He made his way into the church unseen but when he was finally spotted, the pastor did his best to take him out. It was no use. The dog had more reason to be there than he did.
He sat down in front of the congregation motionless. His eyes fixed on something ahead, his head tilted down. He looked possessed. What was he looking at? The mystery behind the church and the dog engulfed the town.
Pastor Gregory Malroy had been giving sermons in the Santa Maria Assunta church for more than a decade. He had seen all types of people pass in and out of his church doors – and he could name most of them.
Pastor Malroy was a kind and devoted man who spent the majority of his days being of service to others. He provided sermons, confessions and helped out with numerous charity events and organizations around the town. As far as everyone knew, he was a real-life saint.
The town of San Donaci was small. It was a place where everybody knew everybody so when one small mystery happened to find its way into the church, superstition and rumours engulfed the town.
When the dog first entered Pastor Malroy’s church, he tried to lead him outside. He was a German Shepherd, he seemed old and very stubborn. Under pressure to start the sermon, he let the dog stay. Churchgoers laughed at the adorable dog but there was nothing funny about this.
The dog was calm and quiet during church. He didn’t bother anyone. Instead, he just sat down and hung his head, staring at the left side aisle of the church goers.
He was so well behaved that when the service ended, people came up to pet him. Pastor Malroy did too. “You’re not so bad, ay!”, Pasto Malroy said, taking a liking to him. So when the dog kept showing up to church again and again, Pastor Malroy was more than willing to let him stay. But then he noticed something strange.
He didn’t think much of it at first but when he saw the dog return to the exact same pointed position every day, he wondered what on earth he was so fixated on. He remembered hearing people whispering about the dog’s strange behavior and joking that it was like he was looking at the dead. But standing at the altar, behind the dog, he couldn’t see any of this so looked at the church’s security cameras to find out.
What Pastor Malroy discovered left him speechless.
The motionless dog looked possessed, staring mindlessly into the congregation. At this stage, Pastor Malroy had formed a deep fondness for his furry devoted churchgoer and what he saw made him worry.
Was the dog seeing something? Or was he blind? The pastor knew the dog’s owner wasn’t at the church. No one had claimed him when he asked around so he took it upon himself to bring the old dog to the vet. Maybe they could explain his strange behavior.
The pastor brought the dog to the vet and told them why they were there. The vet soon determined that there was nothing wrong with his eyes. In fact, he was perfectly healthy. He sent the pastor and the dog on their way but just before they left, the pastor spotted a peculiar note on the dog’s form.
The note stopped him in his tracks and had him scrambling for his pen.
He was microchipped! His name was Tommy. He was 12 years old. The pastor scribbled down the phone number and called it straight away. He tried three times but there was no answer.
Deflated, the pastor arrived back at the church with Tommy. It was time to close up the church but Tommy wouldn’t leave. After the pastor struggled to get Tommy out, he waited at the door. He was waiting for Pastor Malroy.
The pastor knew Tommy wanted something from him. He approached him, at which point Tommy got up and turned around. He stood for a moment, looking back to see if the pastor was following him.
The pastor looked at him curiously. He knew he wanted him to follow, so he did. Little did he know, Tommy was leading him into something he wouldn’t soon forget.
He followed Tommy around the empty dark streets, passed lit up houses and street lamps to the top of an old dusty road. The house he was walking towards sat on top of a small hill. One dull light beamed from the bottom right window.
Tommy sat outside the front door waiting expectantly. And just like clockwork, the door opened.
Pastor Malroy couldn’t deny that he was feeling a little uneasy. But he wanted to meet Tommy’s owner. Did they know he went to church everyday? But when she opened the door, it wasn’t what the pastor expected.
A friend of Tommy’s owner opened the door. He had never seen her before. After the pastor introduced himself, she told him Tommy’s story.
Pastor Malroy found out that Tommy’s owner had sadly passed away some time ago. His owner’s name was Lochi. She was a quiet woman who kept to herself but one thing she was known for was taking in a number of stray dogs every now and again.
