The Reverend Ann Bullis of Wesley United Methodist Church believes that dogs go to heaven and when some of her congregants asked if they could bring their pet to church a few months ago she couldn’t think of a good reason why not. For two months now the church in Sheboygan, Wisconsin has been allowing congregants to bring their pets with them to service.
It was two months ago when a group of congregants, including 62-year-old Louise Hansen, approached Bullis about the idea of having pets at church. Bullis couldn’t think of a good reason why not and no one else in the congregation seemed to have any concerns either. Now every Sunday pets are welcome at the 9 a.m. service
So far there haven’t been any issues with people bringing their pets to church. Even the congregants who have allergies aren’t bothered by the addition of dogs to the congregation. The dogs and their owners sit in the back of the church.
“We weren’t quite sure how this was going to work,” said Hansen, who has brought her two Bichon Frises several times. “Was there going to be a lot of barking? Were there going to be accidents? Things like that. So far there haven’t been, but there could be and we are prepared for that. But just like children make noise in a service, babies cry, animals might make noise, too.”
Bullis doesn’t mind if she has to speak over a few barks either. Since she came to the church two years ago she’s tried to make the church a more relaxed and welcoming place. In doing so the small congregation has tripled in size. This most recent change of allowing pets is just another way to be more welcoming and hopefully bring more congregants.
“Going into a new church can be very scary, but if you have that pet with you, it’s kind of an ice breaker. It could make someone feel more comfortable,” said Hansen