Pet blessing celebrates St. Francis

  • The cheerful gathering celebrates the Fest of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals

There were about a dozen hounds with names like Boone and Bucky, and their breeds ranging from Chihuahua to Louisiana Catahoula cur.

Then there was a solitary cat named Daphne, and a colorful sun conure (parakeet) going by the name of Adrian.

All descended, along with their owners on Wednesday evening, to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church for the annual blessing of the animals.

Their owners listened to songs like All God’s Critters and Dog Breath (“Oh, I wanna have dog breath/I wanna learn to growl/scratch fleas and ticks and run after sticks/I want the moon to make me howl”) – and then enjoyed the blessings bestowed by Rev. Kyle Bennett.

During the evening, there was also an interlude paying respect to passed-on pets by naming them one-by-one, and later Rev. Bennett moved to an outside sanctuary to inter some of the ashes of golden retriever Elvis - a pet who belonged to the Coyle family.

Patti Coyle said the family had previously buried other portions of Elvis’ ashes in some of his - and the family’s - favorite places such as at Winterberry Park, a school and a pond in upstate New York - where Elvis was born, and also over the Judge S.S. Jolley Bridge.

The cheerful pet-blessing celebrates the Fest of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.