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Ministry Highlight | Dog Lovers
By Dave Franco

When Jami Oakley arrived at her boyfriend’s house one day and found that the next-door neighbors had moved away leaving their cantankerous pit bull behind for the last week, she was outraged. She had spent most of her life on a farm and cared deeply for animals, especially dogs. That’s why she had to do something about that pit bull. One would think she might call a local animal protection agency.

“I’m going back there to save that pit bull,” she told her boyfriend.
“You’re going to go into that backyard and risk your life for that crazy animal?” her boyfriend asked incredulously. “No, you’re not.”

He obviously had no idea how much she cared.

Arriving at the backyard with her boyfriend in tow, she stood poised at the gate. Her boyfriend stood with his hand on the gate ready to let her in—or swing it open should there be an attack. Then, Jami went in.

The pit bull charged around the corner barking, snarling and baring its teeth, but Jami did not back down. It paid off. Twenty tense minutes later, the dog was drinking water from a bowl that Jami provided—and a friendship was born. She is friends with the pit bull’s new owners—and the pit bull, to this day.

Later, Jami felt the need to gather her passion for dogs and put it to use. She began to consider taking over the leadership of the Dog Lovers ministry at Rock Church. She was driving along a road in San Diego that is frequently populated by the homeless, feeling as she commonly did: resentful of homeless people who have dogs because she assumed they used them to garner more sympathy from passersby.

As she was coming down the street, a homeless man riding a bike accidentally rammed her car. He then got up off the ground and jumped back on his bike, and rode off.

That night, the normally resentful Jami experienced an abrupt and rather shocking change of heart. She found herself deeply concerned with the well-being of the man who she assumed was hurt by the crash. His plight of being homeless and having no one to take care of him as he recovered from his injuries weighed heavily on her.On the day she met with one of the directors of the Rock’s Outreach ministries, she was asked, “So, what is your vision for the ministry?”
What did I just say?

It was confirmation that Jami’s path was being redirected by God and that He was changing her at the core.

Today, Jamie leads the Dog Lovers ministry, where they hold outreach events, dog adoptions, socials, and education. And every Wednesday, the Rock’s Dog Lovers ministry cares for dogs whose owners are homeless. It is an experience that has altered her completely. “I have found that these dogs are treated better than all the other dogs whose owners put them in the backyard and leave for the day,” says Jami. “They are with their owners 24/7. They are their owners’ protection at night. They sleep with their owners and give them warmth. And when we go to the homeless to offer care and food to their dogs, they will forego their own needs to make sure their dogs are taken care of.”

Upcoming Dog Lovers Ministry events
Pets of the Homeless Outreach
Every Wednesday at 5:30PM - Downtown San Diego
2nd & 4th Thursday at 6:30PM - Old Town/Ocean Beach

Death Row - Dog Adoption Events
Twice a year in June & December in Rock Park

Coffee With Your Dog
First Saturday of each month at Balboa Park

Humane Education/Interaction
Once a month during the school year at various locations throughout San Diego

Therapy Pet Program
Senior Centers locations throughout San Diego

For more information about the Dog Lovers Ministry, click here »