I was raised as a Catholic, but am no longer practicing. Nevertheless, when I visit my mom--as Stan, Allie and I did this past weekend--I occasionally attend Mass with her. Masses at my mom's church actually can be somewhat enjoyable, even to me, because one of the frequent attendees is a visually impaired woman with her service dog, a male Golden Retriever who looks a lot like Allie.
The woman and her dog were there yesterday, and a gesture she made actually brought tears to my eyes. There is a point in the Mass where the priest directs the members of the congregation to offer "a sign of peace" to each other. Generally this consists of shaking the hands of the people of surrounding you in your pew and saying something like "peace be with you." The woman, however, chose to take that moment to bend down, give her dog some strokes and whisper something in his ear. I have no idea what she actually said, of course, but I'd like to think that she was thanking him for his service to her.
And speaking of thanks and service and peace: today is Memorial Day, so it's a good time to thank those who serve our country overseas--be they servicemen, service women, or military service dogs.