|Nero and Ms. Lion (sitting on my lap) at Pet Blessing Service|
There weren't a lot of people present, but we were! And the Iowa City Press-Citizen snapped a few pics of us and interviewed me and D'Angelo:
Faith United is one of several area churches that holds the blessing each year in conjunction with the feast of St. Francis Day. "Pets bring us lots of companionship, and we need to be grateful from time to time to God and to our pets," (Rev. Bob) Loffer told the crowd, which included several dogs and one guinea pig, Chestnut Henry... "Pets bring us lots of companionship," he said. "As you feel the energy in this room, may God bless us and these pets."Personally, I had no clue what to expect. Nero had just gotten out of the house without someone on the other end of his leash and had caused a bit of mischief. I quickly caught him, but the incident created a bit of stress. But he ended up doing fine at church. I brought a little toy for him to chew on and he was pretty curious about another dog that was sitting right near him. But no additional mischief, which is good. Ms. Lion whined and yawned several times throughout the service. Pet psychic Laura Stinchfield might describe her behaviors as calming signals. But it helped her get through the worship service. We briefly toyed with bringing our cat, Calliope Jane, but decided that me bringing both her and Nero without Mark's assistance wouldn't be a good idea.
It was the first service for Nero, a 2-year-old standard poodle, and D'Angelo Holbrook, 11, of Iowa City. "It was fun to bring them some place new," Holbrook said. He and Jon Trouten of Iowa City also had Trouten's Pekingese poodle mix, Miss Lion, in tow. "Its always fun for the animals to get out," Trouten said. "I go to church here, and it is fun for us to have an opportunity to include them."
Loffer said the ceremony was one more way to reflect on the blessings animals can provide. "Pets mean a lot to a lot of different people," he said. "They can be friends, and they can teach a lot of responsibility. I was raised with them, and my kids were all raised with them. This is just a nice way to celebrate God's creation."
As noted above, the service was brief, but meaningful. Animal blessing ceremonies are great opportunities for people to reflect on the animals in our lives and the many ways that we bless each other.