I’ve always had a dog.
I grew up on a farm where dogs were part of our lives. Denver and Sputnik and Reno and Hombre and Limerick all had a special place in my young life. Since my husband and I have been married, we've had Shamrock and PD and Partner and Molly. Molly passed about 3 years ago at the age of nearly 17. She was a crazy little thing when we adopted her, but grew to be the most loving little Cairn Terrier. It was hard to see her go.
Then my husband and I talked. Maybe it wasn’t time for a dog. I travel a lot and he has a busy full-time work life, too. Perhaps now was a time to be real empty nesters and even take a “pet break.”
Last October he said, “I think it’s time to get a dog again. Let’s get one for your birthday!” But, he had conditions. “It has to be a dog that can help with the kids at the Ranch. Not a dog just for us."
Well, first of all, it is pretty easy to see from that why our marriage has lasted over 41 years. He is a really good person. Secondly, what a great idea! Of course, our kids work with horses, and some of our therapists use therapy dogs, but how about a safe, certified, trained dog to just be a dog?
On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving of 2021, Sydney, an 8-week-old Aussiedoodle puppy, multi-colored and adorable, became part of our lives. She has lots of energy and is full of love. We sent her to a board and train program where they readied her for certification, and then took her back for follow-up sessions. Now 8 months old, Sydney comes to work with me where she spends her days loving the children (and the staff) of Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch.
On Monday of this week, I was in the nutrition center with Sydney when one of our girls came up. She had been one of the first girls Sydney had interacted with and had seen Sydney learn, while she herself was healing. They have a special friendship.
She looked right at Sydney and said, “Sydney, I am getting baptized on Wednesday and I want you to come.” Then she looked at me, “And you too, Joy.”
“We’ll both be there,” I answered.
Sydney and I were scheduled to be on another one of our campuses until Thursday, but on Wednesday morning we loaded up and drove the 5 hours back to ensure we made it in time for the event. After double-checking with the Pastor for an OK, we sat in the back of the chapel. When the young lady came in and saw us, she came rushing over to Sydney.
“I am so glad you made it. You were the first friend I made here.” Then she looked at me, “Thank you, Joy.”
Yup, those are tears in my eyes… again.
The Baptism was beautiful and special and in spite of my worst fears, Sydney was well behaved. At the end, she and the newly baptized young girl had their picture taken together.
All God’s children. All God’s creatures.
What a great place to work.
In His love,
Joy Ryan, President/CEO
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch
Your Thrivent Choice Dollars® can be used to support multiple organizations each year. At the Ranch, we use all Thrivent Choice® funds for our Spiritual Life Program. Your support is vital in giving our precious children the foundation of faith they need to thrive. To direct your Choice Dollars® to the Ranch, simply go to Thrivent.com/thriventchoice, login, and choose Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. To direct Choice Dollars® over the phone, call 1-800-847-4863 and say "Thrivent Choice," after the prompt. Direct your Choice Dollars® today! Thank you for your continued support of our ministry!
LEARN MORE ABOUT DAKOTA BOYS AND GIRLS RANCH
Sign up today to receive ministry updates and stories about our precious kids directly to your inbox!