Portage pastor and his dog provide relief to those who are affected by disasters

2012-11-26T00:00:00Z Portage pastor and his dog provide relief to those who are affected by disastersBy Annette Arnold annette.arnold@nwi.com, (219) 548-4359 nwitimes.com

Tim Engel and Barnabas recently traveled to the East Coast to see the damage that was affecting people through Hurricane Sandy.

Engel, pastor at Holy Cross Church in Portage, was accompanied by Barnabas, his three-year-old Golden Retriever, a comfort dog.

"We were asked to go there with two other teams from Lutheran churches," said Engel. "We got to see the devastation in New Jersey and New York."

One of the places they visited was a shelter where displaced people were staying.

"We visited with the people there and they loved seeing Barney," he said. "We visited a preschool and just a number of schools. I remember people saying that they had lost everything and were living in a shelter."

Engel said people loved meeting Barney and couldn't get enough of him and the other dogs.

"I'm so used to seeing Barney every day that I underestimate his impact on people," said Engel. "We would go to relief centers and people would just hug the dogs. This was all such a tragedy for these people."

Engel said seeing this tragedy, as well as going to New Orleans a few years back and Henryville last year makes him thankful for all he has.

"I'm grateful for what is at home for me and we do what we can do to help these people," Engel said. "Even if it's just letting Barney be next to them for a few minutes."

Engel said he met a man named Michael who cares for children with autism at a preschool.

"I asked how he was doing and he had lost everything," Engel said. "His childlren were staying at a shelter and he was still going to work. But the flood waters had wiped out their home. This brief encounter I had with him would not have happened if I didn't have the comfort dog with me. I got to chat and pray with him briefly."

 

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