I've spent the past three weekends surrounded by hundreds of people that don't know anything about Faith and Ruby. This has provided me with MANY opportunities to educate about service dogs and diabetes, but most importantly it's allowed me to share all that God has done in our lives in the past year or so.
The first weekend we were at a leadership training conference with thousands of children and their families. As always, we stood out like a sore thumb with Ruby by our side. I spent each day explaining to hundreds of people just why Ruby was with us, what she is trained to do, how she came to live with us, why she is important to Faith's care with Type 1 diabetes, and (especially) why they couldn't pet her. In my opinion, this is the most trying aspect of having a service dog.
So many people get offended when we won't just let them pet Ruby, and act like we're being mean or mistreating Ruby in some way by not letting her interact with them. If they only knew how much we love this amazing dog - and how much she loves her job! You can tell really quickly whether or not people are open to an explanation about Ruby or if we need to just graciously walk away. It can really begin to wear on you!
By the end of the second day of this conference I was just so drained. Faith had just had a very symptomatic low that resulted in a crowd of people gathered around staring as I shoved cake icing into my hysterically screaming baby girl. I just wanted to go home. I was trying to get on an elevator when I noticed a lady walking through the crowd. I could tell she was headed right for me. I tried to avoid eye contact and thought, 'Ugh, please just let me get on this elevator'. Next thing I knew she was standing right beside me. I looked up and smiled at her, and she said:
"um, Hi, I just wanted to tell you that you must be the most patient person on the planet! I have been watching you all weekend and I bet I have seen you explain about your dog to a hundred people. I've been so impressed watching you speak to every person as if it's the first person you've talked to. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that."Wow. Thank you Jesus for that encouragement! I SO needed to hear that at that moment.
If you ever feel the urge to say something nice to someone - PLEASE do! The Holy Spirit is trying to use you to lift someone up and you may never know just how much they needed to hear it!
As I drove home that day thinking back over our weekend I couldn't contain the tears. I had been so exhausted from the weekend, but as I thought back over all my interactions I couldn't help but feel overwhelmed by how God is using Faith and Ruby. All weekend people were marveling at God's creation wondering how a dog could have the ability to detect blood sugar levels...and praising God for his miraculous provision in bringing Faith and Ruby together.
Wow. I drove the rest of the way home with my heart "full up."