Brock, The Canine Companion I Never Knew I Needed


Seven years ago I found myself knocking around in a huge rectory living all by myself. When I first arrived at that rectory there were three full-time priests living and working in the parish – and within ten months of my arriving we shrunk down to me. Just me. Both of the other priests were assigned to other diocesan ministries and moved away.

I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t made to live all by myself. I grew up in a large Irish family, and I have truly enjoyed living in one intentional Christian community after another throughout my entire adult life. In May of 2007 I brought 8lb Brock home to my rectory, and together we formed a family. Brock became the canine companion I never knew I needed! Like Velcro, Brock went everywhere I went, and to this day he comes with me every day to work and simply helps me and others by his calm, loving, nurturing presence.


The other day one of the preschool children was having a particularly rough separation from his Mom. This little guy took hold of the finger of his preschool teacher and led her down the hall to my office where he sat down on the floor on one side of the baby gate, with Brock on the other. This little boy slowly calmed himself down just by being in Brock’s presence. He never touched Brock, but sat near enough that he sensed Brock somehow cared. Brock isn’t a formal therapy dog, but I’m proud of the way he instinctively knows if a human is in need.

One of our staff members is petrified of dogs, and it’s been so cool to see how over time she has learned to trust that Brock really is a large marshmallow who happens to resemble the breed he comes from. Brock simply can’t help that he looks like a police dog!

On Sunday, October 6th, at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, we’ll gather to bless our pet friends at Noon. After our 10:30 a.m. service please run home and bring your pet back to EEC. I’d be honored, along with you, to ask God to continue blessing you through the love of your pet companion.

In case you are unable to join us for a blessing, here’s one for you to do at home:

Blessed are you, Lord God,
maker of all living creatures.
On the fifth and sixth days of creation,
you called forth fish in the sea,
birds in the air and animals on the land.
You inspired St. Francis to call all animals
his brothers and sisters.
We ask you to bless this animal.
By the power of your love,
enable it to live according to your plan.
May we always praise you
for all your beauty in creation.
Blessed are you, Lord our God, in all your creatures! Amen.


Peace friends,


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  • Marianne says:

    One of the things I miss about your absence from GS is Brock’s absence. So happy to read this story about him!

  • Marmy-Margaret Green says:

    I love the story of the preschooler calming himself by sitting in Brock’s presence. We don’t have pets, and I’ve never wanted one, but I have seen the marvelous benefits they bring to human lives.

  • Cheryl Lamport says:

    As I write this note Annie is on one side of me and Franklin is on the other side. They are the joy of our lives! They stay right with Joe when he is in his recliner.
    Such love! I still read your blog and enjoy knowing what’s going on in your life.
    KP is doing great! God Bless! Cheryl

  • Pinkey Carney says:

    Hi Chuck, Thank you for bringing attention to the the dogs of our lives. I received a note after our wonderful schnauzer, Pfeffer, died that I have kept all these years..”.If we measure lives not in time but in grace, in the joy with which they are lived, and in the love they leae behind, then we have much to learn from our dogs.” When my son was a premature baby and needed to have feedings every hour guess who was with me every time that baby was fed…. Pfeffer has been gone for over 23 years…not a day goes that I don’t think of my loyal and loving friend. Hugs to you and pets and hugs to Brock.

  • Bill Zaccagnino says:

    Brock is a very special dog. Even though he is a German Shepherd (aka police dog), and some may be leery around him, he has only love in his heart.

  • Dottie Skeens says:

    I remember when you first brought Brock into the office and how happy you were. He was all puppy, but you lovingly, patiently and consistently helped him to become the amazing dog he is. No wonder…he takes after his owner.

  • terry says:

    we will try and bring SPENCER for the blessing .. he needs it …LOL

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