As a Church, one of the chosen charities to support is Dogs for Good, and two regular members of our congregation, Christine and Alan, are amongst the team of experience puppy trainers for the charity that take the dogs for the first 12 months or so of their lives to assess their suitability for further in-depth training. As part of the acclimatisation process for the puppies, and much to the delight of children and adults alike, Chris and Alan bring the dogs into Church for many of our Services. The puppies will sit quietly through the Service getting used to the different noises and comings and goings. Sometimes they will join Junior Church for their meetings, so that our youngsters can learn about the great work that the charity does, and sometimes, even the pups will join Chris and Alan coming up to the front of the Church and will wait patiently whilst they take Communion.
Our most recent puppy, Cassie, who was with us for nearly 9 months, has now moved on for specialist training as a 'seizure dog', as Chris and Alan's training of her identified that she had a particularly strong sense of smell. Amazingly, such are their God-given talents that specially-trained dogs as Cassie will become can identify when someone is going to have a seizure as much as 55 minutes in advance of this happening from the unique body odours that humans with this condition give off, and the dogs with their super-sensitive noses can detect. In this crucial time, the dogs can alert the person as to what is likely to happen and will lead them to a place of safety. If the person has a fit whilst outside, the dogs are trained to lie down next to them until such time as medical assistance can arrive. We naturally wish Cassie well in her future ‘career’ and hope and pray that she and the person whose companion she will become in the years ahead will have a happy and fulfilling life together.
As Cassie moves on, as the photos show, we have recently been introduced to our new ‘church puppy’, Aida – a beautiful 5-month old golden retriever. We will look forward to her joining us for Services and helping her to develop into another Dog for Good in the months ahead.