Many of today’s homeless spend their days and nights searching for a safe haven and a filling meal. Seeking shelter from the storm. A good number of these find singular solace in their companion animals, easily giving up a proffered meal to their loyal partner. Who among us hasn’t read and cried over the plight of a homeless person who, in refusing to abandon their companion animal, is now living with them in their car or on the street? There are never enough human shelters who open their doors, their pantries and their hearts, to the canine companions of the homeless.
Recently, Pastor David Timothy, in Dallas, Texas, along with many members of his church, have thrown open their arms, and their doors, and now welcome the homeless members of their community, both human and canine, into the Soupmobile Church.
And it isn’t just on the day when the Blessing of the Animals takes place. This community, with the encouragement of Pastor Timothy, sees the inherent value and goodness of welcoming in all members to their non-denominational church, whether they enter on two legs or four.
Initially, acceptance of the furry flock wasn’t easy for everyone. According to Pastor Timothy, “we did take some heat a few months ago when we announced we would be allowing dogs in church. Some people said it was ‘un-church like’, a few said it would detract from the church service itself. Some said it was offensive.”
In reality, quite the opposite occurred, and membership blossomed. Pastor Timothy tells ShelterMe that ‘the majority of regular members “got it”. They understood that that there was no safe place to leave the dogs behind and they ‘got it’ that while dogs in church may be a bit unusual, the reason they were being allowed made sense. They ‘got it’ that sometimes the conventional rules just don’t apply.’ And most members have embraced the idea!
Word has spread that Soupmobile Church, who serves more than 250,000 hot meals to the area’s homeless each year, offers job assistance, counseling, food and clothing, was now a safe haven for Dallas homeless and their pets. The dogs who attend are always well behaved, and their humans truly appreciate the church service when they know their companion is also safe, right there by their side. The sanctuary is a god-send for these people who have very, very little else in the way of comfort, other than their pets.
Their efforts are supported by the community-at-large, with donations of pet food coming in on a regular basis; the food always reaching the intended recipients. Though cats have yet to appear, they would also be welcome at the Soupmobile Church.
Pastor Timothy, AKA ‘Soupman Pastor‘, is convinced that the Soupmobile Church, which may have been too out-of-the-box for some conventional churchgoers, would be fully appreciated by Jesus, as ‘he, himself was pretty unconventional!’ The smiles of the homeless, sitting safely alongside their pets, are more than enough to convince even the strongest naysayer, that this idea should have the blessing of everyone. To learn more about the Church, click here!
Follow ShelterMe.tv for more great stories like this, and catch this episode of the ShelterMe series, where we follow a pair of stray dogs who are rescued from the streets and become beloved family pets.