Callie turned two today!
I shed grateful tears when I think about how the Lord has used Callie, a mixed breed rescued from a kill-shelter, and the trainers at Tails for Life to improve my quality of life physically, emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually.
When we followed God from California to Wisconsin in August 2018, I couldn’t even walk to the end of the block with my cane. I couldn’t endure more than an hour out of the house without hunching over with stabbing pain in my upper thoracic back.
Though I still struggle with daily nerve pain, fatigue, muscle spasms, and headaches, my doctor’s helping me improve my pain management and Callie’s helping me improve my independence and mobility.
I can now walk Callie, without a cane, 2-3 times a day. Hallelujah!
When I’m having high level pain or spasms, Callie stays by my side and offers pressure therapy upon my request. She helps me get out of my chair and picks up things that I drop. She helps me balance when I’m walking and slows down when I have a flare-up during an outing.
Callie has flown across the country with me and served the Lord by my side during multiple book signings and speaking events. She lays next to me when I’m writing and rests under the table when I’m working at my desk.
I feel more confident and courageous when I’m serving the Lord with Callie by my side.
None of this would be possible without God, the New Pawsibilities rescue shelter, our first Wisconsin-friends, Gary and Carmen, and the group of generous readers who sponsored Callie’s service dog training with Tails for Life.
As I thank God for allowing us to serve Him together, I enjoy sharing our adventures at Callie the Service Dog with Xochitl Dixon (Facebook).
Callie is also building friendships and serving the Lord online at @callie.the.service.dog with Xochitl Dixon on Instagram.
But nothing is more rewarding than helping others who would benefit from a service dog.
Four-year-old Solomon needs our help today!
On April 16, 2020, one of the families in our church discovered that their son, Solomon, was diagnosed with Duchenne (pronounced “do-shen”) Muscular Dystrophy.
My friend, Lara, explained how Solomon’s diagnosis will impact his future.
“This is a disease that doesn’t have a cure. My son’s body cannot make the protein properly to sustain his muscles. As he ages, his body will slowly become weaker.
The mutation on the X-Chromosome means nearly all who are affected by DMD are males.
Boys will typically need a motorized wheelchair by middle school. Eventually they will need help with the most basic needs of life.
Life expectancy varies between DMD boys, some pass as early as their teenage years – some live longer – but most pass in their 20’s.
I’ve grown closer to Solomon and his family as I pray for them.
Solomon is a bright and happy boy. He’s curious, funny, and kind. He likes playing with tools and Legos.
And he loves Callie!
Lara shared how this disease is already impacting her son’s physical abilities.
“Solomon is unable to run or jump. Stairs are hard work. He struggles to pick his feet up high enough off the ground, so they don’t drag. He literally trips over his own feet.”
But Solomon’s disease is also effecting his whole family.
While her husband works to support their family, Lara tries to stay right by Solomon’s side, constantly fearing he will fall and injure himself.
“His sister, Addy, loves him very much,” she said. “Although she doesn’t fully understand what “Duchenne” means, she knows enough to run and get his favorite blanket or stuffed animal when he falls and hurts himself.”
But Lara proclaims that Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy has not left Solomon’s family without hope.
“The God who stopped the sun in the sky for the Israelites, the God who parted the Red Sea for Moses, the God who raised Lazarus from the dead . . . that is the God I believe in. And that is the God who could have reached into my womb and healed my son before he was born. He is the God that could heal my son right now.
But He doesn’t.
And I HAVE to be okay with that. It is now more important than ever for me to have hope in Him and in His promises.
Is it easy? Definitely not. Do I do it consistently? Nope. But, after the hardest of days when the tears won’t stop flowing, do I come back before His throne on my knees? Sure do. I have to believe in God’s goodness, in His power, in His might. I have to believe that He loves my son. I have to believe that it will all be okay, regardless of the pain now.
Because if I don’t believe all of that, what am I left with? Belief that God that doesn’t love Solomon? Belief that God isn’t all-powerful or all-mighty? Oof. That puts me in a very dark place. I don’t want to be there. So today, in spite of the pain and the grief, I choose to believe. I choose to have hope in the future.”
Jacob Guell from Tails for Life explains how a service dog can help brighten Solomon’s future.
