I truly believe God puts special animals in our lives to minister to us as only they can.  I call them “angel dogs.” 
            I have dealt with depression since I was 18, seen innumerable psychiatrists and psychologists, and tried practically every antidepressant, whether alone or in conjunction with others, that exists.  I have numerous drug allergies and the few medications that I wasn’t allergic to would work for only four to eight weeks as I proved to be “medication resistant.”  For a couple of years I was in an endless cycle of enduring the side effects of starting a new medication, then having to stop it and endure withdrawal symptoms.  This was a pretty trying time physically not to mention the perpetual roller coaster my emotions traveled on daily.
            While I never lost my belief in God, I was not walking with Him.  I have struggled with a very resistant spirit for most of my lifetime – I got this, God.  I’ll do it my way. 
            After spending two months in an outpatient mental hospital in 2010, I was unable to return to work at a large insurance company in Jackson, Mississippi, and had to go on Social Security Disability. 
            I moved back to Birmingham, Alabama in 2012 to be closer to my adult children and grandchildren.  I struggled to find additional employment to no avail causing me to finally admit to God: No, I don’t have this.
            For a couple of very difficult months, I spent time in fervent prayer with God asking Him to help me make it through each day emotionally. 
            I got a new pet sitting client and she invited me to attend a service at the Riverchase Campus of Church of the Highlands  
Reluctantly, I accepted.  
            As we stood together singing the worship music at the beginning of the service, God’s presence filled me to the point I could hardly wait for the service to end so I could recommit myself to Him.  That was a little over three years ago. 
            I went through the Growth Track to become a member of the church. https://www.churchofthehighlands.com/connect/growth-track   I had already been told years ago by a pastor at a previous church that my gift was intercession.  I completed training and began serving on the prayer team.  I was still struggling with medication issues and at times could only sit there in silent agreement with others as they prayed while tears rolled down my cheeks.
            During that time, I had rescued a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix from Scott Kirkland's BAARC's shelter which closed two weeks later due to the owner not having a valid license and a number of other infractions.  Living in an apartment necessitated frequent trips to the local dog park.  I met another Ridgeback owner and I could feel an immediate agreement with her in spirit.  She attended the same church and had been an intercessor for years.  She became my Eli (trusted friend and spiritual adviser).
            As we grew closer, I shared with her about my struggle with depression.  She gave me a word that “God is going to be your medicine.” 

           “Yay," I replied!  "Does that mean I need to stop taking my antidepressants now?” 
           No, she explained, it has not happened yet. 
          I began going to a women’s prayer group in the summer of 2015 that was led by a Godly woman who would share her insights from the Holy Spirit.  She would then pray for us.  She recognized I was struggling and gave me a word, “Stay in the word.  God is going to do a work in you.”  I gratefully received it as tears continued to stream down my face wetting my shirt.
          I continued praying and reading God’s word.  I took the Freedom (previously LIFE) class offered by my church.   https://freedom.churchofthehighlands.com   God did a lot of work in me during that class.  I gave forgiveness.  I also received forgiveness from a relative after 13 years of strife between us. 
         I attended the Freedom Conference https://freedom.churchofthehighlands.com/conference  and after each message everyone would go down for individual prayer.  During the Saturday afternoon session as I went down for prayer, I received the following words from God:  “You have been healed from depression.  Don’t change. God loves you just as you are.  Trust in Him.”
         Yes! Now, He is my medicine.  I put on my armor daily and fight my resistant spirit trying to bring it into alignment with God’s will for my life.  I don’t have this!  I don’t trust in my own ability, I am but a vapor.; but through God, I am a conqueror!
          During the time I was taking my Freedom class, my psychiatrist gave me a prescription for an emotional support dog.  I had tried numerous dogs and cats as pets in my apartment since moving back in 2012, but none had been the right fit.  I had always improved their health and found them good homes, but was still looking for my angel dog.
          I mentioned to my best friend I was once again looking for a dog.  Her sister-in-law rescues and sent me pictures of several dogs she thought would be a good fit for me.  I chose a brown five-month-old puppy she had rescued from being chained to a tree along with another chained puppy one month older, both living in a two-foot square area being fed only when the owner happened to remember them.
          Latte came to me a bit undernourished and vey submissive.  She is a dog of unknown origin with ears like a terrier – a pit bull terrier.  Her appearance actually reminded me of a former pet sitting client’s dog that had recently lost her battle to cancer.  A sweet German Shepherd/Sharpei mix whose name had been Annie.
          Latte was renamed in honor of Annie.  After reading a book on obedience training, I began working with Annie daily.  If she was going to be my emotional support dog, she was going to need to be obedient.  Fortunately, Annie had been fostered and came to be crate trained and housebroken.  Plus, she was very food motivated.

          I felt led to rehome Annie in April of 2016. God was preparing me for the recuperative time I needed after surgery and I couldn't have taken care of Annie during that time as she pulled so hard on the leash which would have caused me great pain.

         I attended the Freedom Conference in May 2016 and served as an intercessor. After a worship team meeting and before the conference even started, God revealed I needed healing from emotional and verbal abuse I had received during the previous five months from my exhusband. I immediately went to my team captain who prayed a lovely prayer for me and I surrendered that to God while forgiving my ex-husband. 
          These devotionals are from my trips to Loch Haven Dog Park in Hoover, Alabama.

Star Lake, Loch Haven Dog Park, Hoover Alabama, Annie pit bull mix
three-legged dog, sharpei, German Shepherd dog mix, Annie
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