The responsibility for the animals weighed heavily on me. But the”still, small voice” spoke up again, telling me that God values and cares for all of His creation equally. The message came to me in the form of a line from Science and Health: “All of God’s creatures, moving in the harmony of Science, are harmless, useful, indestructible” (p. 514). This much-loved statement showed me that everything God made lives together peacefully, without interruption or interference. I felt we could trust that God would provide a solution that would include our animals in His blessing for us.
HERE IS YOUR HOME
From the August 4, 2008 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel
I’m involved in a lot of animal care/rescue stuff; mostly volunteering at shelters. Also, I have 3 dogs; 2 are rescues who were passed around more than a few times before they ended up with me. The other one I adopted out of a private home. Although they’re all typically loving, loyal, affectionate… you can see the extra appreciation in rescue dogs. The one I adopted from the private home is way more spoiled & expectant of things to be just the way he wants it; the rescues – they’ll take what they can get & are SO appreciative. I can see it in their behavior.
Rob Garofalo began a project called “When Dogs Heal,” with the help of a dog photographer that tells the stories of HIV-positive people and their dogs in an exhibit launching in Chicago on World AIDS Day. (Nov. 30)
Published on Nov 29, 2015
CHICAGO (AP) — Rob Garofalo was devastated. He’d built his medical and research career on helping young AIDS patients. Then he learned that he, too, was HIV-positive. The news came after he’d already survived kidney cancer and a breakup with his longtime partner.
Try as he might, the doctor could not heal himself, at least not emotionally.
“I couldn’t afford myself the same compassion that I’d spent a career teaching other people to have,” says Garofalo, who heads the adolescent medicine division at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. At first, he told almost no one about his HIV status — not even his own elderly mother, who sensed that her son was struggling mightily during a Christmas visit in 2010.
“You can tell me that everything is OK, but it’s not,” she said, cupping her hands around her son’s face at the end of his trip to his native New Jersey.
Garofalo recalls crying on much of the flight home to Chicago in a catharsis that led him to an unexpected decision, one that helped him in ways no human could and ultimately led him to a new role in the HIV community.
He got a dog.
It was a little Yorkshire terrier he named Fred. And everything changed.
“But I’m not exaggerating when I say that he saved my life,” says Garofalo, who’d considered suicide after his HIV diagnosis.
His journey back to life started with simple things. He had to leave the apartment where he’d isolated himself to buy food for Fred. He had to talk to the many people who wanted to stop and pet the little dog. Garofalo also found comfort when he’d awaken with one of his frequent night terrors and have Fred to snuggle.
He began a project called “When Dogs Heal,” with the help of a dog photographer named Jesse Freidin and a Chicago-based writer named Zach Stafford. It tells the stories of HIV-positive people and their dogs in an exhibit launching in Chicago on Tuesday, Dec. 1, which is World AIDS Day, and also in New York City two days later.
“Rob is a hero,” says the Rev. Stan Sloan, CEO of Chicago House, an organization that provides homeless services to HIV-positive people and others. “And Fred has been a critical part of that.”
An HIV-positive teen in Los Angeles recently wrote Garofalo a letter to thank him and his Fred-inspired charity for providing money so he could buy a much-needed pair of shoes.
“The initiative you started because of a dream, a prayer and a dog has blessed me,” the teen wrote.
Even now, Garofalo gets emotional when he tells the story of coming downstairs to find his mother cradling the dog.
“My mom was telling him that he was a miracle,” Garofalo says, his eyes reddening, “because he had brought her son back.”
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