With stay-at-home orders in place and social distancing the rule, the staff and a good deal of the  congregation of St. Stephen’s has been working  from home. We are learning new ways to Receive, Reflect and Relay Christ to others remotely, we have been assisted by our loving Paw-sonal  assistants.  Yes, that right, not personal, but Paw-sonal  assistants, typically the four-legged kind!

These loyal companions shepherd us through the day, reminding us to make sure we stretch and get exercise (by walking them of course.) This page is dedicated to all the Paw-sonal assistants.

Would you like your pet featured ?  Please email a photo(s) of your four legged friend (Church Pet Photos in the subject line) Rob Paine at communications@ststephensfairfax.org with a short write up about your Paw-sonal assistant and tell us how he/she helps you get through the day.

Lisa Day and Bandit

My name is Lisa Day. I was the director of christian education at St. Stephen’s  from 2008-2013. These days, I am a middle school history teacher in the Prince William County School System. My Paw-sonal assistant in these days of teaching virtually is my one- year-old Australian cattle dog mix, Bandit. Bandit is smart, goofy, and loving.  He is my Velcro-puppy that my sixth graders always ask to see during our virtual class meetings!

Meet Chica

Chica looks like a Labrador Retriever but was a mixed breed, with shiny black fur. Chica was adopted from a shelter and was the devoted companion of Art and Beth Jones for 14 years. She always greeted her family with a wagging tail and happy face. Her favorite activities were frequent walks around the neighborhood and cleaning up any tidbits that fell from the dinner table. She scanned the yard for any squirrels or chipmunks that might trespass in her territory.  Chica went over the rainbow bridge Jan. 10, 2020. She had a good life and lives on in this photo, plus in all the happy memories that remain with us. Submitted by Art and Beth Jones

Amanda and Sadie

This is an old photo of Sadie, but I thought it was one of the cutest. I don’t actually live with her as she is the family dog and being taken care of by my parents, but she always brightens my day just knowing that she can hear me on speakerphone and reacts with a waggy tail and increased enthusiasm. Just thinking about her can put me in a positive mood, submitted by Amanda P.

Meet Mitzi

Age : Two-Years-Old

Breed : Black and white female cat

Paw-sonal assistant for : Pastor Jiyeon

Mitzi is Pastor Jiyeon’s first-time-ever pet. Mitzi is a 2-year-old black and white female cat who became part of  Pastor Jiyeon’s life as a surprising Christmas gift from a close married-couple whom Jiyeon considers to be part of her family. Pastor Jiyeon went to a cat-adoption event  Jan. 5, 2019, and met Mitzi, who had been fostered since birth. The first time Mitzi met Pastor Jiyeon, she jumped on Pastor Jiyeon’s lap, which almost terrified Jiyeon to death. Remember, Pastor Jiyeon never had a pet before meeting Mitzi. While not an animal person previously,  Pastor Jiyeon has  become a cat-lover thanks to Mitzi.

Mitzi is curious but cautious — she never gets into trouble. Mitzi is very affectionate. She loves cuddling, rubbing, kneading and licking Pastor Jiyeon and often sits or sleeps on or beside her. Mitzi’s office skills include book holding (more like lying on a book or documents) and serving as a morning and break-time alarm. Mitzi also attends online meetings with Pastor Jiyeon.

Pastor Forrest’s “Paw-sonal” assistants are Millie left, Sammie right.

Meet Pastor Forrest’s Paw-sonal assistants, Millie and Sammie

You may have already met Pastor Forrest’s “Paw-sonal” assistants Millie and Sammie. Perhaps you heard about the two rescues  during  Pastor Forrest’s most recent sermon or maybe you saw the puppies around the church during youth events held before the church building closed in response to the COVID-19 situation.

Eight-month old sisters Millie and Sammie were rescued  from South Carolina during a recent hurricane. Sammie and Millie have made the pandemic lockdown much more enjoyable and louder at the Teague household,  Pastor Forrest says.

Both dogs love to bark, sometimes at the next door neighbor’s  dog or often at nothing at all.  They chew on sticks. Their favorite toy is not store bought, but a rock they dug up.   They are incredibly cuddly and a great stress reliever, Pastor Forrest adds.  Pastor Forrest says “after a hard day of work, I  will emerge out of my downstairs dungeon, (I mean office,) and immediately come up to play and cuddle with sweet Sammie and Millie. They truly are a package deal will not go anywhere without the other.

The dogs have made Forrest and Emilee more at home since the couple rescued them four- months ago.

Meet Rubee

Age : Six-Years-Old

Breed : Labrador Retriever

Paw-sonal assistant for : Pastor Rob and Carolyn Robertson

Rubee  is a six-year-old Labrador Retriever who has been a part of Pastor Rob and Carolyn Robertson’s household for the past two years after she was retired by a breeder. Rubee is a loyal Paw-sonal  assistant and supports Rob with her presence, while she awaits her next meal.

She stays close to Rob as he works from his family room home office.  She knows just the right time to stop by for a pat on her head or to offer some pet therapy. Just off the screen, Rubee likes to listen to all the different voices on Zoom calls while maintaining loyal confidentially, but she believes that she deserves far more face time. Other than eating, Rubee’s favorite things include taking walks, riding in the car, hunting for the chipmunk under the back deck and swimming. The office skills that Rubee is still perfecting include short-paw, typing, and retrieving coffee.

