning of God’s plans. His plans were greater than Larry could ever imagine and it started with a phone call in 2021. Tyndale Publishing, one of the largest Christian publishing companies was on the other end, and they were interested in publishing his story on how Canines 4 Christ began.
Over the next two years, Larry worked with Jennifer Marshall Bleakley, a well-established author with many published books.
“She is a master storyteller and a beautiful writer,” said Larry.
The pair spoke nearly every day for two years. Larry kept prayer journals of the encounters he and his dog Gracie had with people in nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living facilities, and more.
“I remember a lady that was crying, and Gracie put her head on the woman’s lap to calm her. That simple act brought peace to her heart.”
Being able to remember special moments through his prayer journals helped with the material for the book. This was just another example of how God was preparing him for the door He would open.
“It’s an uplifting book in dark times,” said Larry. “God’s timing is perfect. He knew His people would need something now.”
Finding Grace: The Inspiring True Story of Therapy Dogs Bringing Comfort, Hope, and Love to a Hurting World is available in stores, airports, and on Amazon.
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