Thursday, August 30, 2007

Leona Helmsley Leaves 12 Million Dollars to Dog


I completely understand how Leona Helmsley adored her dog - many of us love ours deeply, too. I just wish she would have shown her love for all dogs, or even all animals, in general in her will, and not just her own particular dog. Imagine how many pets could have been spayed and neutered for that amount of money, or how many dogs could have been saved from the evils of dogfighing. Her little shih tzu will not know the difference between a diamond-encrusted collar, and one bought from Target. I hope the brother she appointed to be her dog's caretaker, will keep other animals in mind as well. What is good for the animal kingdom, is good for one cute little spoiled pooch.

Nancy J. Cronk

Monday, August 27, 2007

Comparing dogfighting to other evils misses the point.

I think it is a sad commentary that we, as a culture, our using the Vick story to compare "What's worse?" "What's worse", we ask, " carelessly fathering illegitimate children, or dogfighting?". "Dogfighting or rape?" "Dogfighting or racism?" "Dogfighting or hateful nationalism?" "Dogfighting or (fill in the blank)....?"

Dogfighting is one more piece of evidence our country is in need of a spiritual transformation (please note I said spiritual and not necessarily religious). Animals are sentient beings - they feel pain, and they suffer, just like we do. They are not more important, or less important than human beings, but like human beings, they are important, too.

Every major faith teaches its followers to be responsible stewards of animals and the Earth. Please help us get the word out that caring for animals, just like caring for people, is an important part of just being a decent person and citizen. If we make this a priority, there will be no more dogfighting horror stories, and no more pointless comparisons of evils. Let us all rise, together, to be better people than we are today, shall we?

Chaplain Nancy Cronk

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Animal Chaplains Teach Us To Love Animals On World Animal Day

Animal Chaplains Teach Us To Love Animals On World Animal Day
From the Interfaith Association of Animal Chaplains

In what will look like a scene from the popular family movie, "Evan Almighty", dozens of Animal Chaplains around the world will bless hundreds, perhaps thousands of animals in many different settings on October 4 2007. At a pet cemetery on the east coast, to a city park in the desert, to a sandy beach on the west coast, they will walk in on four paws, fly in on a harness, and slither in on their bellies.

That day is World Animal Day, a day dedicated to honoring, blessing, and protecting animals all over the world. World Animal Day was founded at an ecologist's convention in Florence, Italy in 1931 as a way of highlighting the plight of endangered species. Since then, it has grown to encompass all kinds of animal life and has been widely celebrated around the world. October 4th was chosen as World Animal Day because it is also the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, a Catholic Church holiday which is often celebrated with an annual "blessing of the pets". Churches and synagogues in many faiths traditions have adopted "Pet Blessing Day" or "World Animal Day" in increasing numbers every year.

The Interfaith Association of Animal Chaplains prepares for World Animal Day by referring its members and visitors to the official World Animal Day website. The site provides ideas and resources to individuals, families, community groups and congregations everywhere. People can post their pledge for volunteering at a World Animal Day event. In addition to blessing pets, volunteers will work at animal shelters, zoos, rescues, and other nonprofit organizations. Dogs will be walked, cats will be brushed, horses will be groomed, and fish will enjoy freshly cleaned tanks. Donations will be given to animal welfare agencies, and pets will be adopted. School children will collect pet food to be donated to charities, and bake sales and car washes will be held as fundraising events. Veterinary clinics will hold free spay and neuter days, or may offer to vaccinate pets at no charge. All over the world, on the very same day, the well-being of animals will be on the minds of millions of people.

Founder and Chair of Animal, Chaplain Nancy Cronk, feels a day honoring animals is very important at a time when the headlines speak of animal cruelty such as athlete Michael Vick's alleged ties to illegal dog fighting. Animal Chaplains would like everyone to know that every major faith endorses the responsible stewardship of the earth and all of its creatures. "Deliberate harming of animals is in direct opposition to teachings in all of the major world faiths. Caring for animals is our global spiritual responsibility."

For more information about The Interfaith Association of Animal Chaplains, go to To get involved on World Animal Day, go to

(Permission is granted by Animal and the Interfaith Association of Animal Chaplains to post this article in full, or to use the information to write your own.)

Friday, July 20, 2007

Animal Chaplains

Welcome to Animal Chaplains blog! If you are an Animal Chaplain, Animal Ministry leader, animal lover, or spiritually-minded pet owner, we hope you will blog with us. I am the Chair of the Interfaith Association of Animal Chaplains, which you can find at If you have never heard of Animal Chaplains, or Animal Ministry, here is some background information to get you started.

What is Animal Ministry?

