Church Welcomes Pets to Sunday Service

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


  1. Joanna Carroll says on  06/09/2013 at 3:39 pm

    My late alpha dog, Sophie LOVED going to church! She would actually genuflect before we sat down and she insisted on sitting on the aisle so she could see the service. At the week day Masses she would get a blessing when I received Communion so we waited and were last. Maybe she was watching what I was doing but when we were there, she was always smiling. My other kids like going for the Feast of St. Francis and my cancer surviving boy liked to go to cancer survivor group more than church. All of my kids were well behaved and welcomed… although the parishes had stone floors. At the outside blessings (too many kids) the dogs were all well behaved…. no cats were barked at or chased, nor were the two squirrels brought to be blessed nor the birds in their cages, the dogs were awed by the two horses one time.

    In some old highland churches you will find wooden swinging flaps as the farmers would sometimes bring their terriers with them… the collies had to stay to guard the flocks… so the dogs could go outside to relieve themselves…. yes the sermons were a bit longer than our Anglican or Catholic services..

  2. Anonymous says on  06/09/2013 at 4:44 pm

    Now, if I were to ever join a church, this would be the one. My dogs and cats are my family. Bless this church and its members.

  3. Anonymous says on  06/09/2013 at 5:41 pm

    I have a diabetic dog and worry about him having problems. Would love to be able to bring him to a church and even doc appts. He helps me a lot when I am in severe pain. He loves people and puts his paws on them and sniffs since he is totally blind.

    Animals give us a better quality of life. With my PTSD, taking my dog with me calms me and prevents PTSD melt downs.

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