[colored_box color=”blue”]Can you imagine praying to your cat or dog for life offerings or blessings? In ancient Egypt, Bastet was the goddess of joy and protector of women. Amulets were worn showing cats as protection against everyday problems. Anubis, the Jackal-headed god of the underworld, guided spirits to their afterlife. Pets have played a part in religion for centuries.[/colored_box]
In North America, people putting their faith in pets is a growing trend. An online prayer service in which volunteers will pray for you reports that prayers for pets are consistently in their top ten requests. Churches are getting in on the act as well – one church has even converted it’s playground into a dog park for outdoor sermons! Hopefully the minister reminds the congregation to scoop on the way out – cleanliness is next to godliness, after all, right?
In Los Angeles, (only in LA!) a minister has revitalized his dwindling church membership by turning “God’s House” into a “Dog House.” His weekly service focuses on the the spirituality of pets and the deep bonds that owners form with their animals. Pet blessings and pet-centric services are all a part of his new program.
It’s a novel idea, but not altogether unique. There are other churches that have introduced “dog walker” sessions, and another clever church has gone all out by calling their service “Woof ‘N’ Worship”. It has all of the creature comforts you’d never expect in a church – dog beds, water bowls and dog treats piled sky high in an offering bowl. Holy Moly! Imagine being in church, and your pastor uses a Great Dane and two Yorkshire Terriers to illustrate the Bible story of how Joshua and Caleb believed they could defeat giants in the promised land. We’d love to see those little Terriers out bark the big dog!
Now more than ever, people are putting their faith in pets when they passes away. Losing a pet can be tragic, and a service to commemorate their life can bring great peace. There’s an abundance of pet memorial services to choose from right here in the Greater Toronto Area.
Religious or not, I think we pet owners can agree that our pets are the most faithful of companions, and there’s a real comfort in that.