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Hit by a drunk driver-she died twice-then.....

Updated: Apr 16

LAURA STEWART

On the morning of June 26, 2007 Laura’s life was changed forever.  She was hit by a drunk driver and initially declared dead.  (See Laura’s testimony for greater detail)


 I met Laura, her husband Carl and their yellow lab Chloe at Panera Bread for their initial interview.  From the very beginning after hearing Laura’s story about her traumatic auto accident, I knew that she could be a wonderful volunteer that could offer her testimony as an example of God’s love hope and peace in the midst of a difficult situation.  Carl was very quiet but extremely supportive.  Chloe was a very gentle and calm lab that got along very well with Gracie.  Laura was searching for a purpose after her traumatic accident to serve God and she felt CFC was perfect for her. 

 

We met when I was coming out of Walgreens with Gracie in June, 2009 and Laura stopped me to ask about the ministry.  We then set up a time for the interview at Panera Bread.  After she and Chloe became volunteers, we started the initial training at Manor Care Assisted Living Care Facility.  We also trained at St James Methodist Church in the special needs ministry.  Laura was a sponge and wanted to do everything with me.  On Wednesday May 16, 2012 Laura, Carl and Chloe accompanied Susan, Gracie and me to The Pyramid.  It was their first visit and they were wonderful with the students and Chloe was a big hit.  From that day on, they attended Dog Church every Wednesday and unofficially adopted Willie an older African American man who had no family.  He remains part of their family today. 

 

Additionally, Laura wanted to become a volunteer at the VA Hospital and she completed the hospital orientation and started volunteering in the animal assisted therapy program. 

JOURNAL ENTRY MAY 25, 2012:  Today at the VA we met Laura and Chloe for their initial training.  She is a warm, caring, spirit and Chloe is a beautiful yellow lab, very sweet.  Lord, You have a reason for keeping Laura alive after her terrible accident.  How wonderful to hear how she and the young man that hit her have come to find love and forgiveness in the midst of this tragedy.  Thank you Lord and continue to bless them.  Lord, I am so weary. Today my physical and emotional strength is weak. Refresh me, Lord with new strength so that I can listen to, be with, and give your words of encouragement, hope, love, and kindness to everyone I meet. Amen

 

Laura prior to her accident was a very successful business woman and was a leader in the community.  After the accident she changed due to her traumatic brain injury and other severe medical issues.  She was in constant pain and underwent several surgeries. 

 

In 2012 after seeing how perfect Gracie was and knowing Chloe’s advanced age, she asked about getting a dog similar to Gracie.  We gave her our breeder’s name to contact her in Weeki Wachi.  I believe they did not have any puppies at that time but a few days later the breeder called and said that a client had returned a 4 year old English white lab that was Gracie’s sister.  She had had four litters of puppies and the owner no longer wanted her.  Laura was out of town visiting her parents when Denise called and made the dog available to them.  Carl picked up the dog and they named her Leah.  A beautiful gentle dog just like Gracie.  Leah became a ministry therapy dog and had hundreds of visits before she passed in Feb, 2022.  She and Chloe made visits together for several years and made a great team. Chloe died in 2015.

 

They got Louie another English white lab from Denise in April, 2016 as an energetic puppy.  They now have Ella another English white lab who is now 6 months old.  They both are ministry therapy dogs.   

 

Starting each day with God's gift!

It's quiet, it's early, my coffee is hot. The sky is still black. The world is still asleep, including Gracie and my wife. The day is coming!

In a few moments the day will arrive, it will roar down the track with the rising of the sun. The stillness of the dawn will be exchanged for the noise of the day. The calm of solitude will be replaced by the pounding pace of the human race. The refuge of the early morning will be replaced by decisions to be made and deadlines to be met.

For the next 12 hours I will be exposed to the day's demands. It is now that I must make a choice. Because of Calvary, the cross, I'm free to choose. So I choose…. I choose love! No occasion justifies hatred, no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose love. Today I will love God and what God loves.

 

 

 

 

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Becoming a volunteer with C4C in 2009 after meeting Larry & Gracie in only what I can say Was arranged by God… With Chloe our first C4C dog volunteer, Sweet Leah (Gracie’s sister yet another gesture by God), Louie Armstrong (current C4C volunteer & my PTSD Service Dog) and now our 2 yr old 90 lb lab. Leah, Louie & Ella are all English White Labs, just like Gracie.

God has truly blessed our family and meeting Larry was Exactly What God had in mind, “This is not your time yet. I have more for you to do”

Nearly 15 yrs later as volunteers, trainer, AKC Evaluator and now Chaplain I will tell anyone and everyone who will listen, Share…


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Our pups, Chloe, Leah (Gracie’s sister), Louie & now Ella have guided us thru years of many surgeries, therapies and changes in our lives. I KNOW sharing my story and along with all of our labs with others is EXACTLY what God meant when He told me “This is not your time. I have more for you to do”

Thank you Larry & Susan for sharing this amazing and beautiful ministry with us.

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