– by Christina M. Stimson, M.D.
Our dogs are God’s angels on earth demonstrating unconditional love, fierce loyalty, companionship and devotion. They are our best friends. They are there for us when no one else is and many of us would not have survived life’s challenges without our dogs. They help broken hearts heal by their undying devotion, love and companionship. What a beautiful world it would be if people had hearts like dogs! The world would certainly be a better place. It has been said that the world’s best antidepressant comes with 4 legs, a wagging tail and unconditional love. Truly, dogs are miracles with paws!
Our dogs help us stay active and boost our mental and physical health. They help us reduce stress in our lives. Dog companionship has also been associated with decreased depression, fatigue, loneliness and social isolation. Pets also contribute to a sense of purpose that comes from caring for another. And pet owners benefit from social connections with fellow pet owners. In addition, dogs have such a calming influence. Beyond the emotional level, being with our pets can lead to a healthy surge of the hormone oxytocin and oxygen levels in the blood while decreasing cortisol—the stress hormone—and lowering blood pressure.
Our dogs are such arms of healing in our lives. God used my dog Honey Bear as an arm of healing in my life many times over. The past six years have been exceedingly stressful: my husband’s job sent us overseas, which turned out to be a very traumatic and negative experience in many ways, including how one of my beautiful Golden Retrievers, Chip, died overseas. Then I took care of my mother who had Alzheimer’s for three years before she died. (Image via Dr. Christina)
After this, I was told Honey Bear had a serious illness, but the Vet was not able to pinpoint what it was for two months. I was left hanging, not knowing what she had. She finally went through abdominal surgery and thankfully no cancer was found. The Lord healed Honey Bear, but then I got sick from all of the stress.
I tell you truthfully, the only thing that kept me going was knowing that if God could heal Honey Bear, then He could heal me as well.
And as it turned out, this is what happened. After being very sick with severe adrenal fatigue for many months, my health gradually started to improve.
I would not have survived if it was not for my Honey Bear. She has given me hope to hold on in many dark times.
Our lives are so enriched by our dogs who are teaching us how to live each day. They are Heaven sent for sure.
Both of my Golden Retrievers had served for years as Therapy Dogs in hospitals. But the truth is THEY are my own therapy dogs!
I would like to tell you one last story…a powerful one of how healing and transformative our dogs can be.
One day I had taken Honey Bear out to a very large ball field. I had her off leash and managed to walk way ahead of her. She was used to staying by my side. I turned around and saw her very far off in the distance and called for her. She has never not run immediately to me. This time, however, Honey Bear looked at me like she wanted to come to me, but paused and turned and went in the exact opposite direction toward a person who was walking on the field. I could not understand why Honey Bear did this. As it turns out, Honey Bear accompanied the woman who came directly to me. When the woman saw me, she burst into tears telling me she needed comfort and prayer because she thought her mother who was in the hospital was dying. I was able to help that woman, but this would not have come about unless Honey Bear, who had been led by God, brought this woman directly to me. Dogs just have this sense about them that is inexplicable, nothing short of miraculous and touches our lives forever.
Quite simply, our dogs are our true best friends and in many cases our only true friends. Give them all the love in the world because they deserve this and so much more!
This post was written by author and speaker Christina M. Stimson, M.D.
Dr. Christina is the author of Lessons from the Fiery Furnace.