Hello again everyone.
This afternoon author Phyllis Staton Campbell has an incredible story to share.
I must tell you it’s not at all what you think. Get ready to be amazed and to need a tissue.
Thanks Phyllis for this most wonderful article.
A Different Kind of Angel
Phyllis Staton Campbell
Taken from Our Special, November-December, 2019
They’ve been around for centuries in one way or another, those supernatural beings known as angels. They’re often bearers of good news such as the throng described as bringing the good tidings of the birth of Christ to the shepherds. They’re bad, such as Lucifer, the fallen angel, depicted by Milton, in his epic poem, “Paradise Lost”, considered by many as the greatest epic poem written in English. They’re seen in movies and on TV.
I have an interesting memory of angels. At the School for the Blind, where I went to school, we did a version of Hanzel and Gretel, complete with music. In the production, the angels were seen descending from heaven, singing sweetly. Well, singing. This was accomplished with a platform and a ladder. Easy? Yes, that is if the person in front of you moved at the rehearsal speed. The person in front of me, I think her name was Peggy, hesitated. I missed my step, and the Virginia School had its own fallen angel. Fortunately, I was near the bottom, and the teacher in charge assured me it was hardly noticeable. Maybe?
But as usual, I digress.
Angel sightings are especially prevalent around this time of year. They’re in department stores, in table decorations, sitting atop a Christmas tree. Voices, young and old sing about them. That they’re often offkey makes no difference, the sound is joyful, and the message encouraging. And let’s not forget the Christmas pageants, when that kid who stuck gum in your front door lock, suddenly, for one night, becomes an angel, wrapped in a sheet. It might have been lifted from the neighbor’s clothesline, but by gracious he’s an angel.
Recently, I was introduced to a group of very special angels. They aren’t the traditional white, although some are. They may be brown, black, gray, and even multi colored. They don’t need clothes, because they come with their own coat. Instead of wings that move around, they have tails. Have you guessed what they are yet? One final clue, they bark. They’re dogs, of course! They’re no ordinary dogs, however, they’re God’s Canine Angels.
The name of their home away from home, where they are trained, and like to hang out is, Positive Paws, God’s Canine Angels.
I don’t have to stress here the importance of a well-trained dogs. Many of us know the joy of mobility given to the blind by dogs trained at such special schools as The Seeing Eye, and Guiding Eyes for the Blind, but are unaware of the training done at Positive Paws, God’s Canine Angels, and other training facilities. To the best of my knowledge, none of the facilities train guide dogs, but they offer freedom and hope for those with other so-called disabilities.
In literature, angels are often miracle workers. After visiting the training school, and talking to its founders, I’m convinced that the age of miracles is alive and well. There’s nothing supernatural about these angels with four paws, just hard work and a lot of love.
What do they do? They do many things, but the one single thing their work has in common is freedom.
The facility is the dream of three women, Stacy Payne, SharonPenny and Katy Lopez. Stacy suffered a number of conditions, considered by many as disabilities, but instead of handicapping, they worked for good. She saw firsthand, the need for dogs to assist those with things that kept them from living the lives that God intended them to live. The diabetic, often kept from a normal life because of the danger of coma, the epileptic in danger of a fall brought by a seizure, the person with mobility problems that keep them from doing such simple things as picking up an object dropped on the floor. Then, there’s the person, who has lived through a traumatic situation, who feels totally alone, perhaps feeling that normal life is over, who finds emotional security, and a renewed sense of self, through the love and companionship of a dog.
Stacy, who has been training dogs for thirty years, began to make the dream a reality, the result being Positive Paws, God’s canine angels. At present the age range of trainees ranges from six to seventy. Unlike many facilities God’s Canine Angels follows dogs and people through the initial training, and in essence never leaves them. The training is measured in years in many cases, and requires patience on the part of all concerned, even the dogs.
What exactly do the dogs do? Take the case of an epileptic. Through careful, even painstaking work, the dog learns to detect the onset of a seizure, and is able to warn its person, so they can move to safety avoiding a fall. The same is true of a diabetic, whose sugar level may have suddenly changed. The hearing assistant, alerts to a ringing phone doorbell, or a smoke or fire alert.
In addition to the specialized training, dogs are given ordinary obedience training to become that much desired thing, a well trained pet.
Various breeds are used for the assist dogs. Like the dog guide schools, person and dog are carefully matched, thus increasing success.
It is hard to say how many lives have been changed through the ingenuity of these women, the support of the community and the gallant dogs, who, in a sense, give their lives that their people may find theirs. Join them, as they in their own special way bring freedom, peace and joy to the world.
Readers who wish to learn more about assist dogs may find more information at
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Phyllis Staton Campbell, who was born blind, writes about the world she knows best. She calls on her experience as teacher of the blind, peer counselor and youth transition coordinator. She says that she lives the lives of her characters: lives of sorrow and joy; triumph and failure; hope and despair. That she and her characters sometimes see the world in a different way, adds depth to the story. She sees color in the warmth of the sun on her face, the smell of rain, the call of a cardinal, and God, in a rainbow of love and grace.
Although she was born in Amherst County, Virginia, she has lived most of her life in Staunton, Virginia, where she serves as organist at historic Faith Lutheran church, not far from the home she shared with her husband, Chuck, who waits beyond that door called death.
She is a graduate of the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind (DPT for the Blind). Further education, Lynchburg College, Lynchburg, Virginia; Creative Writing, The Hadley Institute for the Blind; Creative Writing Creative Writing Institute; Novel Writing University of Wisconsin-Madison
Books by Phyllis Campbell.
New Release 2017
Where Sheep May Safely Graze
Other books by Phyllis Campbell…
COME HOME MY HEART, 1985.
REPRINTED IN 2001
FRIENDSHIPS IN THE DARK, 1996 Reprint 1997
The Evil Men Do 2006, true crime, written under contract for the family of the victim.
Who Will hear Them Cry, April, 2012
A Place To Belong August, 2012
Out of the Night February, 2014
If you would like to contact Phyllis email her at: Pcampbell16@verizon.net
To see more visit: http://www.amazon.com/author/psc-books-all
Find her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Phyllis-Staton-Campbll-361675114286715/