Meet Tolga, Our Newest Service Dog in Training!
by Faithful Friend
As the heavens hurled the stars out past the fading moonlit sky, sunlight broke and upon its golden streaming rays we lifted.
Our newest Irish Spaniel, flown by her friends on wings of aluminum-riveted grace on her journey to the open waiting arms of the United States Veteran she will forever and unconditionally love, adore and strengthen.
Today marks the beginning of our journal or ‘blog’ on FaithfulFriend.org
Look for updates on our service dogs, stories from our volunteers, stories from our Veterans, updates on our mission serving North Texas’ US Veterans and At-Risk Youth, testimonies and thoughts from our friends and donors, as well as prayers, meditations and lessons from Faithful Friend Ministry.
We are thankful you have found us and honored you have come to visit us online.
In our very first blog post, we’re happy to introduce you to Tolga, our newest Faithful Friend service dog. Tolga is an Allenby, which means she is half Irish Setter and half Springer Spaniel.
These dogs are the product of central Texas breeder Rachel Allenby, who is the niece of the famous WWI General Edmund Allenby who you may remember from Laurence of Arabia fame. We hope the Allenby breed will one day be recognized by the American Kennel Association.
One of our amazing Faithful Friend volunteers, Dan Noyes, piloted his 1958 Cherokee from Texas to Kansas and back, delivering Tolga to her foster family, the Kearby’s, in Atwood, Kansas. Craig, Julie and Misty Kearby and their family will continue Tolga’s Faithful Friend Service Dog training and care. After her training is complete, Tolga will join the life of a very fortunate US Veteran in Collin County, Texas in the fall or winter of 2020.
On Silvered Wings from Texas to Kansas, Delivering Our Newest Faithful Friend Service Dog in Training.
Our flight between Texas and Kansas was 5 1/2 hours each way with three fuel stops making for a 11-hour day. The tried and tested aircraft performed admirably and we soared like eagles as we slipped the surly bonds of earth.
Though I reach out on a daily basis to our Father on high, I myself am not especially fond of heights. As the Cherokee was warming up I thumped the fuel gauges, which made our tremendously experienced pilot laugh.
Dan assured me he keeps a log of wind, speed, fuel consumption rate, and other metrics and measurements in flight as a redundancy check. I asked how his last medical examination had gone, and about the plane’s ability to glide. Dan chuckled assuredly as he revved the engines to a deafening roar and turned our bird down the runway and into the wind.
During our flight, Dan and I spoke about how we both came to faith in Christ. We considered the countless unique paths all leading from all over the world, through centuries and decades, directly to the heart of our Savior. Lives and hearts awakened, transformed and returned to the light of our Creator and Master.
Along our flight, Dan and I talked about the concern so many of us share over America’s youth and the labyrinth of temptations and pressures of the modern day. Through our prayers and our mission we connect strongly with our faith and believe that, through the teachings and Gospel of Jesus Christ, mankind will find our way.
We fly over North Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas crossing very the heart of the United States Great Plains, with Jesus Christ the Son of God in our hearts and minds.
Our newest angel, Tolga, made not one peep during the flight; not even when we stopped in the middle of the remote Oklahoma plains for fuel. How trusting, loyal and completely ready to jump into any challenge and any mission. How inspiring is the work we do.
At Faithful Friend we’re consistently amazed and humbled by our volunteers, our donors, our service dogs, as well as the US veterans and at-risk youth we serve and their families.
We are honored to be a part of the courage, loyalty and grace arising from faith and into real action that makes a profound difference in today’s world. Christ’s unconditional love and grace blaze forward into our lives and those we serve in such remarkably touching ways, and we are so fortunate to so often have a front row seat, and right here in the main cabin!
We stopped for fuel at a solitary airfield at a remote outpost in the middle of the Oklahoma plains. There was a self-serve fuel tank and an air terminal that was open, offering hot showers and clean restrooms. Their airport logo tee-shirts were offered at 50% off from a locked counter with no one on premises to speak with at all. Alone, we considered our thoughts and our journey and stretched our legs. We refueled, piled back into the aircraft and climbed back up into the sapphire sky on our way and on our mission.
Faithful Friend Volunteers serving our country, our US Veterans and America’s At-Risk Youth.
We landed in Kansas and Tolga got out of the plane perfectly calm and resting in my arms, ever-trusting, faithful and ready for whatever experience was next. Tolga bonded immediately to Craig and Julie Kearby’s daughter, Misty. Once acquainted, Tolga went to sniffing and exploring her new surroundings.
An air ambulance descended and landed for a pick up while we were still refueling for our flight back to Texas. Tolga was a little concerned never having been near a running twin engine plane. But she quickly calmed down with our gentle assurance. Our prayers and the blessings of Christ went out to the passenger aboard the air ambulance, their family and loved ones.
Today, Tolga is with the Kearby family. Misty, Craig and Julie’s 17-year-old daughter is the only child still at home. Reverend Craig Kearby is the Pastor at Atwood Baptist Church at 301 Pearl St Atwood, Kansas 67730 and is a Rawlins County Deputy Sheriff.
Craig is also a US Veteran and served our country in the US Navy attached to the Marine Corps as a hospital corpsman. Partners in the Faithful Friend mission, Craig, Julie and Misty raised and trained another Faithful Friend service dog, a black Allenby named Alana.
Pastor Kearby’s experience with Faithful Friend began when he attended a Faithful Friend presentation Pepper and me at an east Texas Baptist church. Craig asked if he could apply for a veteran service dog. Pastor Kearby invited me to preach at his church which was a very special and memorable event.
When Pastor Kearby received his service dog, Chili, he included Chili in his ministry going into nursing homes, hospitals, youth summer camps, and comforting bereaved people and families who have lost loved ones.
Chili has been life-changing for Pastor Kearby and has been a community inspiration both in Alba, Texas where he served as pastor, and in now Atwood, Kansas.
Delivered into the capable hands of our Faithful Friend Volunteers, our mission continues.
It has been a pleasure sharing our story as Tolga begins her journey with the Kearby family in Kansas. Our gratitude to our exceptionally skilled and generous pilot, Dan Noyes, and all the Faithful Friend volunteers and donors is indeed endless.
Please be sure to check in with us from time to time for updates on our newest service dog Tolga, as well as many more upcoming stories of our other service dogs and other interesting topics.
Yours in Jesus Christ,
Faithful Friend Ministries
Serving US Veterans and America’s At-Risk Youth with Faithful Friend Service Dogs