CHRISTIAN MINISTRY SERVICE DOGS/COMFORT DOGS
We train these specialized dogs as service dogs. These dogs know skills such as retrieving things that are dropped, opening doors or cabinets, turning on and off light switches and more. They are placed with a minister in a church setting or as a chaplain in an institutional setting. The dog accompanies the minister in his or her duties including visiting those in hospitals, nursing homes or private residences, conducting worship services, greeting parishioners, meetings and day to day activities through the community.
They also accompany the minister on pastoral calls, are present during worship, help with children’s’ stories, and provide comfort to those who are distressed. This dog has been specifically trained to help ease ministerial counseling and promote congregational harmony.
The presence of a friendly, soft, engaging animal often puts people at ease. Ministers who have worked in teams with service dogs have noted that the dog is often recognized and approached first and people’s affect then seems much more relaxed. Children especially seem to find comfort in the presence of a friendly dog.