recently took in a new member that has everyone smiling. The church adopted 2-year-old golden retriever Shami last spring from the Lutheran Church Charities.
Shami began her training as a comfort dog when she was only 5 weeks old. Her presence in the church and community is meant to spread a little joy. Eighteen trained handlers within the congregation take Shami to places such as nursing homes, schools and funerals. Pastor Doug Swanson said Shami is a great addition to funerals in particular, and that she is called a comfort dog for a reason. Shami is also present at most church services.
Congregation member Linda Ramey is Shami's primary caregiver. Shami could only be part of the church if someone agreed to take care of her at night. Ramey just could not say no.
“She's really easy; she's a good dog,” assured Ramey, as she beamed down at her pet.
Recently, Pastor Doug escorted Shami to The Birches Assisted Living Facility in Clarendon Hills. The pair held a service in the morning, followed by a visit to the residents downstairs. As Shami traveled around the room, smiles erupted on almost every face.
“I'll remember [Shami],” Lil Scarloon confided.
Pastor Doug explained that it was difficult to find Shami places to visit at first, but through word of mouth they are definitely building momentum.
“Everyone knows Shami,” Pastor Doug said.
The church is now receiving requests for Shami on a regular basis. Pastor Doug said she is always available to spread some happiness. If you would like to schedule Shami for an appearance, contact Pastor Doug Swanson of St. John Luteran Church at 630-969-7987.