Anyone who knows me knows that I am a cat person. That doesn’t mean I have any grudges against dogs, I just don’t always want to match their energy level. However, over the past few months, I have realized that dogs can be great evangelists.
As part of the missionary project, we are matched with a mentor that we meet with a few times a month. These meetings can range from intellectual reading and discussion to asking for advice about ministry and life to bonding over random things. The woman that I have had the blessing to meet with has two adorable dogs, Quimby and Rosie. With the warmer weather, we have started taking Rosie for walks on our meetings which led to some beautiful encounters.
One such encounter happened a few Fridays ago. Whenever people go for a walk with a dog, there seems to be an open invitation to start a conversation because people love to greet dogs. We were out walking with Rosie when we crossed paths with a woman who was also walking her dog. As the dogs greeted one another, we started talking with the woman about her puppy and about Rosie when suddenly my mentor and the woman realized that they knew each other from walks in the past.
Conversation quickly turned to the woman’s previous dog, who had recently passed away. We were able to listen to her story about the dog’s illness and passing and how she had taken time to grieve and heal before buying a new puppy. With the pandemic and winter, it seemed like this woman had not been able to grieve or celebrate the new puppy with anyone. After about fifteen minutes of chatting with this woman, we said farewell and continued on with Rosie. It was such a beautiful moment of entering into the sorrows and joys of life with a stranger, all because we took a dog on a walk.
Moral of the story is that dogs can lead to powerful encounters with people where we are able to show God’s love to strangers simply by acknowledging and listening to them. While I am still a cat person, I have found a new appreciation for dogs.
Thanks for reading all the way to the bio! My name is Mariah Navis, and I am a first-year missionary with Brew City Catholic at UW-Milwaukee. This year has brought so many blessings, especially joy, and I am so excited to share some of them with you!