Animal Ministry has been around since the very first time a human being felt connected to animals. In each of the world's great faiths, there are important historical figures who were known for interpreting sacred scriptures to teach people to protect and honor animals. We are taught in every faith that we, as humans, are stewards of the wonders of Creation. It is a serious responsibility, and with it, can come great joy and self-discovery.

Interfaith Association of Animal Chaplains is a specialized ministry of Interfaith, listing dozens of independent Animal Chaplains around the world. Independent Animal Chaplains provide an array of services to the community. We can provide pet loss grief support and perform memorial services, pray for animals who are sick or injured, as well as many other services. We can come to a clinic to comfort the bereaved, hold hands (and hearts) during surgery or euthanasia, or perform a memorial service at the client's home, track or barn, or in a park. Our philosophy is gentle and respectful. Most of us have had pets of our own, and have sincere compassion for the difficult times pet owners sometimes face.

In addition to grief and loss services, independent Animal Chaplains can deliver guest sermons on the bond between animals and humans, and offer spiritual education and guidance regarding our responsibilities as human beings toward the other creatures of the Earth. Some Animal Chaplains visit nursing homes and hospitals with therapeutic animal assistants, while others may lead religious services where well-behaved pets are welcome. Still others run animal shelters, animal rescue organizations, or other non-profit organizations which benefit the animal kingdom. For a sermon explaining the role of the Animal Chaplain, please visit the website.

You can become an Animal Chaplain or Animal Ministry Leader, too.

Within each spiritual community or congregation, leaders can be trained in the field of Animal Ministry to offer Chaplain services and lead animal ministry groups. Interfaith Animal Chaplains now offers a course in beginning Animal Ministry. Upon graduation, if you are already an ordained member of the clergy, you will become an "Animal Chaplain". If you are not, your diploma will say "Animal Ministry Leader". Same class, different Diploma, depending on your role in your spiritual community. For ideas on how you can start an Animal Ministry within your congregation, please click on the "Start an Animal Ministry" link on

How It All Began - The History of Interfaith Animal Chaplains

In 2003, Chaplain Nancy started serving families and individuals in interfaith animal ministry informally through her work as a preschool teacher, religious school teacher, and Director of Religious Education, in a variety of interfaith religious settings. In her work with children and families, she found that a great deal of grief occurred surrounding the loss of a beloved pet, and some people did not have clergy members available to them who were responsive to the depth of their pain. Nancy offered the children she worked with opportunities to bless their pets, talk about their grief when pets died, and discuss whether or not animals go to Heaven. After being called to lead pet memorial services for friends she knew, she decided to search the Internet to see if others were doing similar work. Nancy was quite surprised to find a few other Animal Chaplains in various places. One Animal Chaplain, Rev. David James in New York, had been performing memorial services for animals for 15 years!

Meanwhile, California Rev. Sandraw Shaw, formerly of "Chaplain of the Pets", as well as an unknown number of other clergy members in the United States, were performing services for pet owners in a variety of settings. By 2003, Rev. Shaw had an extensive network of animal ministry contacts and lectured frequently in veterinary professional circles, as well as working full-time in her personal Christian-based animal ministry. Nancy and Sandra became friends in 2004, and Nancy became Sandra's student. Between Sandra's formal training program, and Nancy's interfaith mentoring, members of the clergy and congregation leaders from a variety of faiths have been instructed how to add animal ministry to their repertoire of services offered. Rev. Shaw has since retired, yet her legacy of love remains, as evidenced by the many animal memorial and pet ministry websites praising her efforts and leadership. Although Animal is not technically associated with the Chaplain of the Pets ministry, Rev. Shaw's dream of training new Animal Chaplains will always be known as an inspiration to all members of the clergy who do this work.

Interfaith Animal Chaplain Training

Since Rev. Shaw retired, numerous independent clergy members and other religious community leaders have asked Nancy how to become trained to do Interfaith Animal Chaplain work. Until now, Chaplain Nancy has individually mentored each person who has asked, and has instructed them on how to set up their own independent animal ministries. Due to the overwhelming response her Interfaith Animal Chaplains website has created, she is now offering an Animal Chaplain Training course (ACT) that is easily accessible to the public via the Internet. Books for the course can be easily purchased on-line from, volunteering is done in one's own community, and all other requirements can be fulfilled by correspondence and telephone. If you are interested in becoming an Animal Chaplain, or Animal Ministry Leader, please click here.

Services Commonly Provided by Interfaith Animal Clergy:
Memorial Services for families and friends at your home/barn/track/clinic.
Spiritual/Grief Counseling
Emotional support during Euthanasia or Surgery at a veterinary clinic
Pet Loss Grief Support Groups in pet stores, churches and veterinarian's clinics
Classes on Spirituality and Animals
Speeches, sermons or presentations to professional veterinary and religious organizations, by arrangement.

That is some general information. So, what do you think?