The snores are not from bored church goers. The source is Gemma– a black Labrador -Hoke has been bringing to Sunday Mass for months.
“She goes up and down the aisle greeting parishioners. When I begin my sermon, she lays down next to pews and sometimes falls asleep and snores loudly,” Hoke said.
He and the parishioners don’t mind. The people have loved and embraced the senior dog just as Hoke has.
“She feels very much at peace with the congregation. This is the way we all should be with God. At peace,” he said.
Gemma was adopted by the community in July 2010 after the death of her owner, Samuel C. Ranck. He was a lifelong Milton resident and former Northumberland County judge.
Gemma lived with other families before Ranck’s friend and neighbor, Paul Boiardi, volunteered to take care of the 14-year-old Lab. Boiardi and his neighbor, Billie Jean Albertson, took turns in taking careof Gemma until she was no longer able to. Then, Boiarditurned to Hoke, who whole-heartedly accepted Gemma in his life.
For about a year, they’ve been sharing custody of the charming senior Lab.
“She’s comfort for me at night,” said Hoke.
The tag-team insists thatGemma is happiest in church.
According to Hoke,he’s noticed Gemma get antsy when she thinks it’s a Sunday and she isn’t being taken to Mass.
“It’s the only place the dog wants to be,” said Boiardi.
Ranck originally named the pooch Jenna. She was renamed Gemma after the Catholic saint Gemma Galgani by Hoke.
“I fell in love with the dog knowing Sam all those years, and now she’s turned out to be a joy for everyone,” Boiardi said. “She’s now the whole parish’s dog.”
Source: The Daily Item