By Dr. Becker
Before her death a few months ago, Maria Margherita Lochi attended mass every day of the week at Santa Maria Assunta Church in San Donaci, Italy. Accompanying her was a 7-year-old rescued German Shepherd mix, Tommy, who sat quietly at her feet during services.
According to her friends, Mrs. Lochi had opened her home to several strays over the years, but she and Tommy shared a special bond.
Now That His Owner Is Gone, Tommy Attends Mass on His Own
When she died recently, Mrs. Lochi's funeral was fittingly held at Santa Maria Assunta. Tommy attended along with the rest of the mourners. And every day since then, the dog has appeared at the church in time for mass.
"He's still coming to mass even after Maria's funeral," says Father Donato Panna. "He's there every time I celebrate mass and is very well behaved. He doesn't make a sound."
While some people don't believe church is any place for a dog, Father Panna, who lost his own canine companion recently, can't bring himself to force Tommy to leave during mass. Fortunately, church leaders and most of the congregation enjoy having the well-mannered dog in attendance.
Church Community Assumes Role as Tommy's Foster Family
Since Mrs. Lochi's death, the church community has pulled together to foster Tommy. Father Panna is confident someone will offer the dog a new forever home soon, but in the meantime, everyone in the village sets out food for him.
Tommy's return to church every day, hoping to see his deceased owner in the pew she once occupied, is a testament to his devotion to her… and to the intensity of the bond so many of us share with our precious canine companions.