All Quiet in the Chapel

A special service for a special person and not a growl to be heard.

by - Posted on Jul 25, 2014

Sharon and her dog Ginger

Earlier this year, Guidepost’s longtime administrative assistant, Sharon Azar, retired. It was a sad day at the office. Sharon is one of the kindest people you’ll ever meet, known for her spunky style, generous spirit and love of animals. Really, she was like the St. Francis of our floor!

Before she left, I sat down with her over lunch to discuss miracles. “I’ve got a story for you,” she told me, a twinkle in her eye. “This happened many, many years ago, but I’ll never forget it…”

At the time, I had three dogs–Franz, Barney and Ginger. The two boys, Franz and Barney, didn't see eye to eye, and I had great difficulty with their barking and frequent fights. On our walks, we stayed away from dog parks because they couldn’t socialize with other dogs. No matter what I did, Franz and Barney wouldn’t calm down.

Finally, I found a dog trainer, Robin Kovary, who agreed to work with me. Robin was wonderful. She’d helped develop a pet therapy program at St. Vincent's hospital in New York City, where she brought dogs in to comfort the patients. She was just as loving with my dogs, and right away the two of us became friends.

Shortly after, though, Robin passed away from breast cancer. St. Vincent’s had a memorial service for her in their chapel, and Robin’s friends and family were encouraged to bring the dogs she’d worked with. I wanted to go…but how could I walk into a chapel with my dogs? Franz and Barney were ready to pick a fight at any moment.

So I devised a plan. I’d go late and stand in the back that way I could make a quick escape the moment Franz and Barney started making a fuss.

I walked into the chapel the day of the memorial, holding on extra tight to the leashes. The pews were packed with large, medium and small dogs of every breed. At least 100 dogs in all! It should have been a madhouse. But it was eerily still, so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Maybe I shouldn’t go in, I thought nervously.

Just then, an usher pointed to a seat smack dab in the middle of the chapel. I tried to explain that my dogs weren't social and that I should really stay in the back. But, before I knew it, the usher had led me to the empty seat and I had no choice but to sit down. I was terrified, certain my dogs were going to cause a ruckus and ruin the sacred space.

What happened next, though, left me mystified. All three of my dogs sat down on the floor with a quiet obedience I’d never seen before. They didn’t bark at any of the other dogs or growl. They simply stared at the speakers at the pulpit. Very reverently, very sweetly. The chapel remained quiet the whole time, an entire hour. All the dogs, including my own, were rapt with attention.

Everyone in that room loved Robin and her spirit was clearly there. We were all feeling sadness and respect and love. The dogs felt it too. It was a magical, miraculous moment unlike anything I’d ever seen.

Have you ever experienced a miraculous moment with your pet? Share your story below!

View Comments