1101 North Collier Boulevard, Marco
MARCO ISLAND — Dogs, cats and other pets are up for a treat. St. Mark’s Episcopal Church will hold its annual Blessing of the Animals celebration Sunday evening at the church, 1101 North Collier Blvd., on Marco Island.
Music, a dog wash, treats for pets and snacks for people will be part of the blessing ceremony which is open to the public. About 100 people and pets are anticipated at the fourth annual event which will begin with a ceremony to celebrate pets of all kinds and sizes including not only pets in attendance but also those who are no longer around.
The event is in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, commonly known as the patron saint of animals. Proceeds and donations at the event will be given to the Humane Society Naples.
The Humane Society will bring adoptable pets and allow them to receive “pets and hugs from the children,” said event organizer Nanette Moll.
Moll said past years have brought mostly dogs, but also cats, ferrets, rabbits and even a snake.
“A girl brought her snake in an aquarium. Head priest Kyle Bennett blessed the aquarium. He couldn’t bless the snake,” Moll recalled of last year’s event.
New owners of the Critter Cafe, Lisa and Kevin Howard who bought the pet boutique in May plan to bring their rescued golden retriever, Lambeau.
“It will be a first for all of us,” Lisa Howard said.
Critter Cafe will bring goodie bags for all the visiting pets.
City Councilor Jerry Gibson and resident Staci Kelley said they plan to bring their dogs to the event. Gibson said his “Italian flower,” a large breed, called a cane corso, may attend a blessing for the first time. Fiora, a four month old, is likely to become the size of Kelley and Gibson’s other dogs, Dolce, 7 and Rusingo, 6 a beauceron who weighs about 110 pounds.
While Kelley and Gibson said at least one of the dogs has been blessed in the past, it can be tricky at times to make it out to events with over 300 pounds of dogs to take with them.
As for Halloween costumes or dress up — believe it or not, Kelley said she was able to squeeze one of them into a clown costume.
Marco Eagle and ETC are sponsoring a Halloween contest consisting of four categories: children costumes, adult costumes, pet costumes and pumpkin carving. Prizes will be awarded for best in each category. Selected submissions will appear in the Eagle and ETC. All submissions will appear online. Children’s category is 17 and under.
Submit a photo for any or all categories of your favorite costumed person, pet or pumpkin to marconews.com/yourmarco. Click upload photos and enter submissions at yourmarco.com.
You will vie for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate from sponsors, Marco Island Florists, Critter Cafe, Marine Bank and CJ’s on the Bay.
Deadline for submission of costume photos is Oct. 17 and for pumpkin carving photos is Oct. 24.
The Blessing of the Pets begins at 5 p.m., Sunday, at St. Marks Episcopal Church on the corner of Elkcam Circle and Sixth Avenue, 1101 North Collier Blvd., Marco Island.