Sunday, October 5, 2008


The Blessing of the Animals

Freshly brushed, with a spring in his step,
Edward went to church today.
The Sunday dawn gleamed with perfection, one of those early October blessings in and of itself, complete with an cheerful quality to the light, and a nip in the breeze that made one glad to be even a small part of creation. The majestic atmosphere of the old cathedral was only enhanced by the presence of so many of God’s creatures - family members not normally in attendance. Stained-glass saints looked kindly down from their windows as bejeweled matrons sat serenely holding look-alike Persian cats while tweedy gentlemen entered beside their stout and hardy Bulldogs. Delighted children carried in fat new puppies sporting bows for collars, a pair of noble harlequin Great Danes strode calmly down the center aisle alongside scampering Westies, perpetually smiling Golden Retrievers and inquisitive Beagles. A grey kitten was on a leash. Near the front, a dignified white Standard Poodle sat upright and reverent in his pew, while a timid little woman in brown perched with one small hand protectively resting atop an ornate, golden birdcage. The congregation rose to sing “All Creatures Great and Small” and when the priest spoke of the depth of God’s love and care for these good friends of ours - both those present and those gone on before us - more than a few tears filled human eyes.
When the priest placed his hand on Edward’s fluffy head, spoke his name, and blessed him as one of God’s sweet wonders, I realized once again how fortunate I am to share my life with a wonderful, loving animal.
Truly a blessing. For both of us.


"I care not for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it."
Abraham Lincoln

50 comments:

  1. So who has the biggest grin from ear to ear in that last photo? What a beautiful day and wonderful pictures you have chosen Pamela...and what a beautiful saint, my favourite.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ohhhhhhhh. I would have loved to have gone to that service. We are truly blessed to have our animal companions.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Our church also has a blessing of the animals, and it is much anticipated! This year the procession was led by a zebra (!), and everyone brings their creatures great and small to the service. It is quite a sight - our sancturary is majestic, very much like a cathedral, with tall ceilings, stained glass, marble and wood everywhere, and the sanctuary is filled to the brim with dogs, cats, hamsters, virtually every type of feathered and furred and scaled creature.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh, I just went back and reread your beautiful post, and your descriptions of the animals brought a tear to my eye! I love your comment 'perpetually smiling golden retrievers' - we have a 10 month old golden, and that is the perfect description of him. I need to stop perusing the design blogs to I can go out and give him a nice long walk!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Your way with words as always dear Pamela is a delight. I marvel, or perhaps not, of all those animals in a confined space not bent on eating each other or at least disputing precedence.
    Edward is showing off to great advantage, I feel sure you did too so that he could feel justly proud of you. Such a happy occasion for you both.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I've never heard of this custom, taking your pet to church. It's wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've always marveled that the animals get along at these occasions. They must sense the holiness of the day and place. Wonderful post. I love the priest's - is it called a stole? Beautiful colors. And of course Mr E looks beatific!

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a beatiful post! Your description is poetic - I didn't have to be there to see it, but I wish I had been. There is a beautiful movie about the early years of St. Francis - Brother Sun and Sister Moon. See it if you can locate a copy.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Lovely post to start the week with...thank you edward and pamela...

    ReplyDelete
  10. What a lovely blog and what a gorgeous photograph. Edward looks all the better for being blessed. I love the idea of an animal service.

    ReplyDelete
  11. How amazing ! Miss D & Les Boys send lots of love winging south to you, to Edward & to Miss Apple. xo, Susan

    ReplyDelete
  12. so sweet and touching. I love the blessing of the animals.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I am not sure if you have heard of a wonderful program we have here in the UK called the Vicar of Dibley with Dawn French, one of the episodes had a Service for Animals, it was wonderful, not sure if its the rather silly British humour but I loved every moment of it. Every kind of animal was included and they too had a fantastic sense of humour. Loved the Blog.
    Blossom xx

    ReplyDelete
  14. Have not heard of this before, interesting Pamela. Did Edward behave himself I wonder. Was there much barking or did they go seperately to be blessed.

