Should dogs be welcomed in churches, temples, mosques or other places of worship?
Covenant Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles allows dogs to come to its Sunday night prayer services, which are led by Reverend Tom Eggebeen. Welcoming canines to places of worship is a growing trend that reflects an increasing recognition of the strong bonds that people have with their dogs. The goal behind canine-friendly services is to make people feel more comfortable at church.
Sometimes dogs do become a bit unruly and need to be taken outside to relax, but Reverend Eggebeen says that happens with unruly kids on occasion, too. He says that if all the dogs start barking, they usually quiet down when the congregation sings “Amazing Grace.”
Many people are supportive of dogs being in church, but others have been critical of the policy. What do you think about dogs coming to church? Would you be in favor of having canines at your place of worship or against it?
Karen B. London, PhD, is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer whose clinical work over the last 17 years has focused on the evaluation and treatment of serious behavioral problems in dogs, especially aggression. Karen has been writing the behavior column for The Bark since 2012 and wrote The Bark’s training column and various other articles for eight years before that. She is an adjunct professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University, and teaches a tropical field biology course in Costa Rica. Karen writes an animal column, The London Zoo, which appear in The Arizona Daily Sun and is the author of five books on canine training and behavior. She is working on her next book, which she expects to be published in 2017.