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Hands Holding Paws

Pet Chaplain

One day as I found myself sitting in an emergency veterinary clinic in 2018 while the doctors took care of my German Shepherd, Jerry-Lee, as he fought to survive a horrible illness, suffered the night before, I spotted a wall full of business cards...one for each of the specialists at the hospital. I wandered over to look at them to see who the doctors were who were taking care of my boy, and that's when I found a very different type of business card, a pet chaplain.

For over 20 years, I had been involved with German Shepherds. Over that time, healthy, strong dogs, once strong and fearless, developed illnesses and aged. Armed with that knowledge, I adopted many German Shepherds and through caring for them I learned about an array of different types of injuries and illnesses as well as the pain and grief of having to let them go when the time came for them to cross from this world into the next. Each one came with his own story, some abandoned by their original owner with no remorse, some young, some old, some injured, and some unwanted, but all with their own unique story that proved they were each so "much more than just a dog," and thus should be treated as such.

Barbara Flannery

So my journey to become a pet chaplain began. For many years, I had been told to work with animals, but none of the conventional jobs ever really appealed to me. The second I saw the words animal chaplain, I knew in my heart I had found home. I consider it a privilege and an honor to do this ministry and guide others through some of the most joyous and heartbreaking times a pet's family can experience.

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