The Church of Dog: An Extraordinary Rescue

When you think of a church, you think of nicely dressed people ready to give praise. Unfortunately St. Louis is home to many churches that are literally crumbling to the ground. Gone are the parishioners and jubilant choirs, replaced instead by crumbling walls and dangerous mold.  It is an eerie feeling when forced to rescue in what should be a place of hope and love. That is where Donna and I ended up this past week on a mission to save two precious souls.

Steamy hot is the best way to describe the weather.  Two young pups are sighted in the decaying church, but like most buildings in this condition, there were many escape routes. And boy did these dogs use them. The sight of humans only provoked pure terror and adrenaline as they darted out of the church and hit the streets in a full sprint. One black in color and the other tan with a broken front leg and both were malnourished. At 5 months old, they already knew how to be street dogs in a tough neighborhood with the skills to outsmart and run from their perceived enemy – man.

After a good hour-long chase, we decided to try another tactic. Sneak back to the church, block all the escape routes except one and then wait. Inside the church it was hard to breathe as the mold was definitely at a dangerous level, and the heat was intensified in this oven-like place. We both were drenched in sweat. We continued to wait, and it finally it happened. They went back into what was the sanctuary.

I was on the first floor checking under rotting pews and collapsing floors. Donna was upstairs where the conditions were similar. I hear her yell, “I have one cornered,” and so up I went to help.  The little girl was terrified as she sat between old kitchen appliances.  Once the slip lead was around her neck, I stayed with her to make friends so it would be easier to get her out. Donna resumed the search.

Now named Sister Mary Clarence (Sister Act), the last thing she wanted was for me to even touch her. With much time and patience, I finally got her back to the Jeep. Basking in the air-conditioned car, I headed back in. Donna had her eyes on the remaining injured pup in the one room we hadn’t checked before in this sprawling church.  He looked like a deer caught in the headlights as Donna’s flashlight lit up his scared little face. We got him!  We christen him Father Guido Sarducci (Saturday Night Live).

All four of us were safe in the Jeep and ready for the freedom ride. Donna and I gave each other a high five and hugged. Maybe God was still in this forgotten church, for it’s a miracle we were able to save both.  Both pups sat on my lap and eventually the kisses of gratitude started and have never stopped.

Guido will need financial help to fix his leg, and here is how you can help him. Please give to the Stracks Fund – our emergency medical fund.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. 

Psalm 56:3

Watch the rescue here:

Love and woof!

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