Over the next several weeks, we will be sharing more about our  Paw-sonal   assistants, and encourage you to share about your pets and what they have meant to you as we continue to social distance.

Please send a photo(s) of your four legged friend to our communications director Rob Paine at communications@ststephensfairfax.org with a short write up about your Paw-sonal assistant and tell us how he/she helps you get through the day. All email submissions must have Church Pet Photos in the subject line. Thank you!

Meet Morgan

Jill Barney’s Paw-sonal Assistant.

Meet my loyal dog Morgan, 13-years-old.

She is very happy on the days I work at home. She likes to be outside on the porch to watch the rest of the world and guard the house all day and look for the neighborhood kids. Written by  Jill Barney.

Meet Moses, Karen Wells’  Paw-sonal assistant

Moses is a long- haired 18-month-old dachshund who is currently sporting his summer cut.  Karen tells us that Moses has been part of her family’s household since he was nine-weeks-old.  Karen and her husband got the puppy from some friends in Winchester where Moses’ parents live.  My husband saw Moses’ picture on Facebook one night and fell in love, Karen says.  Moses is very active and an avid barker. Moses loves to chew  bones which typically have to be very strong.  He loves that Karen is around home more these days and is not happy when she leaves for work at St. Stephen’s where she is the church’s office manager. When Karen is at home, Moses gives her breaks by telling her it’s time to go for a walk or it’s time for a snack.  Please send a photo(s) of your four legged friend to communications@ststephensfairfax.org with a short write up about your Paw-sonal assistant.

Meet Larry Miller’s Paw-sonal assistants, Sadie and Raven

These are Larry Miller’s paw-sonal assistants Sadie (left) and Raven. Larry writes that his dogs are a little confused by Larry being home all the time, and not at all impressed with what he does for a living. Thank you for the photo Larry!

Meet Abbie and Lambeau, paw-sonal assistants to Rob Paine, St. Stephen’s Communications Director

 Lambeau (at left)  15- year old male  rescue, Pomeranian, beagle, collie and  Siberian husky mix

Abbie (at right) 12- year- old  female  rescue, cocker spaniel, Australian cattle dog and Shetland sheep dog mix

As told to Rob Paine

Abbie : Hi, we are Rob’s paw-sonal assistants. We are both rescue dogs from Forever Home Rescue Foundation, a nonprofit based in Fairfax County. I was born in West Virginia. I was adopted by Rob and his wife  Barb when I was two. I  turned 12 last month.

Lambeau : I am also a West Virginia native and was adopted in 2005. Rob and Barb named me after Curly Lambeau, the first coach of the Green Bay Packers and the namesake of the Packers’ stadium. My original name was Cain (my brother’s name was Abel)  I am semi-retired so I sleep most of the day.  I would say my primary job is to keep Rob company in his home office, something I enjoy doing. We also are always on call to have our photos taken as Rob is also a professional photographer Abbie and I are probably two of the most photographed dogs in Fairfax County.

Abbie :  I am more of the Alpha-dog type, so I run security for the home office. It is my job to make sure no one gets past the front door who is not supposed to.  I also alert Rob when a delivery takes place, by barking very loudly. When the new church banners arrive via FedEx, Rob knows about it quickly, except when  I am sleeping on the job, something I really do not want to go into. 

Lambeau : We both work exclusively for treats. Since Rob has been working remotely, we have  enjoyed an uptick in walks and and in treats.  Truth be told, I  actually am not 15 yet, my birthday will be in a few week, so if anyone would like to celebrate, I love Milk Bones!

Abbie : While we have the chance, we would love to put in a plug for all of our local rescue groups. There are so many dogs and cats in need of a loving home.  When you want to add to your family, keep the rescues in mind. You can even foster dogs and cats from local rescues until they are adopted by someone else. It makes a big difference and you will be saving lives.

Lambeau : That is right, and by the way,  here is a fun fact : Rob’s a foster flunkie. He originally was fostering Abbie but after a few months, he could not give her up, so she became part of our family! Rob is not allowed to foster anymore because we are all afraid he will flunk again and we need the attention. 

Abbie : Well, we have enjoyed sharing our story with the great folks at St. Stephen’s. Thank you and we look forward to seeing your paw-sonal assistants on this webpage and on social media soon.  So be sure to share your photos and stories. 

To have your four-legged family member featured on this page, please email your photos and story  to Rob at communications@ststephensfairfax.org

Meet Ramsey, Bob and Darlene Strange’s Paw-sonal assistant

Ramsey, a six-year old Scotty, joined our family at the age of six-weeks. He is a sociable dog who looks forward to gatherings with people he knows. Since our home quarantine commenced in mid March, he has had to adjust his lifestyle- he no longer has his weekly associations with other dogs at our Vet sponsored playtime, our children’s visits each Sunday after church have been curtailed.

A creature of habit, he always knew when it was Sunday with our routine culminating  in our church service followed by a family gathering where he would receive the proper degree of attention. Ramsey keeps us active with his playfulness and his routine walks provides exercise for us all

By Bob and Darlene Strange