The faithful and their pets gathered outside Chow Down on Sunday for the third annual Blessing of the Beasties, an event that is becoming a community tradition.
About a dozen dogs and one cat, along with their families, were given individual blessings by Father Patrick Dorn, pastor of Evergreen’s Church of the Apostles. He explained to the group the history of the animal blessings, which are done near Oct. 4, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.
“When we love our pets as family,” Dorn said, “we acknowledge that we are all together, and we must love all of creation and all of its creatures.”
Dorn gave kudos to Chow Down for hosting the blessing each year and to the Evergreen Animal Protective League, which sponsors the event. He also told the group the blessing was nondenominational.
Dorn said the group of animals attending this year was a bit smaller than last, and some of the attendees were repeats from last year.
Dorn blessed Cheyenne, a golden retriever who was celebrating her 11th birthday on Sunday and was going in for back surgery the following day.
Dorn thanked God for Cheyenne’s long life and asked that she have no fear or discomfort throughout her surgery.
Cheyenne’s owner, Lori Holstein, said she helped deliver Cheyenne and her 10 litter mates.
Geneva Vance brought her 4-year-old rat terrier/Chihuahua mix, Einstein, to be blessed.
Einstein had been at the blessing last year, and Vance joked that he definitely needed to be blessed again. Vance said Einstein is spoiled rotten and that he needs to know that she’s the boss of the house.
She also said she didn’t know what she would do without him since her husband recently passed away.
Dorn, as he was holding Einstein, joked that last year’s blessing must have worn off already. More seriously, he spoke of the comfort Einstein has provided to Vance, and how they’ve been loving companions for each other.
EAPL president Jackie Bell had Dorn bless Mary, a 2-year-old pit bull that is available for adoption. Mary had been badly abused, and she was found with barbed wire around her muzzle. X-rays showed her front legs and jaw had been broken in the past.
“She loves everybody,” Bell said of Mary.
Dorn prayed that Mary would find a loving home with a family who would take care of her. He noted the look of trust in her eyes, despite all of the hardship she had been through.