“Dante” is a two-year-old. Described by his guardian as obstinate but endearing, he sat in a pew in Christchurch Beaurepaire Sunday, his spiked red hair heading in all directions, drool streaming out of his mouth. While Dante wasn’t out of place in the Beaconsfield church, he’d be kicked out of most other houses of worship- because he’s a chow-chow.
“I appreciate that they’re acknowledged, they get a blessing,” said his owner, Michelle Sept. “It’s probably the only time I come to church, the one Sunday a month, because I know I can bring the dogs.”
For about four years now, Christchurch has held special services once a month for dogs. The monthly dog services were the idea of Johanne Tassé, the founder of the Companion Animal Adoption Centres of Quebec.
“With the situation of animal welfare in Quebec, I thought it was a step in the right direction,” Tassé said. “So I called Father Michael (Johnson, the church’s priest) and asked him if he would be interested in offering this service once a month.”
“Just seeing the joy and the delight of the folks who come and bring their companion animals to the service,” is a treat, he said.
During the announcements, Tassé gets the chance to show off dogs in need of adoption. On Sunday, she showed a nine-year-old Pomeranian. Parishioners said the service allows them to enjoy the companionship of their dog and worship at the same time.
“I’m a churchgoer, I like to read the word of God, and this is a perfect opportunity to attend with my dog because I don’t have to leave him home,” said Lina Maiorano, who came to the service with her gigantic king shepherd “Lupo.”