So, Mama and I went to it. Mama wanted to bring everyone, but Sammy-Joe probably wouldn't like it, and Trixie gets kind of hyper around other dogs and its hard for Mama to handle us both by herself. I am lucky because I am the calmest and the most portable dog, so I went with Mama to represent all of the animals in our family.
The service was really cool! All of the songs were about animals, and all of the readings were about animals, and then we all said a special prayer together about blessing all of the animals in the world.
Also, during the service, dogs and cats didn't have to sit quietly or anything. We were all on leashes, but we could move around and sniff each other's butts, and try to get petted and everything. We were sitting next to a giant Alaskan Malamute who really loved sniffing me!
Here's me, right after the service. The reason Mama's hand is on me is because she only had her phone camera, which is really slow, and every time she'd try to take a picture of me I'd move at the last minute and make it blurry. So she was holding me still. You can see I was kind of annoyed.
Then, after the service, we got to walk around and talk to people and pets. I sniffed so many butts! Some people had dog treats that they passed out to us! I met a really nice lady who kept giving me lots of treats! I am usually shy around new people, but after she gave me a treat or two, I just jumped up on her and wagged my tail like we were best friends! She had two dogs. One was a chihuahua. The other was a mixed breed dog who didn't really like other dogs, but he liked me!
One of the nicest parts was that there was a table where people could put photos of their pets who went to the Rainbow Bridge. Mama made this really nice picture of our family members at the Rainbow Bridge... Woody, Zip and Chopper.
Isn't it sweet? We think its funny that in one picture, the bird is eating the dog's bone, and in another picture, the dog is eating the bird's ball! Zip and Woody, who were Mama's pets when she was a little kid, were the best of friends. Unfortunately, both of them passed away very young, which broke my Mama's heart. Fortunately, she got Chopper right after that, which healed her heart a little!
AND NOW FOR A LEARNING OPPORTUNITY!
Did you know that the Catholic religion actually has an official Blessing Of the Animals day? well, technically it's one of the Saint days, or Feast Days I think they're called. It's in honor of St. Francis of Assisi. St. Francis loved all animals. In fact, he referred to all animals as his brothers and sisters. He would even preach to them about God, and they would sit and listen! There are many stories about things St. Francis did for animals.
In one story, he was sleeping in a cave (St. Francis lived much of his life in poverty, on purpose) and he gave up his bed to a donkey.
In one story, someone asked St. Francis to free a rabbit from a trap. St. Francis freed the rabbit, and told him he should be more careful in the future. But instead of hopping away, the rabbit jumped up on St. Francis's lap and refused to leave!
Another story says that, whenever St. Francis was near by and saw fish being caught, he would free the fish and warn them to be more careful. When he went out in a boat, fish would gather around his boat and listen to his sermons, and not leave until he was done!
A famous story tells about a wolf that was very hungry, and had been attacking and eating people in a village! Some people tried to kill the wolf, but he attacked them and ate them. Finally, St. Francis went out to talk with the wolf. He saw that the wolf was hungry, and asked him to make a pact. The people of the village would feed the wolf, and in exchange, he would not attack any people or animals in the village. He held out his hand to the wolf, and the wolf gave him his paw. From then on, the wolf and the people lived in harmony, and when the wolf finally died of old age, the people were sad because he'd become a member of the community.
One more story talks about how St. Francis saw a little boy who had caught some doves in a cage, and was planning to sell them. St. Francis worried that the doves would be killed and eaten, or otherwise harmed. He spoke to the little boy about how sweet and gentle doves were, and how they were a symbol of peace. The little boy agreed to let the doves go. Then St. Francis began building nests around the monastery for doves to live in, so that they would be safe.
St. Francis usually rode on his loyal donkey. At the end of St. Francis's life, when he was in his death bed, St. Francis thanked his donkey for carrying him and helping him. And his donkey wept.
You see why St. Francis is Mama's favorite saint, even though she is not Catholic?
St. Francis's Feast Day is on October 4. He is the Patron Saint of Animals. Some Catholic churches, especially Franciscan churches, celebrate this day with a Blessing Of the Animals. At a traditional Catholic animal blessing, a friar says a special prayer for each pet, and then sprinkles the pet with holy water.
Since Mama is Unitarian Universalist, and the UU's march to the beat of our own drummer, our blessing was in July and St. Francis was not mentioned. Also nobody put water on me. Thank goodness! But Mama does say she wants to take us to a traditional blessing at a Catholic church this October. If you want to find one, you could Google Franciscan churches in your area, or just Google "blessing of the animals" and your state. AmericanCatholic.org has a website where you can search for a blessing, by town or state. But not all churches submit their info to the site, so if you don't see one in your area on that site, keep looking on your own! Maybe you could even arrange one at your own church, or at an animal rescue organization!
Well, I really wasn't planning on telling you all about St. Francis, but Mama thinks he's such a cool dude, and she thought we should share him with you. Even if you're not Catholic or even Christian, St. Francis is a great role model for people who love animals!
That's it for now. By, friends! We love you!