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Well . . . doggies !!

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  • Well . . . doggies !!

    I never thought I would see the day. Please tell me if I have been living in a cocoon all my life or what. Besides being assistant organist, I also do considerable volunteer maintenance work at our church and have been doing so in varying degrees for about 30 years. We are in an upper-middle-class very ethnically mixed neighborhood. Fortnunately, there are enough RCs in the vicinity to keep our parish viable.

    I was touching up some paint in the choir loft this afternoon and looked down to see a casually-dressed, well-groomed middle-aged white man walk into the church with his small dog (terrier?) on a leash. He knelt down to pray with his dog next to him. I was stunned and not sure what to do. Then I decided to address the issue, partly out of courtesy to our custodian, because I did not want him to have to deal with it.

    I quietly approached the gentleman and asked his pardon for interrupting his prayers and advised him that we do not allow dogs in the church (except for official assistance dogs). He and I must be from different planets, because I was obviously amazed and appalled that this was even happening, and he was incredulous as well - albeit from a different perspective. I told him that he was welcome to stay all afternoon, but that he must please tie his little dog up outside. Just for the record, it was a beautiful afternoon - about 76 and clear - and he did go ahead and tie up the dog just outside the door where he was praying in a shady spot.

    So, is there something wrong with me or was this man out of bounds?

    I happen to encounter one of our priests a few minutes later and told him what had happened and that it really freaked me out because it all seemed so strange - almost surreal. The priest seemed to take my side - as long as I was objecting only to the dog and not the gentleman himself. The priest also said that he found this rather exceptional.

    Angels and ministers of grace defend us! --Hamlet

  • #2
    I thought you were going to say that the dog folded its paws and prayed too!
    *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!



    • #3
      I have a friend whose dog actually does that - but in the privacy of their own home.


      • #4
        I bet the dog was better behaved than some of the humans that are allowed into the church
        My MIDI controlled, module and software driven virtual 'organ' thread is here: http://www.organforum.com/forums/sho...l=1#post427320


        • #5
          Yes, indeed, Momboc! I must admit that the dog was very well behaved. Ironic, is it not. It was the human that caused the problem by not being sufficiently discerning (and I mean the dog-owner, not me), rather than the dog. The dog looked very happy in his/her shady spot just outside the door. He/she was in no apparent distress from being separated from his/her owner.

          I wonder if this appears in any etiquette books?!


          • #6
            Perhaps the church should post a "Only service dogs allowed inside" sign?



            • #7
              Why should you allow any dogs in? If the church objects to dogs then it cannot make exceptions. Yes, service dogs help people, but it could be argued that all dogs help their owners in one way another, from encouraging exercise to offering companionship. So ban the lot or stop being so petty. Remember, animals were on this planet long before humans, yet it's our species who are going to leave it in a far worse state than we found it.

              Best wishes,


              • #8

                .......... and that's all I got to say about that.
                "The employment of the piano is forbidden in church, as is also that of noisy frivolous instruments such as drums, cymbals, bells and the like." St. Pius X


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
                  I thought you were going to say that the dog folded its paws and prayed too!
                  What?!!! The dog didn't leave an offering? How inconsiderate!

                  Seriously, most dogs I've had are so much better behaved than some people's children. I sometimes tell my students in class that my dogs listen better than they do!

                  Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                  • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                  • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                  • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos


                  • #10
                    I wouldn't want to unnecessarily discourage someone who might be a wayward soul interested in reconnecting with his or her creator. Thus I think it takes some real discernment when deciding what to do in such a circumstance especially with a well behaved dog. It is a bit of a balancing act between respect for holy ground v.s. the heart of God toward a lost sheep.

                    As far as service dogs go there may be legal issues to consider in that kind of situation.

                    If it is Caesar that you worship, then Caesar you shall serve.


                    • #11
                      I know of no church that literally has an official written rule about pets - nor even an official dress code. I know that we have allowed the occasional bonafide assistance dog to attend Mass without even giving it a thought. Why, because there are two keys concepts here: "stewardship" and "common sense." It is a sad comment on the human condition when we have to make rules to enforce common sense. We do have a few notices around the church (but we try to keep them out of the main worship space) which do enforce common sense and at times we resent the fact that we must have them. They are mostly about housekeeping issues.

                      Back on the topic: We just assume that nobody will enter the church with their pet nor in their bathrobe nor covered with house paint nor dripping wet, etc. We should not need a sign saying: "Please do not enter unless you are wearing dry street clothes." And yes, if we had a seriously ill parishioner who had to attend Mass sitting in a wheelchair in their bathrode, of course we would accommodate them. Again, common sense and extenuating circumstances.

                      Methinks what really freaked me out about the man with his dog is that to him is was just so routine and utterly acceptable that he did not even need to think about it. But it is interesting that he did not say to me: "I do this all the time and this is the first time any church as objected."

                      Whatever . . . SIGH!


                      • #12
                        I was a member of a small church made up of all senior citizens and one day the pastor announced that the church would have to close because the offerings were insufficient to keep the bills paid. Some of the group asked if services could be continued in my home which they knew had been a mission station in the days before our town had any churches built. The last dog I adopted was thrilled to have such a nice crew of friends come in every week and insisted on sitting in a chair with everyone else. He was extremely well behaved and loved by the group. I appreciated the fact that he didn't try to join in the singing. Our group continued to dwindle as the folks passed away and since the former pastor wasn't called as he hoped to a nearby church in November of 2011 he reconvened the old church in public rental space. Took awhile for poor dog to realize we were going out to church and he couldn't come any longer. But his best friends in the congregation still come by and make over him!


                        • #13
                          What freaks me out is your total over-reaction to this event. Sure, if this chap' s dog was running around barking and causing havoc then I can quite understand the need to remonstrate with him. It's a question of respect. However, that cuts both ways. You interrupted this man's prayers. Would it not have been better to leave the man in peace with his God and then gently remind him as he was leaving that dogs are not allowed in church? Who knows what troubles this man has in his life? Are you happy that you could have alienated him at a point when he clearly needed God's help? Don't you realise that dogs are not just mere pets to some people? For some who have no family, dogs are their only companions in a lonely world. So yes, enforce your rules, but show some sensitivity for God's sake.

                          Best wishes,