We are so excited about the interest that has been shown here at Holy Cross in doing Comfort Dog ministry! Here’s a recap of what has occurred, where things stand now, and where we plan to go from here:
July—Deaconess Tiffany of Lutheran Church Charities brings Zeke the Comfort Dog to Holy Cross for a presentation and tells us about how Comfort Dogs have been used in ministry in churches and schools, and how they have helped in times of tragedies/disasters. After this presentation, several members express a desire for Holy Cross to get a Comfort Dog.
August—Two Informational meetings are held at Holy Cross to discuss how Comfort Dogs could be used in ministry and to discuss the resources needed to move forward. People have the opportunity to ask questions and are given information to read and an interest sheet on which they can indicate how they will support Comfort Dog Ministry. From these meetings and other contacts, over $3,000 is pledged to move forward with Comfort Dog Ministry at Holy Cross and several people indicate a willingness to serve as handlers for the dog.
At the August Council meeting, Council approves adding Comfort Dog ministry as part of our Caregiving Ministry and resolves that Comfort Dog Ministry will be funded by contributions outside of the General Budget. A fund will be established (possibly within the Social Ministry Fund) and contributions toward this will be tax deductible.
NOW—We are identifying people to serve as caregivers and handlers for the dog. The Caregiver is the person the dog would live with and would take care of the dog, making sure he/she is fed, groomed regularly etc. The caregiver would not be responsible for the cost of food, grooming etc., but would need to be reliable in making sure the dog is well cared for and ready to go out into various ministry settings. It is preferred that there be no other dogs in the caregiver’s home. There is a primary caregiver who the dog would live with most of the time, and a secondary caregiver who the dog would stay with if the primary caregiver is on vacation or unavailable. A handler is someone who takes the dog out and interacts with other people whether this be at a church function, school activity, or community setting. A handler would need to commit to working with the dog at least once a week.
As we look forward to starting this ministry at Holy Cross, we also need to raise funds for the dog. Once we submit a $6,000 deposit it will be a year before we actually receive our trained dog. (at that time an additional $6,000 is due). So our goal is to identify caregivers, handlers, and raise money for the deposit as soon as possible so we can get things in motion! Please prayerfully consider pledging an amount. Take one of the sheets available on the windowsills in back of the church or in the office to indicate your support for this ministry and return it to the office or Deaconess Kelly or contact her for more information.
September—Deaconess Kelly will speak briefly at the PEACE meeting about our plans for Comfort Dog Ministry and resources needed.
October—Goal for when we have our Caregivers and Handlers identified, and have our $6,000 deposit to submit to Lutheran Church Charities to get things in motion! If this can happen before October, even better!
If you want to be involved with this ministry or make a pledge, please contact Deaconess Kelly at 344-5248 x336 or Email. God has opened a door for us and is providing us a wonderful opportunity to enhance ministry in our church and school and better reach out in our community! Keep praying as we move forward!