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Spiritual Storytelling: Pets are paw-sitively our friends fur-ever! | Culture

Pets have been said to be the heroes of our childhood stories, the guardians of our home and the keepers of our hearts. With a tendency to mimic their owners and make your heart melt, no matter how small or large your beloved animal is, they become family.

Chaplain Doug McMahon, director of religious life , holds spiritual storytellings called “Spirit and Pet Life” every Thursday at 5 pm by the Chickee Huts with Maureen Connors, a member of the Spiritual Life council.

“It’s a time for students to share their stories and connect together in spirit, serving as an intersection of spiritual and pet life,” McMahon said. He reminds everyone that being religious is not necessary to participate in spiritual events.

As Connors led the storytelling by reading movie quotes and Native American sayings, the group of a dozens shared with each other their most touching memories of their own pets.

“Storytelling is a powerful thing that we often forget about,” Connors said. “Stories have the power to take care of us.”

First-year Alexa Mailoux recalled when her family got their dog last summer, after being without one for six or seven years.

“It really brought the whole family together,” Mailloux said. “I couldn’t remember the last time all four of us went on a hike together. But we all went because we all wanted to see her.”

Luis Pacheco, religious life student coordinator, shared the story of how he came into possession of his border-collie.

“I’ll never forget the feeling of driving all the way down to Mexico to pick her up,” Pacheco said. “She was just this little thing that wouldn’t stop moving. Then when we put her in the crate and into the car she just sat down and stared at us. She didn’t want to be in the cage anymore, she only wanted to lay on my sister even though she had only known us for barely an hour.”

The discussion also focused on how pets shaped our childhoods and become an extension of our families.

“I was an only child growing up so I thought of my dogs as an extension of the family. They were my brothers and sisters,” Alexa Bilyak, religious life student coordinator, said. “When I was a baby I had a dog, Lacey, who was kind of like a second mom to me. She would even bark at my mom whenever she heard me crying…that gentleness really rubbed off on me as a kid.”

Campus Ministries will continue hosting spiritual storytelling events throughout the semester every Thursday at 5 pm by the Chickee Huts. To keep up with other events held by campus ministries, follow their instagram at @eckerd_religiouslife.

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