Dogs are animals known to be the best friends of people, as they give them unconditional love and valuable moments that bring joy to everyone’s home.
Unfortunately, not all dogs are treated in the same way, so people often forget how valuable they are. They usually neglect dogs, leaving them on cruel street life, so they desperately need for urgent help and attention.
Taking better care of dogs is one of the things that generally make the world a better place to live for all.
One fact that could be surprising is that the stray dogs in Brazil regularly attend church services to meet their new owners! This is what any religion teaches people to be compassionate and kind, favoring love as a root of all religious prose.
A gesture that shows that love goes beyond the human
In hopes that the homeless dogs around the Paróquia de Sant’Ana Gravatá, will be noticed by the residents, Father João Paulo Araujo Gomes, the head of the parish of Santana in the city of Gravatá, allowed them to be a part of his services.
Noticed by some people who love dogs may be the first step in how they can find a new owner and their loving homes.
Housing stray dogs in his rectory, Father João Paulo keeps them away from the dangers of the streets. He also takes good care of them, feeding them and providing them with all the necessary medical treatment.
But not only in his rectory, but he also placed bowls of fresh water and dog food outside of the church to welcome the unwanted animals into the sanctuary whenever they needed a break from the weather.
By doing this he managed to put these dogs in the center of attention every Sunday. They often join the priest at the altar for some attention and he never disappoints them.
Father João Paulo posted on Facebook:
“They will always be able to enter, sleep, eat, drink their water and find shelter and protection, for this house is of God and they are of God.”
Churchgoers are encouraged by the priest to take care of them or to invite other people who are interested in bringing home a new family member.
When and how was that idea born?
Father João started taking care of the dogs one day when someone had offered him cookies. He was occupied with other things, so he left them out in mass, and they were quickly taken up by the dogs. Then he came across a dog kennel with 96 dogs which gave him an idea to start bringing the dogs to mass.
For only six months, he finished this process and all of the dogs were adopted. He is also using the time during the service to talk with other people about dogs on the streets and the ways how they should respect and protect them.
He offered the help of the church with a castration project and also church help dogs in emergencies such as victims of violence or health problems.
His kind-hearted actions, supported by other churchgoers, have drastically reduced the number of abandoned dogs on the streets of Gravatá.
He has adopted some himself explaining:
“I helped several dogs with serious health problems. Some of them I brought to the parish house and they were later adopted. Three of them stayed with me. Today, they are my children and sleep in my bed.”
His selfless gestures of Christian solidarity echoed on social networks, by sharing the photo of him conducting mass with a dog on his side. All followers supported him, generating a wave of positive comments. Many people were inspired by his kind heart, claiming that this is a great example to follow.
Other people called the Father a hero and admired his attempts to help those who don’t have any attention from anybody.
Father Gomes added that he began to adopt some dogs who had been mistreated, and all the time he was supported by the volunteers. According to the priest caring for animals and nature as a whole is a great gesture of love for God, humanity, and the planet.
The father wishes he could do more to help but in his work, he is facing many limitations. All his work depends on volunteers who help him, so he sends gratitude to all of them, too.