Guide Dog Tales Vol.16


By Carolyn Dale Newell

Are good people rare these days? In a time, where crime runs rampant and the news never fails to shock us, are there any kind people left? Yes! In my experience, they are the majority.

Sadly, the stories of good Samaritans fail to compare with the evil deeds of society, whether it is heard on TV or by gossip. I am guilty of this myself. The ridiculous and unkind stories want to slip into the forefront, leaving the good guys behind.

Iva and I have met many good folks. Encounters with the unkind are rare.

First, thanks to the multitude of parents who tell their children they cannot touch a service dog. I hear their detailed explanation as they pass by. Hats off to you!

Most people remark about Iva’s beauty. Some ask to pet her, and sometimes I oblige. Other times, I decline. Some inquire about her duties. I appreciate the opportunity to educate society.

Most people are helpful. We stay at a hotel full of angels when we visit Gatlinburg. Every time, I take Iva out, someone is there. It began to feel as if God had people readily available if I needed them, and sometimes I did.

Their housekeeping staff went above and beyond to aid us. They got the elevator for us and opened our room door. Not because I was struggling, but just because they were kind.

The Starbucks staff in Gatlinburg assisted Iva and I getting a table and finding a trashcan. I forgot to mention that on our last Gatlinburg trip, Iva and I learned the route to Starbucks all by ourselves. Wonderful freedom for me and hubby can stay in the room resting.

There are the rare occasions when we have met the unthinking, uneducated, and unhappy. Iva can cut through a crowd, except a crowd of people looking up in the air and not watching where they are going. Iva stopped, but they still did not see us (since we were not in the air), and they almost knocked me over. Perhaps the sky was falling?

Another time, a girl ran up and without asking, she began hugging Iva. When I explained how her actions were distracting (Not to mention against the law) she became argumentative.

The funniest story was when I shared a bench with Mrs. Miserable. She greeted me by saying she hoped Iva and I were gone before her husband returned because he was afraid of dogs. I told her that Iva was a highly trained guide dog.

“That’s what they all say.” She replied. She repeated the sentence each time I explained how Iva would not bite them.

Finally, I told her I would move to make her feel more comfortable. Within minutes, she gave up her seat and told me I could return. I thanked her and wished her a happy Easter, since it was the next day. I guess I was the one showing kindness that time.

Many kind unbelievers exist. God’s children should “out-kind” them all. As you go about your activities today, look for opportunities to extend the love and kindness of God.

Chasing Away Depression’s Darkness


By Carolyn Dale Newell

My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning-

Psalm 130:6a NKJV

Unable to sleep, I rose earlier than usual. The day was dawning. White petunias appeared to be illuminated, while everything else was covered in darkness.

Here in the mountains, a gorgeous sunrise is rare, but this one had potential. I watched in anticipation as I breathed in fresh air and floral scents. Birds sang and frogs accompanied them. I enjoyed the Creator’s handiwork while I prayed.

I reflected on Psalm 130. Many preachers believe David suffered with depression. You can feel the depths of his pain in Psalm 130:1-2: “Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.”

I can relate to his heartache. Then David penned this: “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word, I do hope” (Ps. 130:5).

I remember the waiting, yearning for relief from the depression I thought had been conquered. I dwelt in God’s Word. I held onto His promises.

I waited for the sun to make its grand entrance. As light chased away darkness, it revealed what was undetectable in the night. The sky became a glorious violet canopy. Patience rewarded me with a beautiful sunrise.

I never thought good could arise from my depression, but waiting has revealed God’s purposes. Just like the day invaded the night, God chased away the darkness of depression, uncovering the unperceivable. He loved me through it, and He wants me to tell this story.

Friend, you may be in darkness right now. Hold on! Morning is coming for you too. Hope in God and His promises because hope prevails.

Father, in the moments we cannot feel Your presence and joy has eluded us, comfort us like only You can. Amen.


Read Psalm 130.


Dr. Michelle Bengtson is a psychologist who has battled depression. She was compassionate enough to allow me to read her book prior to the release date. It describes her journey with depression and its spiritual effects. Her book helped me immensely, and I highly recommend it:

“Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression” by Dr. Michelle Bengtson.

Copyright 2016 Carolyn Dale Newell.