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Editor's Choice » International

The dog who goes every day to his dead owner's church

A heartwarming tale that made Father Zuhlsdorf pause.

The dog who goes every day to his dead owner's church
Father John Zuhlsdorf International

January 22, 2013

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Haven’t we all seen the movie or TV show or read the book in which our hero is protected by his faithful but mortally wounded dog?  Our hero – incredibly tough and even sometimes cold-blooded, now weeping has to put his own dog out of its misery?

Here is a story in The Telegraph that underscores the strange bond people have with their dogs, seemingly unlike the connection you humans have with any of your planet’s other critters.

Dog turns up to dead owner’s church every day
Two months after his owner died, a dog in Italy keeps turning up each day at the church she used to attend.

By Nick Squires in Rome 

Ciccio, ["Pudgy"] a 12-year-old German shepherd, waits in vain in front of the altar of the Santa Maria Assunta church in the village of San Donaci in the southern region of Puglia.
He heads to the church as soon as the bells begin to ring each afternoon, just as he did for years when his owner was alive.
The woman, who was known in local dialect as “Maria tu lu campu” – “Maria of the fields” – died suddenly in November.
Ciccio attended the funeral, following his mistress’s coffin as it was carried into the church.
The dog’s devotion has so impressed villagers that they have adopted him as their own, giving him food and water and letting him sleep in a covered area outside the church.

The local priest, Donato Panna, allows him to sit in front of the altar during Masses, baptisms and other services.
He is now hoping to find a new home for the faithful hound.
His behaviour is reminiscent of Greyfriars Bobby, a Skye Terrier who became famous in Edinburgh for spending years guarding the grave of his owner.

I suppose this will bring up the whole “dogs in church” thing.

There is nothing per se wrong with an animal in a church, but the risks to the place’s sacral character are obvious.  This, blessing of animals on certain days… in church… nooooo.  Do it outside!   We just had the feast of St. Anthony the Abbot yesterday.  Years ago I stood outside a church in Velletri, Sant’Antonio Abbate, with my holy water bucket and blessed pigs and horses. In church?  Not so much.

But, as hard-hearted as I am, I think I would give Ciccio a pass.

Full Story: Dogs in church – an interesting case

Source: Fr. Z's Blog

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