Posted by: arnoldoneal | December 17, 2011

Hiking and Ministry…..Oh my!

Hello again! I am so sorry that it has been so long since I posed.  I have let life get in the way of keeping you all up to date on Brody. Brody is great!  A couple of weeks ago Sue, a trainer from Southeastern stopped by to check on us, and she gave us the thumbs up. She said that Brody and I looked great together, and that we make a great team.  This was very encouraging news because there are times when I feel like  I am failing at my obedience training and that Brody is loosing his edge.  It is very important to do doggy push-ups every day, along with corrections and praise. These exercises keep Brody on his best behavior.

Since my last post we have had some fun and adventures. Brody has become a hiking dog. I have always enjoyed outdoor activities such as fishing, boating, camping.  Recently I  read a book by a guy who hiked the whole Appalachian Trail, all 2100 miles with his guide dog Orient. This story inspired my wife and I to do some hiking ourselves and so a couple of weeks ago we took Brody and hiked the first leg of the Palmetto Trail. This was a short seven mile leg that runs along the marshes of the Intercoastal waterway.  The trail  continues on to the northwest for about 90 miles to the midlands of South Carolina. Seven miles was a long way for novices like us, but Brody was in his element.  It was amazing how he seemed to naturaly know the way. Brody and I led, and Bobbi Jo and Taylor followed behind. I must admit that is was hard work.  Brody was very excited to be out in the woods, and he pulled hard.  There were times when I was not sure that I could keep up with him. Toward the end, I was so tired I thought I was going to fall down and just let him drag me through the woods.  It was a lot of fun, and Brody kept me out of trouble, he is a phenomenal guide.  I hope to get in better shape, and maybe we will continue hiking the Palmetto Trail, and someday, the Appalachian Trail.  Who knows, maybe I will write a book about hiking with a guide dog.

The other big adventure is my Pastoral Internship at Seacoast Church.  For along time I have felt a nudging towards ministry. I say nudging, because I am afraid to say calling, that sounds so formal, and what if I’m wrong. Anyway, I have a heart for ministering to people in crisis, and I am doing hospital visitation, and responding to prayer cards.  The internship has been a great experience, and it keeps Brody and I busy. Brody is a big hit  around the church, and gets lots of attention when we go to hospitals.  He’s a natural at ministry, and I’m learning a lot.

This Christmas my family is flying to Iowa to visit Bobbi Jo’s family.  This will be my first flight with Brody.   So…stay tuned and I will let you know how that goes.  I am sure Brody will do great, another learning opportunity for both of us.  

I probably will not get another post out before the holidays, so I will end with a sincere Merry Christmas and  Happy New Year! I hope each of you have a wonderful, peaceful Christmas season and a prosperous New Year!  Image Image Image Image



  1. Hiking the Palmetto Trail was a lot of fun and it was great hiking behind Arnold and Brody because we could really see how Brody worked. There were times that Arnold did not know what Brody had gone around or dodged. It was really amazing.

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