Guide Dog Tales Vol. 6


By Carolyn Dale Newell

A new year begins, full of adventures awaiting Iva and me. Christmas was so wonderful as Iva tore into her gifts. She continues to play with her toys. Iva brought joy to a difficult Christmas. It was the first Christmas without my brother-in-law.

We live in a small town of about six thousand people, and we drive one hour to the mall. When I attended guide dog school, I loved how Iva flowed through the crowded sidewalks, like a hot knife through butter. Christmas-time at the mall afforded us the same opportunity. Imagine a group of shoppers approaching us. They see us. I cannot see them. A woman with a guide dog ought to give them a clue that I am visually impaired, right? By the time I can see them, they are jumping out of Iva’s way as she splits the Red Sea. I love it! Please understand, it is not rude, on our part. Iva chooses the best opening, and when they don’t move, she makes the move for them.

During one mall trip, I shopped alone for the first time since losing most of my sight. It has been years. My husband left us at Yankee Candle. Iva and I quickly found some friendly sales clerks, happy to help me. When hubby returned, we were checking out.

The relationship between guide dog and handler is unique. There are some aspects of a husband/wife relationship and more aspects of parent/child. Sometimes I am the parent, but I think she fills that role somewhat when she guides me. It is indescribable, a very special bond no one can understand without the experience. What she does for me is incredible. Not just while she works, but she is a joy to play with too. The last time I went out without her, I missed her so much. There will be few exceptions, but moving forward, where I go, Iva goes. Her company is more preferable than that of most people.

Likewise, our relationship with God is also unexplainable to unbelievers. Iva is a precious gift from God. Everything she does is an extension of His love. Iva and my hubby are my closest friends, and of course, Jesus, a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Prov. 18:24). Yes, I am blessed! I am never alone now (Physically speaking) because I have Iva. She listens to me. She helps me, and she loves me unconditionally.

Isn’t that just like our sweet Jesus? Has He ever been too busy to listen? Has He ever failed to help? Isn’t His love unconditional? Yet, we spend little time talking to Him. We often do not seek His guidance until we have made a mess of our lives. The best new year’s resolution we can make is to be a better friend to Jesus. We would feel rejected if a friend ignored us the way we often ignore Jesus. Get into God’s Word. Meditate on it rather than rapidly reading through three chapters daily. Let each word soak in. Absorb it like a sponge. Guard your private time, for it is precious time with Jesus.

To have a friend, we must first be a friend. Yes, the old hymn is right, what a friend we have in Jesus! May your 2017 be filled with God’s blessings and a closer walk with Him.


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