When we followed God from California to Wisconsin after a university offered my husband a job he’d never even applied for, a part of me thought the Lord was leading me to doctors who would be able to fix my injured back. I’d grown weary of struggling with pain management and fatigue.
I knew God could heal me instantly and thought our move would be one step closer to our miracle.
I was wrong, but oh so right.
The day after I arrived in Wisconsin, our first Fondy friends, Gary and Carmen, drove us to pick up our new puppy.
As we stood in the middle of the animal rescue center, I held the bundle of wiggles in my arms and cried.
My back, shoulders, and neck hurt, but the pain couldn’t take my joy away.
I had no idea that small pup would change my life. And at that time, I had no idea how much I needed her.
In the months after adopting Callie, I struggled with adjusting to life in Wisconsin.
Alone and freezing, with pain levels increasing and writing deadlines quickly approaching, I battled discouragement daily.
We invested in personal and group training for Callie. She grew fast and soon doubled the estimated weight the rescue center had given us, though she seemed to think she still weighed twelve pounds.
Yes, that is my puppy perched on my shoulder.
After my last procedure failed to improve my pain management, my doctor said, “This could be your life. Pain management may be the only thing we can offer.”
His words punched me in the gut.
I knew God could heal me in an instant. I had no idea why He hadn’t, but I knew He also hadn’t wasted one moment of my healing journey.
I share a lot about that topic and about my initial injury in my first full-length devotional, Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace (Available for pre-order on Amazon and on the Discovery House Publishers’ website).
My doctor consoled me as I grieved. Then, we discussed other treatment options, options that would still be considered pain management, band-aids for the symptoms of the injury no doctor seemed to be able to fix.
I spent the next few days crying and praying and resting in God’s loving arms, grieving but at peace.
My husband did all he could to encourage me.
But the Lord used Callie to make me smile, to help me get up and walk even when the pain felt overwhelming and the temperatures reached smack-me-in-the-face cold.
I taught Callie how to walk on the treadmill, so she would still get exercise when my body refused to cooperate.
But most days, her smile enticed me to walk with her. Yes. I even walked her in the snow.
As the months rolled by, I got stronger, physically and emotionally.
Even when the pain levels peaked, my sweet pup managed to tuck a little joy into my weary heart.
Her smile brightened my darkest days and gave me the courage to research a possibility I thought would be out of my reach.
Could I find someone to help me train Callie to be a service dog? How much would it cost? How could we afford it if I had to pay for my next procedure because the insurance company refused to cover the expenses?
I needed help.
After much prayer, wise counsel, and encouragement from friends who had supported me during my decades-long healing journey, I asked God for the courage to ask for help.
Our current trainer recommended Jake Guel from Tails for Life.
After hearing my story, he said we could train Callie to help me walk without a cane, a task she’s been practicing. She could learn how to lean into me when I lose balance during a spasm or when my nerve pain flares-up while walking. She can learn how to pick things up for me, how to retrieve items, and more.
On my hardest days, I am hunched over and wincing from the pain as I make my way to the bathroom.
The thought of having Callie as a helper makes me feel less alone, less dependent on my hard-working husband who already does so much for me.
I feel stronger, braver . . . even when I feel weakened by the ongoing sharp pain and headaches . . . like today.
She would be able to travel with me if I take public transportation, since I can’t drive.
She’ll be able to travel with me and stay with me at hotels, so I can follow God’s leading with confidence as He expands my speaking ministry.
Jake offered me a training package that was more affordable than I imagined, but still way out of my budget.
He suggested I reach out to people who would be willing to sponsor Callie’s service dog training.
So, here I am. Risking rejection and ridicule as I ask for help to raise $3,200.00 for Callie’s service dog training.
I’m trusting God will provide in a mighty way. We hope to raise enough money so we can sign up for a training session in June.
If you’re willing to join our adventure as a sponsor, please visit the Tails for Life website and donate a tax-deductible gift.
Please make a note on your donation stating that you are sponsoring Callie Dixon.
If you are not able to, for some reason, please make sure you email Jake at firstname.lastname@example.org to let him know you are sponsoring Callie Dixon’s training. If it’s easier, you can email me so I can let him know.
I will be asking for donations for a week. I need to secure Callie’s spot. The training schedule fills up quickly.
If you let me know when you donate, I can keep a record to compare to Jake’s list of sponsors. This will help ensure that our sponsors’ gifts are applied toward Callie’s service dog training.
I will post occasional updates about how God is working in and through our adventures on my blog. I’ll also be creating pages on Facebook and Instagram just for Callie the Service Dog, where I’ll post photos, videos, and share what the Lord is teaching me through our journey.
Thanks for your prayers, your encouragement, and your willingness to consider sponsoring Callie as she begins service dog training.
I know I can do nothing without God or your ongoing love and support.
To God be the glory, the honor, and the praise!
If you want to learn more about Jake Guell and the wonderful ways they are helping change lives, please visit the Tails for Life website.