We spent last weekend in Cincinnati with our dogs and the national crisis response group, Extra Mile Ministries K9 Chaplains/Comfort Dogs, at the annual national conference of Parents of Murdered Children (POMC). I love the K9 Chaplain group and the work that we do! When I am with them, I feel at home, in tune with God's will, and able to do almost anything.
We spent most of our time in a common area of the conference just being available for the conference participants and staff. We listened, we talked, and we listened some more. We shared our dogs, their unique personalities, and their miraculous ability to help the healing process. We tried to understand things we will never understand, we tried to show the light of Christ in things that are so dark and evil that mere man cannot begin to comprehend. The people at the conference are family -- family brought together by tragedy, but family nonetheless. They opened their hearts and their arms to each other, to us, and to our dogs.
We met many, many people outside of the conference too. Staff and other guests at both the conference hotel and the hotel we stayed in, the people attending the WWII Air Force Reunion at the hotel where we stayed, people on the streets of Cincinnati, the young man we talked with at dinner one evening, the wait staff and the clerks in the stores and restaurants we "invaded" with 7 dogs and 8 people! We realized almost right away during the trip that we would go nowhere fast -- we were stopped all the time by people wanting to know what we were doing, why we were there, and if they could pet our dogs. We, of course, always obliged and we all benefitted from the interactions.
While I somewhat dread the next crisis or tragedy that will bring the group together again, I also look forward to seeing these wonderful people and dogs again. I also am very much looking forward to attending next year's POMC conference in Philadelphia. If you want to know more about either of these wonderful groups, please contact me and I will be happy to share with you. Blessings!