Dog Spelled Backwards Is God

Dogs help in all facets of life. We see police dogs, fire dogs, helper dogs, cadaver dogs, hot dogs and now…minister dogs.

The dogs were decked out in sweaters and birthday hats. They had cold snouts, soft coats and the dispositions of Job. For more than an hour on a recent Saturday, they sat beneficently as dozens of children petted them.

They are members of the canine ministry at Irvine’s Mariners Church, which organizers say may be one of a kind.

Its mission: to put people at ease and begin a process that could lead them to God.

The dog ministers are more than just a conduit to The Guy in the sky.

Much of the dogs’ work involves going to monthly birthday parties for poor residents at the Costa Mesa Motor Inn.

They also help with foster kids, preside over learning programs in which children are more comfortable reading to the dogs than to adults and act as canine comfort counselors at church mountain camps.

“They show unconditional love and don’t expect anything back,” said Bankson, whose 2-year-old black Labrador retriever Reyna is a ministry dog. “They are always happy and don’t see any difference between us. They bring people in.”

I appreciate ministers of the canine variety. Well, until they show up on my porch with pamphlets, but they do lead by example.

“I don’t know [if they're Christian],” Bankson said, “but they sure show an awful lot of love. They have some of the Christian characteristics I’d like to have.”

Bogenrief agrees. “They don’t drink, smoke, dance or dress inappropriately,” he pointed out.

I agr…Whoa…back up. Did he just say they don’t dance or dress inappropriately? What, is Bogenrief the minister from the movie Footloose?

If he’s correct then Gene Kelly is in hell, singing in the rain of fire and dancing on hot coals.


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