Comfort Dog

Top Dog: Lynn Buhrke

Have you seen our updateed Comfort Dog display?  Did you know that we're going to send Lynn Buhrke to Top Dog training in September?  Did you happen to meet Chewie Comfort Dog at church recently?  We can't wait to press the un-paws button on this exciting ministry project!  Keep praying form everything to fall in place!  Also, pray for the Comfort Dog teams deployed to bring peace to El Paso & Dayton.  There is hope in Jesus.



When I retire, I am going to .......?  This question loomed large before me when I considered leaving my teaching career in Lutheran education after 30+ years!  I really enjoyed teaching in the elementary school and sharing the love of Jesus each day with my students.  However, another ministry seemed to be calling my name, and that was the Lutheran Church Charities Comfort Dog Ministry.  My love for animals of all kinds, but especially dogs, was well known among my students, friends, and family.  That is when I realized I could combine my passion for my four-legged friends with my zeal to share the love of the Lord!  More importantly it would allow me to leave the safe confines of my classroom and parish and go out into the community armed with the Gospel and a DOG!?  So the journey began.  I visited schools, churches, conferences, and local community events with my first dog, Hope, sharing God’s word in chapel services, educator events, and community activities.  Since the ministry was in its infancy, the learning curve was great, but the Lord guided me as we shared the ministry with others and saw how the dogs acted as a bridge to open conversation and communication with those around us.

However, the Lord was just beginning to open another door as we were deployed to Joplin, MO, after a terrible tornado decimated their city.  Here, first hand, I learned how important this ministry could be to those traumatized by horrific events.  My dog, Hope, and I listened and listened and prayed and prayed with adults and children who experienced a terrifying trauma.  We literally brought Hope to Joplin!  That was the beginning of another aspect of the journey for me and the comfort dogs. Hope went to another home, and Chewie became my next comfort dog.  We continued to do ministry in Illinois, but our deployments increased as news spread about the impact of this ministry.  From Newtown, CT, to Napa, CA, we traveled with our ministry partners and shared the love and compassion of the Lord.  In times of crisis or times of celebration, we became a positive ministry of presence.  The Lord indeed guided our every footstep!!

I continued to work and learn as I engaged in Bible study, training activities, and building relationships with other comfort dog trainers, handlers, and helpers.  It has totally enriched my life, and I hope to continue the journey as God opens new doors for this ministry here in Missouri.  Little did I know what was waiting for me in my retirement years!  My favorite scripture verse comes to mind, Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope.”  As a handler the past six years, I have gained so much and have been abundantly blessed by all the people with whom I have had the pleasure to meet.  As Beautiful Savior begins the process of obtaining their own comfort dog, I can fully endorse this ministry and its benefits.

                    --Lynn Buhrke

                    Handler for Chewie Comfort Dog

                    & New Member of BSLC

Miracles happen all around us, and we are so often unaware of them! Since working with the comfort dogs these past four years, I do not know if I have become more acutely aware of them or if miracles just happen around them more often. But, either alternative is fine with me.

In August, all the area comfort dogs were meeting in St. Louis to work on our handling skills.  As we started that day, I wondered where my Joplin friends were. I had been told both Louie Comfort Dog and Jackson Comfort Dog would be there with their handlers. When they didn’t show, I texted one of their team members.  I assumed they would say something like “we got a late start” or something similar. Only when he called me, that is not the way the conversation went. Jason said, “I have terrible news,” and he went on to tell me. Their team had no sooner pulled out of their church parking lot for the drive to St. Louis when a man opened fire on their church van and another vehicle.  At that time two of the team members were in surgery. I told Jason to keep me updated, and I immediately went to prayer with the other prayer warriors (dog handlers) present at the training. That training seemed to go on forever as I awaited news on my Joplin friends.  Before we left the training, we had plans in place to take Jessy Comfort Dog to Joplin to comfort our friends.

We went to Joplin that evening so we could be there at their church services the next day, as both Louie and Jackson had wounds from the incident and were out of service. Six other Comfort Dogs from around the US joined us so we could all be there for their team, Church, and community. Over the next four days Jessy Comfort Dog and I visited the injured team members and the first responders at the local fire station, and just simply were present if we were needed.  In that time I heard some of the team members talk about their experience. But from the very beginning, I was convinced there was a miracle happening. Ken, the driver of the van, statistically should not have survived his injuries long enough to make it to the ER. His wife was told in the ER he had a 1% chance of survival. My thoughts were--he has been shot in both lungs and his pulmonary vein was nicked--he cannot survive that.  Not only did Ken survive his injuries, he walked out of the hospital six days later.

Of those in the van that morning (5 humans and 2 dogs), five of them were physically injured. At this time all humans and both Comfort Dogs are on the mend. The other vehicle had two humans in it; only one had had minor injuries and was released from the hospital within days. On the day of the shooting, I choose to believe that angels were present in Joplin, MO, just waiting to do the Father’s work.

As I see it there were many miracles that day. No one died in relation to this hurting man firing (reportedly) 60+ potentially lethal bullets. His father had thankfully already called the police, so there was help on scene within one minute of the incident. He very well may have saved Ken’s life by doing so.  The man who did this willingly gave himself up afterwards. The fact that he did that made resources available to take care of the injured. Then there was the miracle of forgiveness happening before my very eyes. I heard it in the words of those affected, but I also saw it in their actions. No one was targeted that day; they were just in the wrong place when a man with serious issues decided to take revenge on the world.

Miracles…………..they happen all around us.  Comfort, Comfort , my people, says your God. Isaiah 40:1

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  June 2021  
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