Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

Committee Chair

Danny West

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Robert Canoy


The ministry project is addressing the spiritual resiliency of service members in an intentional and innovative approach through the presence of an assistance dog in an active military Chaplain Corps setting; specifically, through South Carolina Air National Guard. The issue is to reach service members on a level beyond the efforts of human contact. The research shows support in positive effects or no effects of engagement with an assistance dog. The participants are service members engaging with and without Avalon, a current Assistance Dog for Ministry, with a Chaplain providing warrior care. The research data collection is a survey presented to each service member responding to questions about her/his experience with chaplain engagement. Additionally, the survey contains a critique question evaluating the chaplain handler, the content of the sessions and the modality in which the sessions take place. The desired outcome is a creditable document to speak to the resiliency tool provided through the integration of Service Dogs in the military organization.


Although this project was based out of McEntire Joint National Guard Base and the South Carolina National Guard, the exposure of Avalon, Assistance Dog for Ministry, reaches a greater span. This includes, multiple military installations, missions and personnel. Overall, this innovative approach to Chaplain Corps services enhances the meaningful engagement of ministry presence the chaplain provides.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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