According to the most recent government statistics, there are an estimated 52 million dogs in Brazil – the majority of which are homeless dogs. Due to their huge number, seeing lots of strays in the streets is not an uncommon sight in this country.
But while other people choose to turn a blind eye to these poor pups, one priest in the city of Gravatá decided to help alleviate this national problem the best way he can.
It is nothing new for churchgoers at the parish of Santana in the city of Gravatá to see dogs roaming around or sleeping inside the parish during mass. These furry creatures are welcome to stay in the church due to the initiative of Father João Paulo Araujo Gomes, the head of the parish. To help them find loving homes, the kind priest invites strays from the streets to participate in his service.
Father Gomes hopes that by allowing these homeless dogs to join his masses, people would be encouraged to adopt them. He wanted to keep them away from the dangers of the world outside, so he makes sure that the doors of his church are always open to these pups.
Every Sunday, Father Gomes makes certain that the dogs are seen by churchgoers. He puts them in spots where everyone can see them, hoping that while they’re listening to him preach about the word of God, the sight of these dogs would speak to their heart and tell them to adopt one.
But as they are dogs, it is natural for them to want some petting, especially when they are in front of the altar and near Father Gomes. Luckily, the kind priest never disappoints and gives them the attention and belly rubs that they crave for!
“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,” the priest wrote on Facebook.
Father Gomes also encourages the church community to invite people who they know are interested in adopting a new four-legged family member into their home. The priest’s compassionate actions have helped spark a change and raise awareness about this issue of homeless dogs, starting in the city of Gravatá.
Neglected dogs often suffer from the cruelty of life on the streets due to the lack of food and safe places for them to stay. Father Gomes has not only given them a temporary yet comfortable home inside his church, he also provides them with all the medical treatment that they need.
Thanks to his wonderful initiative, the number of abandoned dogs in his city has significantly declined. Dozens of them have found new families, and the priest himself couldn’t help but adopt some himself.
“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,” he told Bored Panda.
Father Gomes is a true blessing to the lives of these homeless dogs, and we hope that more parishes will follow in his footsteps and pursue their own ways of helping the stray dogs in Brazil.