Inspirational Journeys Presents: Joan Patterson Discusses her Faith in God and Her Service Dogs

What would you do if you crossed paths with a service dog handler? In today’s YouTube video and podcast episode, Joan Patterson and I discuss the difference between a service dog and a guide dog. We discuss her latest book and her writing. Sit back and enjoy our inspiring and informative conversation.

Career educator, author, and speaker Joan Patterson received a Bachelor of Science in education and business and an associate degree in Bible from Liberty University. More than three decades of multiple sclerosis (MS) have confined Joan to a wheelchair, from which she communicates passionately the life lessons God has taught her through service dog companions Faith and Giles. Joan has spoken to churches, women’s groups, children’s groups, civic groups, schools, nursing homes and professional groups.

Joan’s memoire is entitled: A Matter of Faith, Surviving Life’s Crises with Four Wheels, Four Paws, and a Loving God.



In this unique memoir, Joan Patterson chronicles her experiences as the human half of an extraordinary homosapien -canine partnership. Adventures ranging from quirky, hilarious, poignant, challenging, but never dull offer fresh perspective on how to survive life’s relentless crises and develop a closer relationship with God. Joan’s hope and prayer in introducing readers to her delightful, devoted canine partner is that each will walk away from these pages with renewed faith and a deeper understanding of a loving heavenly Father who is always there to help his children in time of need.


Purchase link:



This is a partial section of the experience Faith and I had when she was to take my leather change purse and give it to a cashier.

My heart raced as we approached the cashier. I held out my leather change purse, which was only large enough for a few folded bills and some coins. “Faith, take it.”

She gave a perfect impression of a statue. Not a muscle moved. Her mouth stayed closed as a clam, eyes glazed over.

My emotions ran the gamut from anger to pleading to rage to begging, all while trying to keep some outward appearance of calmness. No matter how I tried to reason with her, Faith was determined not to take my change purse.

I hugged Faith, crying softly into her fur and asking her to please take the change purse. I was so desperate I even tried reasoning with her. The rest of the class started rooting for us. “You can do it. You’re a great team. Don’t give up.”

It felt like years since we’d begun our change purse stand-off. I was getting fatigued from all the physical and emotional exertion. Trainer or not, I was about to give up when Faith opened her mouth, took my change purse, stood on her back legs, and gave it to the cashier. The lady took the change purse as if it was the most natural thing to do, processed the admission, and with a smile handed the purse back to Faith.

We retreated to stand beside a trainer along with the other teams who’d already completed their ordeal. As another team moved up to take their turn, I commented with frustration, “I don’t know why Faith was so stubborn. She has done so well in practice.”

“Actually, she wasn’t just being stubborn, Joan,” the trainer explained kindly. “When Faith was a puppy, she ate two leather leashes. I guess her puppy raiser got through to her that leather is not for eating. She learned her lesson well to the point she now resists putting anything leather in her mouth.”

I’d been feeling so angry and confused about why Faith wouldn’t listen to me and take my leather change purse. I now felt compassion. She’d simply been holding fast to the lesson learned long ago. I hugged her with new understanding and love.

It was a reminder that God doesn’t get upset with me when he teaches me something different even when I close my mind and keep my body rigid, refusing to listen to his soft urging. His patience never falters. If only I would remain as faithful to him!


Connect with Joan at the following links:

Joan Patterson – Author, Speaker, Warrior

Listen to Joan’s interview with Patti Shene on her radio show called Step Into the Light by clicking the following link and clicking the play button on the first episode:


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