Couldn’t a good therapist or teacher do the activities just as effectively or maybe even more so?

Perhaps, but you can’t deny that there’s just eomething special about dogs and people. Henry Ward Beecher said, “The dog was created for children. He is the god of frolic.” Tom Hayden says, “They motivate us to play, be affectionate, seek adventure and be loyal.” As man’s best friend, the dog has been improving the quality of our lives ever since the dawn of creation. Research is now showing that companion animals even promote health.

Time and again over the years we have seen patients light up and do things for the dogs that they would never do for any of us humans. Shelia Patterson said, “Children with challenges are more likely to respond to an animal’s gentle urging than to a teacher or therapist.”Truth is, a dog doesn’t have an agenda. We do. It is a very humbling experience.

So, what is this “magical” effect dogs seem to have? It seems to be founded in a dog’s ability to love unconditionally and accept you just as you are – no matter how smart you are, how you you look or act, no matter what your challenges might be. The wagging tail, joy to see and be with you is just part of a dog’s genes.

Because of that God given nature, dogs are catalysts who motivate us to work through the pain, sorrow and challenges – all those difficult things in life – just throw a ball for them, give them a treat, touch their soft fur, give them a command, take them for a walk – to do for and be with – a friend and companion. Undoubtedly, the best part is that they respond with such enthusiasm and gratefulness for our attention and presence – nothing more.

They are definitely one of God’s most precious gifts with value we have only begun to tap.

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