Friday, December 18, 2009


"You give, someone receives. Consider the magic in that transaction. Tangible, emotional, or spiritual, your gift goes beyond the moment!

~Jan Bethancourt~

I had a phone call late yesterday afternoon from a young woman that is a volunteer with our Penny's From Heaven Foundation therapy dog program. As a new volunteer she had selected one of the most difficult venues in which to volunteer - a children's advocacy center - where her French Bull dog, Petunia, offers a nonjudgmental ear to children speaking with law enforcement about being sexually abused or witnessing abuse.

Their first case was a three year old little boy who had had unspeakable things done to him. My friend was outraged, overwhelmed, and after the first visit wanted to quit. I counseled her and told her this was a voluntary position and that she could remove herself from it, and that she did not have to continue.

But this Texas gal dug her boots in and stuck to it. The child would have nothing to do or nothing to say to the counselor. To everyone's surprise, he would talk solely to Petunia. And it was what he ended up telling Petunia that got his parents imprisoned for 10 years.

It was miraculous. It was a gift that went far beyond the moment! It was the mere presence of "Toonie" that allowed this child to tell a little dog the horrors he had endured. Law enforcement asked the questions and then grace entered the picture. This little boy was about to be returned to his parents until he met a therapy dog that was on her first visit after being certified.

Now my friend will go back with Petunia and try to repair the intense damage to this little boy, who now lives safely with his grandma. Petunia was his salvation. My friend knew in her heart that this is what she had to do, regardless of how it was impacting her. She trusted her instincts and found the power to effect change in the world around her. She is a hero because of the choice she made to stick to it. It was far from easy for her, because sometimes the lump in your throat comes with tears attached. And for her and her little began at the end of her comfort zone.

God bless my precious volunteer and God bless Petunia for bringing a Merry Christmas to a very special little boy, whose Christmas gift this year will be a life free from fear.
As Dorothy Thompson said, "Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live." This little boy can now begin to live.

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