Canine Ministries and the Postdomestic Inclusion of Dogs in Christian Religious Practices


Nov. 21, 2022, 11:30am to 12:30pm

Campus Location

Office/Remote Location

BEH-216 or virtual


The UNLV Department of Anthropology's Fall 2022 Proseminar Lecture Series Invites Anthropology graduate student Heather Frigiola to discuss their research on "Canine Ministries and the Postdomestic Inclusion of Dogs in Christian Religious Practices"

Canine ministries are a cultural trend emerging in the United States in the twenty-first century, involving the pairing of a ministry volunteer with a trained therapy dog as a form of religious social outreach. This multispecies ethnography examines the intimate trans-species relationship between the companion dog and the engaged U.S. Christian, and how this relationship is mediated by the Christian’s religious beliefs, by concentrating on the therapy dog ministry (or “canine ministry”) as the focal point. In a canine ministry, a member’s interaction with their therapy dog serves as a unique way to express their Christian faith and identity. The therapy dogs also have symbolic value as they are thought to embody specific traits that Christians idealize. The canine ministry represents a new role for dogs in U.S. society and new ways to engage in Christian practices. It presents an emergent form of postdomestic human-canine interaction by including dogs in religious practice as Christian subjects.

Admission Information

This event is open to the public. Please join us in person or participate virtually after you register

Contact Information

Department of Anthropology
Heather Nepa