“Have you seen the woman who brings her dog to church,” someone asked me.
“No,” I answered. I did not react well to hearing the news. Much public news appears to center around “It’s all about me” people who do what they want with no concern for others. Besides that, a Christian church represents the body of Christ, a holy place.
Then, a counter-thought came to mind. Biblical stories brim with allegory. After birth, Mary placed Jesus in a manger (a feeding trough for domestic animals). The Son of God sheltered among domestic animals (in their house), a vulnerable, but protected newborn. How can we not welcome a domestic animal today in the house of the Lord, his house. Yet, a dilemma may accrue from such welcome.
As I understand it, the woman has aged to the point that she barely can come to worship at our church. Her wee dog, a constant companion, gives her love. The animal has become her strength, her source of courage about leaving her house for any purpose. She has passed the point of reason about whether or not her dog can go where she goes. If the dog cannot go, then she will not.
After I heard about the woman and her dog, many church services have happened, yet I have not located her. Someone told me that she arrives late, just before the start of the service, that she sits in the last pew, and that she places the dog at her feet in order to stand and to clap her hands during the singing portions of the church service.
“From habit, the dog shakes itself just after she places it at her feet,” someone said. “If you listen carefully, you may hear its tiny chain and tag rattle. Otherwise, you will not know, for the dog never makes a sound.”
Just as in any public place, at a restaurant, at the theater, at your child’s school play, on a cruise ship, in an airplane, owners, managers, and members have increasingly permitted patrons’ animals. Some do that conditionally. Those animals admitted may not all rattle a tiny chain and lay quietly at their owner’s feet. Society has become ever more political and vocal, and does not seem to tolerate exceptions. Allow one wee dog in church and the staff will risk a dilemma when dozens of dogs attend church with their owners. What do you think should be done? #TAG1writer.