This story was written by Jim Young. He and his wife, Kay, are long-time friends of ours from our shared time in church and fellowship activities at Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas. Kay’s service dog, Travis, was just as much a member and participant in activities there, and was always “on duty” caring for his charge, Kay…helping her, protecting her and seeing that she was always stable and safe. Jim and Kay made a trip in 2012 with Travis to Alaska. This is an account of the wonderful event that happened to them and especially to Travis while on that cruise.



In September of 2012, my wife Kay, Travis and I went on a cruise to Alaska. From the time we boarded our flight at DFW to Seattle (though we didn’t realize it until much later) this trip was going to be different. 

The husband and wife sitting behind us on the flight were going on the same cruise as we were. Of course, they wanted to know about Kay’s service dog, Travis. I know you may find this hard to believe, but Kay was very willing to share everything about Travis!

She (we) told them how God had been involved in every step of the process of our getting Travis…from how we found out about “balance and stability” service dogs, to everyone we knew praying that God would pick out just the right dog, etc.  This resulted in Kay giving her testimony about how God had seen us through all our trials and triumphs. And this was just the beginning. This happened again when we were waiting for the shuttle to the hotel and again at a coffee shop in our hotel—and this was just the first day!

The next day, Sunday, on the bus to the ship it happened again! After we got on the ship we were giving our testimony multiple times each day, virtually every day of the cruise. It was a very special and humbling time. Usually the conversations started out by people saying “Oh there’s the beautiful dog we’ve been hearing about,” or “There’s Travis.”  Also, one morning when I was walking Travis I ran into the couple we met on our flight, and they were with three other couples who were traveling on the cruise with them. They came up and introduced their friends, and then they started telling their friends all about Travis and how God had brought him to us.


The giving of our testimony was not just restricted to the cruise guests. The Indonesian and Filipino crew members were some of the most enthusiastic about meeting Travis. We loved sharing the Lord with them; and I think this may have led in part to Travis being awarded the medal.

On Wednesday evening, while we were walking out of the restaurant, a ship’s officer approached us and said “there’s the dog I have been waiting to meet!” He stopped and spoke with us in detail about Travis, and we were able to share the Lord with him as well. He then said Travis deserved a medal for his service and loyalty, and that he was going to see that he received it.

We then said goodnight and thought that was that. Well, it wasn’t. The next morning we received an official invitation to a ceremony and photo shoot for that evening where Travis would be awarded the Holland America bronze medal!

Travis and his Medal.jpg

When we arrived at the place designated for the event we were greeted by two female officers in their dress white uniforms. One was carrying a pillow and on it was the medal.  Then the officer that started the whole thing came up and greeted us. As it turned out he was the hotel manager for the ship and ranked up there with the ship’s captain. (He’s the grayed hair gentleman in the picture). Then the captain showed up. After all the introductions were complete, presentation began and the rest is history.  The officers were all great and they had a wonderful time with Kay and Travis.  FYI – one of the female officers was from Poland and the other was from Germany. The captain and the hotel manager were both from Holland.

Travis was unbelievable how well he did on the cruise. And, as usual, he took special care of Kay. We had one day when the seas were really choppy, and he kept her on an even keel (pardon the pun). One of the ports was Sitka, and the bay was too shallow for our ship to dock. To get to shore one had to ride in one of the ship’s tenders (life-boats). Stepping from the ship to a rocking and rolling tender wasn’t the easiest for even able- bodied folks. When Kay was stepping onto the tender, it really started to rock. Travis was slightly ahead of her, and when the tender rocked, he pulled to keep Kay from going backwards and maybe even into the water! Then two of the crewmen grabbed her and helped her onto the tender.

Travis provided us with some humor as well, like barking at the larger icebergs when we were sailing near Sawyer Glacier. Our stateroom was on one of the upper decks and Travis liked to be out on the balcony…but, he just couldn’t figure out how the birds were flying below where he was!

Travis has since passed, but he remained a loyal, devoted companion to Kay til his last breath.


This story about Travis showed how doors were opened for Jim and Kay to witness. In one of God’s Other Ways©, the Lord used animals throughout the Bible. Some examples are:

* He made Balaam’s donkey talk to change Balaam’s heart. - Numbers 22:28 

* He used ravens to feed the prophet Elijah. - 1 Kings 17:4  

* He used a dove to tell Noah when he could leave the Ark - Genesis 8:10-12

* Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to fulfill a prophesy.  Matthew 21:2-5 

* He used a Big Fish to swallow Jonah to teach him to obey. - Jonah 1:17 

* God shut the mouths of the lions to save Daniel in the lion’s den. - Daniel 6:22 

* Jesus used a fish with a coin in its mouth to pay the Temple tax. - Matthew 17:24-27



If you have a story that you think might bless others, I invite you to send it by email to me (Kenneth Kersey) at