Tommy was Lochi’s third dog to rescue and the two created an incredible bond that she didn’t experience with her other rescues.
She found Tommy when he was 2 years old, abandoned in a field in a remote part of the countryside. He had no collar and no microchip. He was in a bad condition so she immediately took him home.
With her two other adopted rescues long gone, she was able to focus all of her attention on Tommy. From then on, he was always by her side. He even sat outside the church entrance and waited for her whenever she went to Mass.
When she passed away, her friend recalled how Tommy was so heartbroken that he followed her coffin into Pastor Malroy’s church. Not one of the mourners had the heart to prevent him from entering the church so instead, they let him join them at the funeral service.
The town mayor said that now, all the locals want to adopt Tommy and he quickly became “everyone’s dog” from the butcher’s to the baker’s – they all take care of him.
Lochi’s friend told Pastor Malroy that after Lochi died, whenever the heartbroken dog heard the sound of the church bells, she’d find him at the church, perhaps hoping his owner may appear again or because it felt familiar to go. Tommy would sit in front of the altar, facing the congregation. Priests would even descend into the aisles to give churchgoers the Eucharist so that ol’ Tommy wouldn’t be disturbed.
The next story is about a remarkable dog who refused to be parted from his owner.
For Dale, things had been rough over the past year, but it was nothing compared to what his wife, Nancy, was going through.
The hospital visits were endless and drained a bit of her soul away every time. He did everything he could to make sure she at least felt as comfortable as possible. But he did have an extra set of hands … or paws.
This last visit had taken more out of her than normal. So, after he had tucked her into her favorite spot on the sofa, he rushed to make Nancy her favorite cup of tea.
Out of the corner of his eye he saw their two dogs Sissy and Barney already snuggled up to his wife, comforting her. They could definitely tell how ill she was.
They were both his and Nancy’s fur babies.
However, Sissy, a miniature schnauzer, clear loved her human mom the most. In fact, in a few days, this dog was going to show just how much she adored her owner and what dangerous lengths she would take to show that love.
Dale knew that surgery was inevitable.
It was going to give Nancy a shot at beating the cancer and letting them spend the rest of their lives together. It had been hours of anxious pacing in Cedar Rapids Mercy Medical Center before the doctor came back to tell him everything was okay. He finally allowed himself to smile.
It had only been three days since he had come home to take care of the dogs. But he could tell they were antsy. They wanted their mom. Sissy most of all.
On the morning of the fourth day, Dale opened the door to let the dogs out for a bathroom break. But when it came time to bring them in again, he felt his heart stop. Sissy was missing.
Somehow, the little pooch had managed to dig a hole under their fence and squeeze her way under.
The pounding in his heart went into overdrive. Their dog was out, who knows where, with plenty of traffic and other dangers. Dale’s mind raced with worst-case scenarios and he pictured the devastated look on Nancy’s face. He had to find Sissy before something happened.
Dale jumped in his car with Barney and started his search.
She was a small dog, so she couldn’t have gone too far. She would probably have gone to their favorite park or ice cream shop that served doggie-cones – anywhere she was used to going with Nancy. Tears streamed down his cheeks as he turned down another block. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack.
A few hours later, his phone rang. It was Nancy.
His hands shook as he pressed the button. What was he going to tell her? Should he tell her at all or wait until she got home? Maybe Sissy would be back by then. “Honey,” Nancy said. “How did our dog get to the hospital?” Dale stepped on the gas and rushed to Mercy Medical. Exactly how far did Sissy run?
From their home to the hospital was over 20 blocks!
Nancy and Dale had no idea how their little angel had managed to find her way to a place she had never been before and with no scent to help her. She had even walked through the emergency room’s doors on her own and scouted the hallways until she found Nancy’s room.
It wasn’t just Dale and Nancy that were in shock. The entire staff heard about the amazing journey and their new visitor.
This fuzzy pooch was on a clear mission. She had traversed rush hour traffic and a nearly impossible path to get to her human mom. It was clear how much she loved Nancy.