First impressions are often wrong. That’s one reason so many people write off or stay away from strays and shelter dogs. In the wrong contexts like on the street or in a small crate, great dogs can come off mangy or fearful.
A wonderfully kind priest in Gravatá, Brazil devised a brilliant way to make the stray and abandoned dogs of his city appear more adoptable.
Every Sunday at the Paróquia de Sant’Ana Gravatá parishioners worship alongside stray dogs that Father João Paulo Araujo Gomes welcomes into the church. He brings these dogs in off the street for the possibility some weekend Mass attendees will want to take them home.
The dogs are given free reign of the church, but they often sit up at the altar (and occasionally interrupt sermons for some scratches.) Sometimes they just take naps in the aisles.
That’s one way to get more people to come to Mass!
When Mass is over, however, Father Gomes’ commitment to these disadvantaged dogs continues. He fosters stray dogs in his rectory every day, providing them with the necessary shelter, food, and fresh water. He and some volunteers even offer them medical assistance when they need it.
On Facebook, Father Gomes explained his rationale for letting strays reside in the church.
“They will always be able to enter, sleep, eat, drink their water and find shelter and protection, for this house is of God and they are of God,”
The results of the priest’s kindness are significant. The number of abandoned dogs living on the streets of Gravatá has drastically reduced. Thanks to him, dozens of stray dogs have already found loving homes!
And of course it should be no surprise that he himself adopted several of his fosters. He’s very close with his rescue dogs, the priest told Bored Panda.
“I helped several dogs with serious health problems. Some of them I brought to the parish house and they were later adopted. Three of them stayed with me. Today, they are my children and sleep in my bed.”
You can follow Father Gomes on Facebook for more delightful photos of dogs making church more fun! He also regularly posts about his own beloved rescues.
Here’s hoping Father Gomes’ compassion rubs off and more churches become dog-friendly!
H/T: Bored Panda
Featured Image: @PadreJoao Paulo Araujo Gomes/Facebook
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