For a few very hard years this word was my mantra.
The word means
-undismayed; not discouraged; not forced to abandon purpose or effort
-undiminished in courage or valor; not giving way to fear
But the truth is, I was often dismayed by everything that had taken place, and I did battle discouragement. I battled fear and doubts. I hurt and was angry, and sometimes "undaunted" sounded more like a mockery than a mantra, and I was determined to be real about all of it in these posts, thus the name, Undaunted Reality. More than that, though, I was determined to live undaunted, not because I'm so great or strong, but because my God is, and no matter what this world looks like, He is the only reality that matters.
I pray I live the reality of Him beautifully undaunted.

Friday, February 3, 2017

What's the Story, Wishbo---I mean, Semper?

A few folks have asked me about an update on Semper. Well, she is now 20 pounds and is outgrowing her bed. She still loves her dinosaur (Dino) and her hedgehog (Hedgey), and as you can tell from the picture, she also loves my shoes. Actually, my shoes are the only thing she chews on in the house.

Her crate has been moved outside because while conventional wisdom says dogs don't like dirty houses and thus, they will keep crates clean, no one gave Semper the Book on Conventional Wisdom. If she has a choice of a place to go potty, she will go in her crate....even when her bed is in there or her favorite blanket. So, the crate had to go outside.

She is great at bringing the ball back and dropping it at my feet, and she is learning not to jump up without my holding my hand out to her or patting the surface I want her to jump to. She really is a quick learner and easy to train.

But I'm guessing that isn't really the update folks are asking about. :-)

As you know, I adopted Semper for the purpose of her being a therapy dog. As a pastor and thus, counselor (and just a friend most of the time), I wanted a dog that could offer the extra emotional comfort and support that a comfort/emotional support/therapy pet offers.

That leads to a few foundational issues:

I specifically wanted a Lab because I am familiar with them and know their temperaments.

I specifically did not want a Pit or Pit mix or Rottie or Boxer or Shepherd. NO BEASTY DOGS!!! They scare me...and other people. How can a dog that scares people comfort them?

Beyond my issues, though, are the issues of reaction to Pits.

People fear Pits.
Pits are banned from some places.
Pits are not easily insured (big deal for a therapy dog or organization that is going to let a comfort dog in).
Where I could take a Lab virtually anywhere, a Pit is a different story.

I did a lot of research on this, and Pits present some significant challenges I did not want to deal with, so when my vet was very sure Semper's head was a Pit head, I was really upset. I had bonded with this puppy, and now all my plans could be gone in one three-letter word.

I talked to the foster mom, explained the issues, and she offered to take Semper back. I would still lose the $200, but it would open my home to another dog, but instead, I told her I wanted to take two days and pray about it. I really needed to hear God because His word is the only one that mattered, so that is what I did.

While I prayed, the kids and I talked, and WonderGirl was adamant that Semper was God's choice.
"Mom, you put out a simple fleece. You were going to lie down on the floor like you used to do with Fred, and if Semper lay down with you like Fred did, you would know. Mom, she lay right beside you and put her head on your arm and got perfectly still, except for throwing her head back to look at you, EXACTLY like Fred used to do. Really. She is God's choice."

And WonderGirl was right. I had put out that fleece, and it came back sopping wet.

Then I started doing research. Pits are so common as therapy dogs, they have a name for them--TheraPits. There is a group in Austin that is the PitCrew. A therapist in Indiana has eight Pits that she uses in her counseling practice. There are so many groups I could tell you about, and I even found on the Therapy Dog International website pictures with theraPits, so there has to be a way to get her insured.

Then I read that warriors like soldiers, marines, law enforcement, and first responders don't respond to the "prissy" breeds well. They respond to the "beasts"--Shepherds, Boxers, Rotties, Pits, and y'all know I am all about our warriors, and I realized that God had not given me what I said I wanted. I said I wanted the safe road with a lovable Lab, but really what I wanted was a dog that brought out the best in me as a sheepdog who is fighting for people that our government tries to manage in order to do damage control but not heal, and those people deserve to heal. Those men and women who fight for us deserve to be fought for. They deserve someone who refuses to leave them to a broken spirit, and obviously that has been left to the hands of civilians because our government has washed its hands of that responsibility. As it turns out, in my life that dog is a Lab/Pit/Hound/WhoKnows mix, that looks totally fierce, and she the way she loves.

And really, that was it for me. When I knew God had picked this dog, I was settled, and then I became protective, not just of the dog, but of her purpose. She is necessary for someone, and I am willing to stand against anyone I have to stand against in order to make sure that "someone" gets what he or she needs from this dog.

Standing in faith for God-things...

Shalom and Puppy Love from Us...
Jerri and Semper

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