Living for Justice

Pets are more than just companions. They can help you heal–and even renew your faith.

By Mary Deets, Monrovia, California

As appeared in

One morning, sitting in the living room, I put down my Bible and closed my eyes to pray. All the typical things to be thankful for floated through my mind. Then came something new. Thank you, God, for Justice, for the way he gives me confidence.

I opened my eyes. There he lay on the carpet, his nose resting on his fuzzy front paws. Above him, resting atop a bookshelf, sat a dusty black-and-white bicycle helmet. It was the one I’d worn in the accident. The helmet that probably saved my life.

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I couldn’t remember anymore why I’d decided to keep it. I looked back at Justice. Yes, I thought, I lost so much in the accident. But look at what I’ve gained. Look at who I’ve become.

As it turned out, Justice never became a guide dog. He didn’t make the cut during training, and as his puppy raiser I had first dibs on adoption. I took him in as a veteran to help me socialize all the other dogs I’ve since raised–11 more, including my current pup, Dakota.

Two of my dogs have become full-fledged guide dogs, three became search-and-rescue dogs and the others now do therapy work in hospitals and convalescent homes. Technically I raise these dogs to serve others. But I know who they also serve.

With their help I see something I once feared I’d lost forever–my self.