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As Wednesday evening approached, the tension grew around here. Molson and Brenda were going for their final stage of testing in order for him to be a therapy dog with the St. John's Ambulance Brigade. Brenda had already gone through rigorous screening, had provided reference letters and been interviewed--but the hour long test on Wednesday had her nerves in shreds--so much was riding on it. She had her heart set on this and she knew the dog would be put through very tough testing.

Molson, as usual, was coooool as a cucumber!

There were four dogs and their owners being tested that night. The owners were not allowed to speak to their dogs during the test.

The dogs and owners had to stand in a circle and each set of dog and owner was given a number to stand on. Whichever owner the evaluator pointed at, had to give their dog the full 6 feet of lead. Then the evaluator watched how they handled meeting the other dogs. No verbal command could be given and no reassurance if they were getting anxious.

Next, the dog started in a sitting position and the owner was given random commands by the evaluator to--walk straight; turn, pivot, turn right etc. The dog had to follow the owner without any instruction--would he stop when she stopped and go when she went--without any command?

The hardest test was when four people dressed in odd clothing--not normal attire, appeared. Brenda had to walk inside the circle of people, with Molson closest to them. After he passed by them once, he was touched by them without warning. Then Brenda had to leave the circle and turn her back on them. When she turned around, there was a person acting very strangely, as someone with demetia might. The evaluator wanted to see if he would approach with apprehension or allow the strange person to pet him. Then all four people converged on him and began to touch him all over. Still Molson was calm.

They passed--and the evaluator said that Molson did really well! Now this little team of two is ready for the adventures God has in store for them.

I was reading earlier this week, in Amy Carmichael's, Edges of His Ways, some thoughts about pottery that seem related.

On Monday I read about "trial pieces"--those pieces of pottery that served as an example or proof of the skill of the potter. "A piece of clay, or the like, by which the progress of the firing process might be judged, a trial piece." So often I'm not much of a "trial piece," and I fail the tests God sends my way.

On Tuesday the thought was on clay, "marred in the hand of the potter," but not thrown away. Always the potter made it into something new. There was hope in the thought that, "even if we have failed in some supreme test, our God has not done with us."

To pass the test, between the dog and his owner--a bond of trust was needed--even without spoken word. In strange and unexpected circumstances, still calm trust had to prevail. Between God and I should there be any less?

Mark 11:22-24 (New International Version)
22"Have faith in God," Jesus answered. 23"I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. 24Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.


Congratulations Molson! I have seen therapy dogs at work and am amazed at how animals can go places in people's hearts that are denied the rest of us. He's a beautiful dog, I wish him (and Brenda) well. dave

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