FAITH NEWS SERVICE – Coping with the sudden loss of a beloved pet can be traumatic for pet owners. The Ralph Site, a UK-based grief support site, suggests writing about “the special memories you shared and the big impact they made on your life, even if you only had a short time together.”
Christine Nicole Ferris took this to heart following the death of her beloved rough collie Lad. Out of her Lad stories has come Lessons from Lad: What My Dog Taught Me About Life, Love, Leadership, and Loss, a devotional (Redemption Press).
Ferris dreamed of owning a rough collie and naming him Lad since she was twelve. Over twenty-five years later, as a canine leadership trainer and founder of Trustee Training Services, she held her Lad for the first time.
When Lad was unexpectedly snatched away from her fourteen months later, Ferris felt overwhelming grief. She says, “Losing Lad wasn’t just the death of a dog, it was the death of a dream.” When she asked God why, two words came softly to her heart—Lad lessons.
Immediately she began writing down some of the life lessons Lad had taught her. In fifty-two lessons, Christine Ferris shares the lasting legacy Lad left in her heart. While she describes them as a “gift of loss,” the Lad lessons are joyful, heartfelt, and have much wisdom to impart. Lessons about patience, commitment, staying calm, meekness, love, expressing joy, and inevitable loss all come from the fourteen memorable months spent with Lad and will leave paw prints on your heart.
Dr. David B. Smith of Al Smith Ministries says, Lessons From Lad, “offers a unique window, gleaned through Lad’s daily journey, into the everyday triumphs, trials, teachings, and tragedies of life. Each lesson is practical and helpful as we navigate the terrain of life.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ten years of participation in the Elkhart County 4-H program cultivated Christine Nicole Ferris’s love for public speaking and canine training, two passions that have shaped her life and career as a canine leadership trainer. The founder of Trustee Training Services, she is a John Maxwell certified trainer, speaker, and coach. She uses her relationship with her golden retriever Trustee and her young collie Lad’s Legend to illustrate leadership principles. Christine and her husband David live in north-central Indiana and together teach leadership with a K9 component, investing in their community, public schools, and libraries as K9 therapy teams.
For interviews, contact Christine Ferris at LadLessons@gmail.com.
Suggested Interview Questions
- You say the loss of Lad was the “death of a dream.” Tell us how you came to love dogs—and in particular—rough collies.
- Your book is very much a tribute to the love shared between dog and owner, in the tradition of the classics by Albert Payson Terhune. Is Lessons from Lad more of a book for dog lovers or for those of us who have suffered loss and grief?
- What was special about Lad? What were some of his characteristics and quirks?
- Can you share your story of losing Lad after just fourteen months together?
- You say God whispered two words to you in your grief. How did writing down what you had learned from Lad help you in your grief?
- If you could pinpoint just one main lesson that Lad taught you, what would it be?
- You not only train dogs, but you’re also a leadership coach. How do the lessons you learned from Lad apply to leadership principles?
- Do you have some thoughts you can share on dealing with the pain of loss of a beloved pet? What has been especially helpful to you?
 The Ralph Site, “Coping with Sudden and Unexpected Pet Loss,” https://www.theralphsite.com.