On holiday in Madeira recently I made a special journey to a little town called Sao Roque, just outside the capital Funchal. Just one church in the town and not much else. The reason for this visit, you might call it a pilgrimage, was to visit the church. Saint Roch is the patron saint of DOGS! If you look closely at this photo you will see the dog with a loaf of bread in its mouth!
Saint Roch, also named Rocco or Rock was born in Montpellier. On his way to Rome he was ministering to the sick and poor when he himself fell ill. Struck down with the plague he was expelled from the town of Piacenza in Italy where he went into the woods to try to survive on his own. He would have died but for a dog that belonged to a local nobleman. This dog brought him a loaf of bread each day and gradually licked his wounds clean! Saint Roch survived and was hailed a saint! (personally I think the dog should have some recognition..)
So, according to the Catholic church, Saint Roch is the patron saint of DOGS!.. also the patron saint of knee pain, diseased cattle, the patron saint of falsely accused people and of surgeons! and about a hundred other worthy causes!