Montreal is one step closer to being North America’s Paris: it’s gaining on the City of Lights — a famously pooch-friendly place — by offering a monthly communion church service for dogs.
Paws and Pray was recently inaugurated at Christ Church Beaurepaire, an Anglican church in Beaconsfield on Montreal’s west island, to coincide with the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. The communion service features bread and wine, as well as doggie treats and bowls of water for the four-legged parishioners.
The church’s minister, Michael Johnson, said he has always enjoyed doing a pet blessing once a year.
Johanne Tassé, president of Companion Animal Adoption Centres of Quebec, who suggested the idea to Johnson, said she believes the idea can have a profound impact.
“Animals deserve our care and respect,” said Tassé. “If we can bring dogs to church, how can we turn around and abuse them?”
She believes that the “deplorable” state of animal welfare in Quebec requires people take a closer look at how animals impact our lives.
“There are search-and-rescue dogs, search-and-recovery dogs, dogs to help the disabled, dogs that go into hospitals,” said Tassé. “Dogs help us so much and we need to recognize them as being part of our lives.”
She believes that by welcoming dogs into a house of worship, people will be less likely to neglect their dogs and the service can help effect a change of attitude.
“We’ve lost a little bit of our humanity,” said Tassé. “The time is right to elevate (animals’) significance in our lives.”