Grief Stricken Dog Attends Daily Mass

Grief-Stricken Dog

Story at-a-glance -

  • Tommy, a 7-year-old German Shepherd mix, was a stray wandering the fields behind Maria Lochi’s home when she rescued him. Dog and owner shared a special bond, and each day, Tommy would walk with Mrs. Lochi to church and sit quietly at her feet during mass.
  • Mrs. Lochi passed away not long ago. Tommy attended the funeral at the church with all the other mourners. And every day since, he has walked there on his own and arrived in time for mass.
  • Tommy sits quietly at the front of the church during services. Not only have the church’s leaders and congregation embraced the dog’s presence in their house of worship, but the entire village has become Tommy’s foster family.

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.

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