At the First Christian Church in Brunswick, OH, dogs are accepted and welcomed to attend services with their owners. Steve Gower, former pastor, got the idea when his own dog, Lily, sat beside a church member who sat alone in a pew on Christmas Eve. The patron insisted that Lily stay for the entire service and that was all it took. Others liked the idea so much that they began bringing their dogs with them, too.
Lauren Baker loves having Ginger, her 11-year-old cancer survivor and best friend, sitting beside her in church. “Everybody is so accepting here, and it means a lot to me to be able to have her here,” said Lauren. “Especially after all she has been through.” Lauren’s mother, Bev, says, “We just feel they are part of God’s creations and Jesus wouldn’t say no to them.”
Other canine regulars include Ace, Reverend Roger Buese’s Great Pyrenees, and Leo, a 140-pound Mastiff. Leo had been abused by his former owners and was scared. “He was so shy he would hide in the corner — and he does look scary — but now you see him walking around, bumping into people. He is so much more trusting and not fearful,” said Reverend Buese.
Fellow church-goers also like the idea of dogs coming to church. Jaclyn Morteletti, who has three dogs of her own, says, “It just makes it so much more relaxed and dogs show love without having to receive it.”