A professionally trained service dog will help Solomon balance and can provide a sense of independence for Solomon, even as his muscles weaken.
The dog will help Solomon stand up from his chair or the floor, if he’s sitting on the floor or after a fall.
When Solomon drops something, the dog will pick up the item he drops. He can even retrieve and carry items.
The dog will be able to work with Solomon when he is in a wheelchair, too.
A service dog would also offer support to Solomon’s family.
The dog will alert a family member if Solomon needs help. He will stick close to Solomon and offer physical and emotional support, so family members don’t have to be so worried about leaving his side to keep him from falling.
The dog would also know how to get assistance from someone if Solomon is in need of help, at home or in public.
I know from my experience with Callie that a service dog brings so much more to the handler and the family.
The sense of comfort and confidence that comes through working with a service dog is a priceless gift.
A professionally trained service dog will allow Solomon and his family to have a better quality of life physically, emotionally, and mentally as his disease progresses.
How can we help bring Solomon and his service dog together so they can begin their life-changing journey together?
Tails for Life works with reliable breeders to ensure their service dogs have a specific temperament that will make them successful as they work with their handlers and families.
Securing a puppy and the two-year training spot with ongoing support from Tails for Life costs $22,000.00.
I know from experience that the Tails for Life team works with integrity and goes above and beyond to serve the families God has entrusted to them.
The sooner Solomon can secure a dog and a training spot, the sooner he will be able to begin working with the service dog.
Tails for Life needs $10,000.00 as soon as possible to reserve a dog and a training spot for Solomon.
The remaining balance of $12,000.00 is due when the training begins.
Tails for Life is already booking training spots for next Spring. They work on a first come first serve basis, so they cannot reserve spots without the funding.
Sponsors can make tax-deductible donations directly to Tails for Life via their website (click here).
Donations must include a message in the notes section to inform Tails for Life that their donation is for Solomon.
Tails for Life also accepts tax-deductible donations via check (instructions below) with a note informing them that the money should go directly to Solomon’s dog and training.
Donations over $250.00 will receive a special form in addition to the receipt everyone receives with their life-changing donation.
Tails for Life has trained Callie and me since July 2019, but they have been making a difference in the lives of children since 2013.
This team has provided well over a dozen service dogs to families across Wisconsin and Illinois, along with a few other states.
They have helped many children with rare disorders or diseases, children who were turned away from other organizations because they didn’t fit the organization’s criteria.
For Callie’s birthday, I wanted to spread God’s love and hope to this family in need. But I know Callie and I can’t do this alone.
Any donation amount will help and be appreciated.
Every dollar counts and helps us get closer to the goal of $22,000.00 so Solomon can begin his adventure with the service dog God has already chosen for him and his family.
Will you please join me in praying for the Henry family and prayerfully consider making a donation directly to Tails for Life today?
Please make checks payable to Tails for Life, write “Solomon Henry’s Service Dog” in the meme, and send to:
Tails for Life
Attention: Jacob Guell
W7074 Penny Lane
Fond du Lac, WI 54937
If you have any problems making a donation online and adding “Solomon Henry’s Service Dog” in the notes section, please make your donation then email Jacob Guell at firstname.lastname@example.org to let him know your donation is for Solomon.
Please also consider inviting a friend or two to help so we can secure Solomon’s dog and training spot as soon as possible.
I thank God for all of you who sponsored Callie’s service dog training and who continually pray for us as we share God’s truth and love to the ends of the earth.
In the photo above, Callie is “praising the Lord.” (Yes. I taught her how to do that, so we could praise Him together!)
And today, I am praising God for the wonderful way He is going to provide for Solomon and his family, just like He provided for me and my sweet Callie Mae.
Please feel free to leave a comment below to encourage Solomon and his family, as well as the Tails for Life team members who have dedicated their lives to serving God by providing well-trained service dogs and ongoing training support to those in need.
June 15, 2020 UPDATE:
PRAISE the LORD! Every single donation is making a difference!
As of 8 am Monday, June 15, 2020, only five days into our fundraising efforts, God has blessed us with a total of $5,144.69. Hallelujah!
We may not be able to change Solomon’s diagnosis, but we are helping change his life by donating today!
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Thank you for your prayers and support! To God be the glory, the honor, and the praise, praise, praise!