MARRIOTT-SLATERVILLE -- When you ask the Rev. Michelle Perry, of First United Methodist Church, about her immediate family, she tells you first about her dog, Goose.
There's even a picture of the minister and her 6-year-old Weimaraner above her desk. On the frame are the words: "Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog."
So it was a natural move for Perry to make Goose part of her ministry, to include serving on the board of directors at St. Anne's Center. The homeless shelter will become the Lantern House when it opens its future home at 33rd Street and Pacific Avenue.
Goose's effort in that service was to start his own blog -- with the help of his owner -- designed to raise money for a pet park that will be included in the facility's new home.
The blog, gospelofgoose.blogspot.com, tells of Goose's life as well as the need for funds at the new pet park.
So far, officials estimate, the site has raised about $1,000 for the project.
The future pet park will include a fenced-in area with a covered section that will allow animals to stay out of the weather.
"We've had some people -- because their dogs couldn't come in -- not go in the shelter but stay outside, so they could be with their dogs for the night," Perry said.
"You can go there and there's people hanging out with their pets until the last possible minute, until they have to go in for the night."
And she related a story of lockers that were once dumped off outside the shelter.
"People would put their pets in these lockers," she said, noting that they would put blankets in the lockers to make their pets as comfortable as possible. "It would just break your heart."
But the blog and the project to raise money for the Lantern House pet park aren't the only ways Perry has included her dog in her ministry.
Goose goes to work with Perry several days a week. Perry says a number of the people she visits in their homes insist that she bring her four-legged friend with her.
"He just brings a lot of comfort to people," she said.
And Perry's church also has begun a unique service inspired by Goose. At 6 p.m. on the third Sunday of every month, the church offers a bring-your-dog-to-worship service.
"What an incredible worship that has been," Perry said. Last time the service was held, 19 dogs attended with their owners.
"Half the people that came, I had never seen before," Perry said. "They felt comfortable going to church because their dogs could come with them."
And Perry said some of the dogs sang along when it was time to do the hymns.
The service has inspired others across the country to want to do the same thing. Perry said she got an email last week from a man in Georgia who wanted to start a similar service.
Perry also works with youths and with others who wish to discuss their life issues.
"Sometimes you are more approachable when he (Goose) is around," she said.
Perry met Goose when she was shopping at a pet store for a mat for turtles.
"I came in for a mat and came out with Goose," she said.
Before deciding to adopt Goose, Perry was made aware that Goose had been abandoned twice in his short life, and she wanted to rescue him from all that.
But Perry soon learned that Goose had the ability to rescue her right back.
Perry struggles with Type I diabetes, which at times, when her blood sugars and medicines are off, can put her into a stupor or even a coma.
She said there have been many instances when Goose prevented such outcomes.
"He licks me or pushes on me to get me up to fix the problem," she said. "Often, I don't want to get up, but he makes me."
And it was Goose's separation anxiety that led Perry to meet someone else who would inspire them both.
Perry said she always took Goose to work with her when her church was in an older building in Ogden.
"Since I've had him, he's always been with me wherever I go," she said.
But three and a half years ago, when the congregation moved to its new home at 1339 W. 400 North in Marriott-Slaterville, she didn't want to bring her dog as often. That's when she started leaving him home a few days a week.
The prospect of staying home alone upset Goose. One time, while he was locked out in the yard, Goose broke down the door of the house.
"He crashed through the front door trying to find me," Perry said.
That's when Perry discovered Vickie King and her Canine Country Club, where Goose hangs out while Perry is at work without him.
"(King) spent a lot of time with him that first week to make him feel comfortable," Perry said.
And then last fall, King suggested, in an offhand way, that Perry start a blog about her dog.
"She said (her dog) Burt told Goose he should have his own blog," Perry said.
That opened Perry up to an "amazing" new world she didn't know existed.
Perry said she discovered that many people have made a difference in the world by writing blogs for their dogs on a site called Blog Village.
And now, with Goose's site, Perry has become one of them.