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Joe Dwyer

What is an Animal Chaplain by Jodi Clark-Lopez

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When people hear the term “Animal Chaplain”, the images conjured up in the mind may reflect that of a “Bible thumper” with a rigid “holier than thou” mentality; or perhaps a fanatical person who is a totally vegan, non- leather wearing, angry protester yelling besides animal rights groups such as PETA, while throwing fake blood at passerby’s that are wearing fur. Yes, we Animal Chaplains respect all life and believe in the spiritual value of all creation, and our core belief system is to provide comfort to animals, as well as the humans that love them, through good times and in bad, in sickness and in health

That being said, in the same manner in which we respect and cherish all of our Creator’s animal population, we respect ALL human creation as well. We are aware that individual’s religious or spiritual beliefs can be as different as our hair Abe eye color, and there are many traditions that, we as humans, follow to provide our souls with the spiritual nourishment that we need in order to navigate through the ebbs and flows of life. Despite our physical traditions however, it is safe to say that at the core of all of these eclectic beliefs is “The Golden Rule”; that is, put simply, be as nice to others, animals and humans included, as you would want them to be towards yourself.

It is implied, that being an Animal Chaplain, much of our work centers around not so joyous times; we are there to offer prayers and comfort at the end of a pet’s life, however long or short lived it may have been; we are there to officiate at whatever form of funerals or “ celebration of life” events that humans desire to have for their beloved animal companions, so they are never forgotten and always live on in both our hearts, as well as to keep emulating all of the positive life lessons that they taught us. We are there to provide emotional support after such devastating losses, as many of us are also fully trained Pet Bereavement Counselors, with a sprinkling of us even having been formally educated at the Graduate Level in the mental health field, or as vet technicians.

It is also important to note that we are also there during pet’s celebratory moments. We’re there to stand in celebration when that pet was rescued from abuse or abandonment, that finally finds it’s forever loving home that’s so well deserved; or when a new young animal life has joined a human family, and will grow and mature alongside of a human child and be bonded by love; We are there to help honor and show value to all of the animals that provide therapy to the humans who would otherwise have no reason to go out and live an abundant life. We recognize the life saving and heroic pets that are out there doing what comes naturally to them; saving, helping, comforting humans of all ages, races, religions and socioeconomic backgrounds. (I think that just maybe, God made dogs color blind on purpose!)

At the risk of continuing on and sounding like a late-night television infomercial, I will close with a few thoughts. We are a relatively new concept, and we would like to get the word out that we exist, and that fellow animal lovers are not alone, in good times and in bad. We recognize and validate the human animal bond and realize that we can never accomplish, in one lifetime, paying back our pets for all that they give us while we walk this earth. We believe in “meeting people where they’re at” in terms of their own personal and unique belief systems, when we are called upon for assistance. In a tumultuous society running rampant with negativity and vulgarity, the most important aspect of who we are and what we are about can be summed up in one four letter word…LOVE.

