Of course, he has to obey local law, which will probably ruin everything.

Otherwise, the new minister at Hagerstown could perform marriages and all that. He is a dog, a German shepherd name of Rex, and he has just been ordained by the American Fellowship Church, which is based in (surprise, surprise) California.

The dog's owner, Mary Campello, said she saw an ad, sent in $3 to enroll "Rex Campello" and in due time Rex was ordained via mail. (You see now the prudence of those churches in which ordination requires the laying on of hands by a bishop. Dogs are not ordained, therefore, in such churches).

The law of Maryland implies, though it does not specifically state, that a cleric performing the rite of holy matrimony may not be a German shepherd. The dog's owner states that Rex, despite his new status, continues to slip his lead and dash up the alley to visit another dog, which Mary Campello reckons is part of his "visitation ministry."

The church office in Monterrey said that once before a dog was ordained. No cats have been ordained. The church believes the ordination of Rex, the Hagerstown dog, was meant as a joke.

Even though it is now feared Rex may not be allowed to do many of the things that some other ordained clerics do, still it is widely believed in Hagerstown that his sermons are among the best ever sat through.