Last Sunday at the Refuge’s Dinner Church gathering, we met three very special guests: Cubby the Comfort Dog from Redeemer Lutheran Church in Ft. Collins, Colo., and her human support staff, Bonnie and Mary. Cubbie is only a few years old but she and her team have responded with their ministry of comfort and presence to victims, family members and first responders in the wake of a number of recent tragedies, including the Las Vegas Strip shooting and the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting.
Our kids’ pastor, Stacy, arranged Cubby’s visit after learning about her online, and then had Refuge kids write letters to Cubby. My 15-year-old Maegan, wrote one of them:
“Not many things can make a person happy after tragedy strikes, or if they’re going through something really hard. They could have a long chat with someone who tells them that ‘You’re never alone, so many people love you.’ But sometimes it just doesn’t help. But, when you have a chance to spend time with a dog, and see his big loving eyes look up into yours, and feel his soft fur brush up against your hand, suddenly all your worries melt away. Dogs don’t judge you, they just give love, and get love back. I know since you’re a dog you can’t read, but I hope that someday you know, that you’re making a difference.”
Good stuff, huh? Stacy shared Maegan’s letter with Cubby’s team and they posted it on their Facebook page. I’m grateful for Maegan’s understanding of the way of things, and for the everyday “witness” of love, comfort and companionship embodied by our family’s chocolate Lab, Georgie, and before her, during Maegan’s early years, by Anna, our yellow Lab who died in 2010.
It’s true that dogs don’t read in the way that we humans read, but they actually are brilliant, intuitive and soulful readers of human body language, moods and voices. I can’t count the number of times that Georgie curls up as close as possible to my wife or one of my kids when they’ve been sick or sad or both. Georgie is pretty much a four-legged chaplain, so I can imagine how much of an impact Cubby has on the traumatized, wounded and grieving. Lord, bless the work of Cubby’s paws! Amen.