Brazilian priest opens church doors to homeless dogs, encourages parishioners to adopt them

Typically when you think about a place where you’d adopt an animal from, you’d think of a shelter or some sort of rescue organization. Chances are one of the last places you’d go to adopt a dog is a church.

But one priest in Brazil has opened his church to the many homeless dogs that roam the streets of Gravatá, Brazil and in the process he’s helped find some of these dogs a loving home.

Father João Paulo Araujo Gomes acts as a foster to some of the estimated 228,000 homeless dogs living in Gravatá.

He takes them in and they live with him in the rectory.

“They will always be able to enter, sleep, eat, drink their water and find shelter and protection, for this house is of God and they are of God,” he wrote on Facebook.

His mission to help stray dogs began in 2013 when he first arrived at Paróquia de Sant’Ana Gravatá.

“Some volunteers came to me selling cookies to help a project with stray animals,” Gomes told The Dodo. “I gave them time during masses for the advertising of the cookies and then I started to participate in the projects of this NGO.”

He quickly became involved in the project and began incorporating the dogs into his services. Eventually he welcomed them into his home.

“I began to adopt some animals who had been mistreated … always with the support of volunteers,” he said.

With the help of volunteers, Gomes has been able to feed, care for, and find a home for numerous dogs.

Facebook/PadreJoao Paulo Araujo Gomes

His unique way of helping animals has earned him praise both online and in his community.

Facebook/Winfried Niederer

“I helped several dogs with serious health problems. Some of them I brought to the parish house and they were later adopted. Three of them stayed with me. Today, they are my children and sleep in my bed,” he told Bored Panda.

Facebook/PadreJoao Paulo Araujo Gomes

Imagine if more churches around the world welcomed stray dogs and cats during their services and encouraged parishioners to adopt them. We might never have to worry about another homeless animal ever again.

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