Eunice Mauldin loves her dogs; she just couldn’t vaccinate them.
She lost Snowball to ill health, but a free clinic at Trinity Family Ministries near her home ensured that Pablo, her 2-year-old Pomeranian, would be just fine.
“She can’t pay her power bill, so certainly she can’t pay for her dog to get a shot,” says Mike Campbell, a leader at the Mobile, Ala. church of about 65 attendees.
Campbell cares about the poor. Volunteers of Delta Dogs, an outreach for pets in distressed neighborhoods, care about dogs of the poor. The two, familiar with each other’s work, united for the dog clinic at Trinity.
“I’m not going to say that anyone had a spiritual experience,” Campbell says of the two-hour Saturday event he calls “a real pocketbook-need for poor folks.”
Law requires vaccination for Mobile’s four-legged residents living inside city limits, but Campbell says most pets treated that day had never before received vaccines or seen a veterinarian.
“It is extremely needed,” Campbell says of the care.
Three veterinarians treated 37 dogs and advocated spaying and neutering. Delta Dogs volunteers also gave owners free leashes and dog food. Trinity church members held dogs, carried dog food for recipients and met neighbors.
Many people seeking help for their pet already knew Campbell because of his dog.
Campbell’s middle-class family moved into the poorer neighborhood for the sake of the gospel. His dog Toby, the church’s unofficial mascot, is his four-legged tool for meeting people on walks.
The clinic was just another step.
“It takes a lot of time to earn people’s trust,” he says.
Trinity leaders sidestep flash-in-the-pan excitement and big Sunday productions to pursue lifelong relationships. They say they’ll wait even if results take years.
“We desire to be a faithful presence over a very long time,” Campbell says.
But they’ll take a quick return on their work, too.
One neighbor attended Trinity after the clinic. Others saw again that Trinity members care, and relationships formed.
It was an unusual event, but it brought people to the church, Campbell says. “And we made friends.”