When I was a young teenager, my Dad owned a Sunoco gas station that was open 7 days a week. The station was located on a street with several stores, a bank, a pharmacy, and a couple of restaurants.  Situated just a couple of blocks away was the Catholic Church that our family attended.

My brother, age 16, was the mechanic, my sister, 12 and I, 14, did the bookkeeping and miscellaneous filing.   It was a real family affair.  Another big part of the family was our dog, King.

King was a large black dog, a combination of shepherd and whatever. We called him our “guard dog.”  He looked more fierce than he was.  He greeted customers all day long just as my family members did and was well-known in the neighborhood.  He would follow us everywhere and often went along for a ride if my Dad had to go on a service call.

On Sundays, my Dad opened the garage at 7:00am. The morning masses were at 8:00am and 11:00am.  When the time came, my Dad would commandeer King and tell us to keep him in the garage so that he could walk the couple of blocks to attend the early mass.  My brother, sister and I would attend the later mass.  As was the norm, Dad arrived at the church and took a place on the end of a row about midway to the altar.  This church had a loft where the overflow of attendees could sit.  Just so happens this particular Sunday a relative of ours and his two children, ages 7 and 9, were seated in the loft and had a great view of the rest of the church.

As the mass progressed, lo and behold, who comes wandering down the center aisle of the church but King. As my Dad was dressed in his blue Sunoco uniform, King had no trouble finding him.  Rather than cause a fuss, Dad just instructed King to lie down next to him, and he did as he was told till the end of the service.  Dad noticed that there was flutter of activity coming from the loft, but he did not pay much attention to it.

After mass, Dad and King met our relative and children outside. That is when the relative told Dad that when his little daughter saw King come into church, she turned to her father and said in a very loud whisper “Oh My, I did not know that King was Catholic!”  There was a lot of muffled laughter for a few minutes.