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Beliefnet News

NY Times: Churches adding pet ministries

In a society obsessed with pet dogs, cats, rodents, fish and reptiles, it only follows that churches should open their doors to Fido.

“As a boy in San Antonio, Paul Flotron helped his family raise miniature schnauzers,” writes Mark Oppenheimer in the New York Times. By age 10, he had accumulated a menagerie of “dwarf crocodiles, African pancake tortoises, birds, boa constrictors, hermit crabs, fish, and always dogs.

Should churches minister to pets?


“Today, Flotron runs Creature Comforts Great and Small, a St. Louis pet-care business, and leads Noah’s Ark, a pet ministry of Grace Church, a large nondenominational Protestant church. Noah’s Ark runs a pet-food drive, supports a no-kill rescue, brings pets to visit the sick and infirm, and hosts a grief group for those who have lost a pet,” reports Oppenheimer:

“We actually have Bible study and discuss passages that are animal related,” Mr. Flotron said. “We make that our foundation.”

In a culture obsessed with dogs, dog whisperers and domestic pets of all kinds, religious groups are paying attention, too. Many megachurches, where members often meet in smaller affinity groups, are sponsoring groups for pet lovers.


In 2007, the Humane Society hired a liaison to religious communities, notes Oppenheimer:

“Animal ministries are in every state,” said Christine Gutleben, the Humane Society’s first director of faith outreach, “and they do everything, including pet food in traditional food drives, to donating to local shelters, designating church grounds as animal sanctuaries, hosting adoption events, printing animals for adoption in church bulletins.”

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Deadrock

    Hope they’ve all read “Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy” by Matthew Scully. One of the best books on compassion, a beautifully written defense of animals and our responsibilities as believers in God to stop excluding them from the circle of brotherhood.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Carmen

    I think it’s wonderful that Christians are reaching out to and helping animals in need. God created animals too and we are charged with looking after them and loving them. The love of an animal fills your heart with peace and much happiness. They often give us more love than what we give them.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Karin Perry

    My name is Karin , I’m a Pet Sitter. Animals are very spiritual and trustworthy. I’m moved when my fuzzy clients shows love to me. They love me for who I am and not an idealic being.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jbrooks

    When my church start letting members bring their pets that’s when I stop going and find another church or stay at home and get my church from the tv. Don’t like animals plus I’m scared of them.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment phil Simeone

    Great article. WE are involved with volunteering to train dogs for diabetes detecting, assisted Power Paws wheelchair care, hospital pet therapy, etc…
    I am interested in what scripture passages you use from the Bible.
    There is so much to learn from them- their joy when then see you( unconditional Love )-listening. I wonder if Jesus had A DOG? HE’S GOD!!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jeri Williams

    I love it! God is smiling down on those churches!!!!

  • http://AnAnythingGoesSocetity Etta Ruthenberg

    Wonderful idea. Dogs have been the love of my life! Dogs have never let me down. There is a reason dog is god spelled backwards!!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Stephanie

    I think that it’s wonderful. Animals are God’s creation just as humans are .

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