    ReplyDelete
  15. What a wonderful service, and yes you are indeed fortunate, Edward is lovely :)

    Kim x

    PS. I had the strangest dream about you on Saturday night. We were sorting through piles of magazines, heads together like conspirators who had known each other their whole lives!!!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I have loved this custom ever since I first encountered it when I lived in Mexico. We would go down to the plaza to watch the procession of dogs, cats and birds and a good helping of burros, horses, and prized cows too.

    Your loving descriptions of the dogs brought a tear to my eye today. Beautiful pictures too.

    ReplyDelete
  17. This is one of my favorite services and the liturgy is so sweet...At Lizzie's last Blessing, at our former parish, another dog nearly bit the priest's hand off...He had his guard down after loving on Lizzie then moved to the dog beside her and the dog nearly attacked him...You had to know the priest but it was hysterical...

    ReplyDelete
  18. I absolutely loved your descriptions of all the animals and their owners- quite perfect. Oh, and sweet Edward- he looks so handsome and happy.

    ReplyDelete
  19. That is so incredible. Edward looks so darn happy!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Aww! This is so sweet. My daughter's church observes this tradition, too. And this Lincoln quote is perfect!!

    The photo is priceless.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Special Edward looked so handsome for his day in church. What a wonderful tradition. I would love to find a service where I live!
    Thank you Pamela, for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  22. That quote is now one of my email signatures. I quite agree.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I think I must be attending the wrong church. Ny dog would love to go to mass with me.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Oh Pamela, what a wonderful day! I didn't know there were church services for pets - what a wonderful idea! Edward looks so pleased to have his photograph taken with the priest. I'm trying to imagine Zipper at church. He's not good at sitting still and would probably whine and grizzle for being required to sit throughout the service! I could bring a bone to keep him occupied - but imagine the sound of crunch-munch echoing through the catherdral! Oh dear!
    :-o)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thanks so much for visiting my blog! Please come again. I love the blessing of the animals! Lecia

    ReplyDelete
  26. I have never heard of an animal blessing before, I can't imagine Ted behaving himself if there was a C.A.T. in the next pew. (I have got into the habit of spelling the C word).

    Seriously though it is a lovely idea, animals area blessing in themselves.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I think Edward is very blessed!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I love your description of all the pets and their owners at the service. I'm sure non of our cats would behave very well and would certainly have to be in their carriers, the getting out of which would remind them of the vet's surgery, which in turn would lead to cats hiding on top of the wardrobe, under the bed, behind the sofa etc:) Edward looks very pround to be photographed with the priest:)

    ReplyDelete
  29. What a wonderful service you both had and Edward looks so happy. I love Edward's smiley face, give him a big hug from me :-)x

    ReplyDelete
  30. Nothing fills my heart more than a blessing of God's creatures. Our church has one annually. This year, there were dogs, cats, iguanas, a pot bellied pig, a hedgehog, a snake, birds and a pony! It was so moving. I love animals so much...
    Your Edward is a treasure. I could just hug and hug him.

    Thank you for visiting me today. I was led here and am enjoying reading your lovely blog. I am off to read more and just bookmarked it so I can return often.

    Anyone who loves decor, homes and animals (I never trust folks who do nto love dogs!) is a friend!

    Hugs,
    Sue

    ReplyDelete
  31. My church had the blessing of animals this weekend also -- it such a wonderful celebration, isn't it? Edward does indeed look happy to have been blessed this year, and your minister equally so!

    Thanks so much for your nice comment and best wishes on our celebration of our anniversary! (My husband's moustache will never disappear -- I don't even know him without it --lol!)

    ReplyDelete
  32. Lovely post, Pamela, and Edward looks 'extra' gorgeous!
    See if there's a copy of 'Swan in the Swim' in your library. It's one of the Animal Ark books I wrote (10 years ago) under the name of Lucy Daniels and I had a special church service for animals in it.
    In case you couldn't find Cat Stevens "I Love My Dog" I've put the video on my blog.

    ReplyDelete
  33. What a gorgeous idea! I have heard of it but I think of it as a more English than Irish tradition. I must ask around and see if any of our local churches do it.

