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Pets help fill pews at Florida church

May 20, 2012 at 3:05 PM

CORAL GABLES, Fla., May 20 (UPI) -- A Florida pastor said if bringing dogs helps bring people to church then who is he to argue.

Pastor David Hughes preached the good word to 1,350 people and nearly 500 dogs Saturday at Dog Day Weekend services at the Church of the Glades in Coral Springs.

"To bring someone to Jesus, doggone it, we'll have a dog service," Hughes told the congregation in the first of two pet friendly services this weekend. "Grab your dog and grab your Bible."

Saturday's service was a veritable dog show of mutts from teacup poodles to towering Irish wolfhounds, the South Florida Sun Sentinel said. And Noah would have been proud of the other guests, which included eagles and a 600-pound lion.

Hughes, who brought along his Australian shepherd Rev. Bob Diesel Dog, said man's best friend had a lot in common with the values of loyalty, love and protectiveness. "One term that theologians use for Jesus is the 'Hound of Heaven,'" he said. "I like that."

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