Dog church at Springville Presbyterian

Springville’s Debby McDonald holds JT, a 1-year-old Pomeranian. JT and Debby attend church together the first Sunday of each month at Springville Presbyterian.

Debby McDonald has lived in Springville the past 11 years. In that time, she has been a member of Springville Presbyterian Church.

Last month while celebrating Epiphany, the church started something new -- a dog-friendly service. Plans are to continue the dog-friendly service the first Sunday of each month for six months.

Frankie Tatum, clerk of session at the church, said if it was successful, they would look at continuing it past six months.

McDonald’s husband died in September 2016.

“Before he died, we talked about getting a dog, and I had wanted a dog,” she said.

McDonald got a dog after her husband died, a Pomeranian that she named JT.

“About two days after I got JT, he got sick,” she said. “I was having some separation anxiety about leaving him at the vet, and it was about the time I was wanting to start back to church. When I did start back to church, I brought JT with me.”

McDonald said the church pianist, Angela Wier, had heard of a dog-friendly church in Tennessee.

“She started the work in progress,” McDonald said. “This past summer, we had a dog adoption and a dog blessing.”

Jan. 7, 2018, was the first Sunday a dog-friendly service was held. McDonald said JT enjoyed it.

“He enjoyed seeing the other dogs,” she said. “The other dogs were very well-behaved. All total, there were seven dogs in attendance. The people in attendance who did not bring dogs responded very well. Back when we had the dog blessing, one member said she had never had this much fun in church.”

McDonald said attendance was up at the church because they tried something new.

McDonald said JT just turned 1. She added that JT stands for Just Trouble during the week and James Titus on Sunday.

Tatum said the dog-friendly service brings excitement to the church.

“It also brings in people just out of curiosity, but once they get here, they hear what we have to say,” Tatum said. “We just want the community to know that we are not a dead church. We still have service here and our doors are open.”

Adult Sunday school is at 9:45 a.m. while morning worship is at 11 a.m. This Sunday is dog-friendly service starting at 11 a.m.

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