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St. Francis’ Blessings
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When Margaret Canada, a parishioner of 20 years, brought Katie to the service for the first time, the normally jumpy dog became serene and peaceful. “Katie, my Golden Retriever, is a love puppy,” she explained. “But when she sees people she gets very excited because she loves them so much.” Once in church, however, the dog seemed to sense something spiritual. As Canada said, “She just knew that this was a special moment and she was a completely different dog in that space.” Canada found the church to be a place of peace and love—as did her dog, who settled quietly in the front of the church.
 

Coming to that quiet, holy place was as good for the owners as it was for the dogs. People who had only nodded at each other in church or around town now spoke for the first time. Others came out feeling healed of their sadness. The morning after the March service, McGreevy, who had recently lost her husband, awoke with a sense of lightness that she had not felt before.
 

Even some of those who balked at the people/puppy services have been, well, converted.
 

After the latest animal service, several parishioners came up to Rev. McGreevy and Father Mayberry to say that they had been turned around. As at least one parishioner commented to Mayberry, “I’m glad that someone is doing this.”
 

“So maybe,” mused the rector, “we’re planting some seeds.”
 

And Tango, the shy dog who started all the fuss at the church, continues to blossom at St. Francis, greeting children and adults alike with a confident wag of her plumy tail.

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This article first appeared in The Bark,
Issue 27: Summer 2004
Helen Neafsey is a photographer at Greenwich (Ct.) Time. blog.ctnews.com

Photo by Helen Neafsey

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