God sees, God cares, He is faithful, He is kind.
About a year ago, I received an instagram message from a breeder who had started following our journey with Kensi and had a desire to hear more of her story and see if she could help in any way. We scheduled a phone call for the following day and Savannah listened for an hour as I shared what our last 6 years of life with Kensi had looked like. We cried together as I expressed the hardships and the grief. I also shared our desire for a dog to come along side us to be a companion for Kensi. At that point we had been on a waitlist with another breeder for 3 years but the right fit had not come about. Savannah then expressed her passion to help others and her desire to show God’s love by donating dogs for service work. Tears streamed down my face as I heard her on the other line say, “Erika, my husband and I have prayed about this and we want to gift your family a dog to be used for service work.” We were so humbled by the generosity of a person we had never met. Humbled by God’s goodness and kindness. Humbled that He would choose to bless despite our doubts and questions.
Just a week prior when talking to my mom she said, “Erika, I am just going to pray more fervently that God places people in your life this week that encourage you and help meet the very real needs you have.” And once again my heart took a posture of worship.
Fast forward to a few months ago when Savannah texted and said they were getting ready to breed again and wanted to know if we were still interested. It was a quick yes as these past few months have brought hardships with Kensi greater than we could have imagined. It’s incredible to see God’s sovereignty over the timing. The agreed upon arrangements were that we would have spot 5 of 11 and Savannah would choose the puppy based on the temperament scores best suited for a service dog. Around the same time, we applied to a foundation that funds service dog training (which is very expensive) praying that Kensi would be chosen to receive the aid.
The week before “puppy picks” we were hesitant to get our hopes up knowing that we had to make it through 4 picks and a dog that scored in the service dog range still had to be available after that. Savannah called me a few days prior and through tears shared that she and her husband wanted to give us their spot of first pick as well as ability to pick whatever dog we wanted out of the ones that tested for service capabilities to ensure that we got the best fit for Kensi and our family. You can sense the theme by now- we were humbled and grateful.
So that brings us to the current.
Meet Shepherd Smoky Hoefler. Shepherd is defined as a: herder, caretaker, protector, guard, leader. All words that describe what Shepherd will be to Kensi.
Psalm 23 has also been a sweet psalm during these last 3 months. The phrase “I shall not want” has played over and over.
My shepherd repeatedly supplies all my needs. And I daily have to make the decision to not desire more than what my Shepherd gives. The shepherd knows when the sheep needs green pastures, and knows when the sheep needs the still waters. The images are rich with the sense of comfort, care, and rest. He is our ultimate Shepherd and has given us this dog to be a tangible shepherd for Kensi.
We received news last week that Kensi was chosen to receive service dog funding. What another huge answer to prayer. They have asked that we raise a very small portion of the funds which is why we have set up this GoFundMe. So many of you have prayed with us on this journey and have expressed desire to be part so we are giving you that opportunity. There is no obligation to give. Rejoicing with us in God’s provision, faithfulness, and kindness is gift enough!