    ReplyDelete
  34. What a wonderful service! Sadly they don't have animal services in this area. It's a shame as an elderly person will probably talk more to their cat or budgie than a person in the average day. I've heard so many times how a person gets up in the morning because of their animals. It's good to know that there are these services going on somewhere. Who knows a person might go to church for the first time when their furry family is welcome, when they might be to shy to go alone. Animal service are GOOD.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Oh no I missed it this weekend! We usually take our Kelly girl, but it totally slipped my mind this year. I sure hope Kelly will forgive me.

    Your pups are so... beautiful!! I could get lost in their fur... Our Kelly is a Lakeland Terrier rescue. She came to us when she was 5 yrs old and is now 14. Where did the time go?

    Thank you for visiting my blog! It is a pleasure from one dog lover to the next!

    Enjoy...

    ReplyDelete
  36. I would have loved to have been there and seen all the animals together. A won derful experience by the sound of it.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Sweet. Sounds truly divine. Thanks for coming over to viisit my rabbit blog and voting to help Rabbit Haven too :~).

    ReplyDelete
  38. How lovely. I remember going to a pet service with the children when they were quite young. Edward wanted to take his dog Bouncer who being the best behaved was allowed to go. Problem was that Alexander wanted to take his dog Wish as well and she is very, very naughty. We decided to walk but only got half way there before deciding that Wish was just too badly behaved and therefore must go home. Alexander ended up taking a jar of caterpillars.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Oh how sweet! I want to do that one day with my own sweet Bebbers. There is a church in town that offers this service. I'm so glad you took Edward for a blessing...I know heaven is going to be filled with our beloved pets.....and the lion laying down with the lamb!

    Another great pic of handsome Edward..

    ReplyDelete
  40. How completely lovely...I saw it all in my head as you told the tale, especially the lady with the birdcage and there is the dear boy at the end, looking positively angelic!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Oh, what a beautiful experience. I've not been to anything like that, but I watch 'The Vicar of Dibley' English comedy and there is one lovely episode where they do something like this with the animals.
    I love golden retrievers, was pleased to see them mentioned in this :)

    ReplyDelete
  42. Well, what a wonderful picture you painted Pamela of that church service and what a wonderful idea too. I'm sure Edward must have been very proud. He looks super in the photo.

    It's good to be back and I've had fun catching up.
    BT
    x

    ReplyDelete
  43. This is the most beautiful post! Love the words - the photos - the message. Thanks for sharing!
    Colleen

    ReplyDelete
  44. “All Creatures Great and Small”
    --We would sing that growing up in school. I loved it. I've never heard of a blessing for the animals before.

    ReplyDelete
  45. What a wonderful service! I wish we did something like this. I would love to show of my two girls. Edward would fall in love with our Sammie Jo, except she's deaf - will he mind? she barks and snores terribly loud though - she can't hear herself! oh haha!! I love this! I wish we did this too! you are sooo lucky.

    ReplyDelete
  46. What a FABULOUS quote! It could be my motto.

    ReplyDelete
  47. I love attending Blessings of the Animals. When I lived in Cornwall, local farm animals would be brought in. The floors of that beautiful cathedral was covered in straw. Here in Toronto, the tradition continues at St. James Cathedral, but it's held outside in the gardens. Still, it's a lovely service.

    ReplyDelete
  48. What a beautiful post! We have a blessing of the animals at our church also and its so wonderful. I think its so important to honor all our animal companions. Its also a lovely way to feel closer to each other, there is something so disarming about everyone gathered with their animal friends!

    ReplyDelete
  49. Wow, what a blessing! My mom told me to check out your blog so I did and I'm glad. I have an 18 year old son in college named Edward, so I love the name of your dog!!! My cat very often finds his way on my blog. Peace, Julia

    ReplyDelete

I love to read your comments! Each and every one! Though I'm always reading your comments, I may not respond in the comment section. If you want to write me directly, you may do so at pamela@pamelaterry.net. Thank you for reading!