What is an Animal Chaplain by Wendy Durrett

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Welcome to this site and we hope you enjoy it and learn a little bit about what we do and how we serve as an Animal Chaplain. First and foremost, we are serving The One True Living God who created all things with love, compassion, empathy and grace through Him.
Many people don’t realize that animals are indeed a spiritual being just as you and I are and while they may not pray, they certainly do worship God in everything they do. They show that same unconditional love that God has for each one of us and they do it with such grace and so naturally that people overlook the spiritual aspect of the animal creations we share this earth with.
Animal Chaplains are a fairly new concept but one that we feel God has put upon our individual hearts to become as we not only serve His animal creations, we serve their families as well. We all know the love we have for our pets and indeed we feel the love they give us in return but when they decline in their old age, or are surrendered to a shelter (please, no judging here, as one who has worked at a shelter I have seen many families struggle with the decision to surrender their beloved pet for a number of valid reasons) these long-time companions need more than just physical and emotional support, they need spiritual support as well and so do their families. Many people will struggle with guilt or anger or other feelings that can eat away at us as they try to cope with the issues at hand. For many, the loss of their long-time friend is devastating, and grief overtakes them just as it would for our human family members. Our pets ARE a part of our families and have been there for us through the good and bad times and have brought us so much comfort as we all know, that little lick on the face or that paw or head that rests upon our leg when we are sad, they are right there to support us through it all.
We as Animal Chaplains can be your support, and their support as we will pray for you, be there to listen to you and offer spiritual care that so many are looking for during the difficult times we go through with our pets. Grieving is a normal process for every one of us and we cannot do it alone, which is where an Animal Chaplains service begins, but it doesn’t end there. We will be there if you want us when it is time to say good-bye to our animal companions, officiate funeral or life celebration services, offer guidance, compassion, love and empathy for the families, and continue to be a source of spiritual healing for those who seek it. Only God can heal our broken hearts and help us to move forward during times of loss and it is different for each person on how the healing process will go. We are inter-faith and can perform several different services designed to follow your specific requests to honor your beloved pets and family beliefs.
We can perform animal blessings in our communities for those who would like this service, either privately or at an animal blessing event held a couple of times a year usually in the spring or fall. A private blessing could be anything from welcoming a new “fur” family member into the family or celebrating a milestone a pet has achieved. Or we can serve the elderly in our communities who have pets and need someone to spend some time with them and their pets by doing some small animal care chores or bring our own pets to nursing homes to visit the residents and lift their spirits up. That in-itself is something so rewarding. Sharing God’s love through His animal creations goes a long way for so many who are lonely and looking for companionship.
We also serve in the capacity of visiting animal shelters to spend time with and pray for all the animals that are going through a very stressful time in their lives. Shelters do an awesome job of the physical and emotional support these animals need, but again this is where an Animal Chaplains work begins for the homeless animals who also need spiritual support. Prayer is the most powerful and effective instrument in which I personally have seen God do countless miracles over the years for animals in a shelter environment. By spending time patting them and releasing Gods love to them through touch, I have seen hundreds of cats who had been in a shelter for years suddenly get adopted, dogs whose spirits are so broken and hopeless suddenly get a sparkle in their eye and start to come out of that hard shell as they have shut down and given up. Oh, how the heart rejoices when we go back each week to spend time with them and pray for them to hear the words from a staff member “THEY GOT ADOPTED!”
Jesus gave this commandment – “A new command I give you Love one another as I have loved you, so you must love one another” in John 13:34
We are following this command and loving God’s animals and their families, being there to offer spiritual support when those who are in need with a touch from God who sees and knows what each one is going through. We are His hands and feet (and paws) in troubled times and I pray this has given you an insight to what an Animal Chaplain is and what we do.
If you are interested in learning more or feel that this might be something you would like to do, please feel free to contact us at: joedwyer1207@gmail.com we would love to share more of what our mission is and add to our Animal Chaplain family OR if you need any kind of service we provide please don’t hesitate to reach out. God bless!

Positive Approach

By | Animal Chaplain, Blog | No Comments

Mother Teresa was famous for saying that she would not attend an anti-war rally, but if a peace rally was held she would be there. Mother Teresa can certainly be considered a spiritual leader, and I must say I really love this approach she followed.

This will be our approach at Noble Strength sanctuary when it comes to speaking out for animals in need. Instead of focusing on the horrors we know exist, the foundation will be built on a more peaceful and compassionate world by learning from the animals we share this world with.

There are many people who have decided to promote animal welfare by posting stories of abuse, as well as other stories that have a similar approach. It is important to know that we respect their approach and see that there are benefits. In harmony with our approach, especially my Animal Chaplain family, we support their educational information. However, we will build the Noble Strength sanctuary with a different foundation. I am especially excited that a few of my Animal Chaplain graduates have already started to post positive stories about animals on our Animal Chaplains of Noble Strength Facebook page.

It will take many “strong houses” to help the animals and people in need. If we respect and support each other, all of our foundations will be stronger and more lives will be saved.