Dog Park Evangelism

Beagle Dog

Charles Brammall writes about how his beagle makes him an evangelist.

I’ll cut to the chase – get a dog! Every afternoon for the last 20 months I’ve taken our Beagle puppy George Washington to the local dog park. I have begun praying and aiming to get into conversations about Jesus with the same people I see every afternoon. I’ve seen them 610 times now, and if George lives to 15 (the average age for a Beagle), I will have seen them 5,475 times over the years. You certainly make non-Christian friends over that time, and begin to do other things with them outside the dog park as well. We have been invited to one couple’s for dinner, had 3 couples over to ours, been invited to the beach multiple times, and 3 ladies are coming to an evangelistic Paint and Sip with Chiq.  It’s a great way to make non-Christian friends if you don’t have any.

As I walk into the park each afternoon, I try to pray that I’ll have opportunities to tell new people I’m a Christian, and God has answered this prayer many times. Or that things will come up at their kids’ scripture that they have questions about, and their parents will say: “Why don’t we ask Charles (or Fiona, or Nicole, or Geoff – the other Christians) about that at the dog park this afternoon?”

 And in God’s great mercy, this has begun happening.  The other day, a lady I’ve become friends with there texted me:

“Hi Charles.

 I wanted to ask a wee favour. “J” (her eleven-year-old, high-functioning autistic daughter) has become quite fearful of what happens when we die and she worries it will all be black. I’ve talked to her about god (sic) and heaven and being reunited with loved ones, but wondered if you may have a chat with her when you are back from your trip.

Thank you


I replied:

“Sure! Love to [chat] with J. Poor little thing. It’ll put her mind at ease. This arvo or tomorrow arvo any good? Or should we have a little chat when we drop George (our puppy) off at your place? Or would you like me to write her a reassuring little note?

Would be a shame for the wee thing to be anxious for the next 2 weeks while we’re away? Your call.” 

She replied: “Maybe a little note as I can pin it to her wall for her to read when she is afraid at night. Only if you have time before you go though.”

 So I wrote her a little note about the Gospel/what happens when we die, which she now has on her wall. (It’s a bite-sized, child-friendly version of Anthony Brammall’s booklet Is Death the End, published by SMBC Press. The booklet is also a chapter in SMBC’s 1st Century Answers to 20th Century Questions.)

Anthony (same surname – yes, we are brothers) originally researched and wrote it because our dad, who was a keen, mature Christian, converted at Billy Graham in 1959, didn’t have assurance of salvation as he became more ill and neared death. So Anthony went over and spent the day with Dad [and Mum] and went through all the passages about assurance of salvation, to Dad’s delight. So the booklet and chapter came out of that. 

 I was telling Anthony about “Dog Park Evangelism”, and, apparently, it’s a “thing”. There’s a lady at his work who does it as well. You have to walk your dog every day anyway, or they tear up the house, so why not take them to the park instead? You invariably end up not just talking about your dogs to the people you get to know. You talk about their life, what gives them joy and what they find difficult, and their beliefs and values. It’s a golden Gospel opportunity. Chiq and I have the opportunity to run a six-week “Relationship Enrichment  Course” and dinner in our home for couples at the dog park (more on this in a later instalment). 

  The other day, a non-Christian friend at the dog park asked me, “What are your thoughts on Hillsong?” which was a great opportunity. Another one asked me “What’s the difference between Baptism and Confirmation?” And another one said “Sorry for swearing. You’re a Christian aren’t you?” All great opportunities to morph the conversation onto Jesus “by stealth”.

With regard to giving people Christian books, be creative in listening to people’s interests, fears, or experiences, and pray for opportunities to offer them appropriate books. But only do this if you’ve described the book, and they express an interest. Don’t force books on them – I make this mistake. I have been able to lend/give several books to people at the dog park- John Lennox’s book “Cosmic Chemistry” to an Aerospace Scientist. Peter Bolt’s treatment of the occult, “Living with the Underworld” to a Neonatal Intensive Care RN who sees and hears inexplicable things in her ward overnight.  She has already finished reading it! I gave a book by Ray Galea (Senior Minister of Fellowship Dubai International Church) to a Catholic lady – Nothing in My Hand I Bring. And to a lady whose best friend is gay, I have given The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield. Also John Chapman’s A Fresh Start to an ex-Hillsong chap who’s also new age.  

Image Credit: Genadi Yakovlev / Pexels