Today is the feast day for St. Francis. One of my church's annual events is a Blessing of the Animals at our outdoor altar. Ever since my family got Rusty, our beloved golden retriever, I've wanted to go. Today was the first time I actually made it to the service.
The baskets you see in the photo above were used to collect donations for a local humane society. We brought paper towels. Others brought pet food and disinfecting wipes.
In this photo Rusty waits patiently with my son for his turn to receive a blessing.
My church approaches this gathering with a good sense of humor. After the service was over, awards were presented for largest pet, smallest pet, pet who most looked like the minister, and pet who looked like its owner.
But the funniest moment of all was a hard of hearing mistake. Not by me, but someone else this time. A man turned to me wonderingly and asked "Do they call their dog, Damn?!" Just then the dog's youthful owner called out his name and perhaps it was the power of suggestion but sure enough it sounded like Damn. But then the man's wife poked him in the ribs and said, "His name is Sam!" I reassured the man his name was better. Heh. Surely all pet owners have referred to their animals that way at least once. It'd be pretty funny if a dog started responding to that for its name.
In this photo, Rusty socializes with some other dogs in front of the altar. Blessings to all animals today.