Families and pets of all shapes and sizes spent a sunny afternoon on Oct. 7 in Kelsey-Hutchinson Founders Park giving their animals a little something to look forward to in the afterlife. Owners brought animal loved ones to the park for Blessing of the Animals. Highlands resident Nicole Taylor brought her cat, Autumn, to receive a spiritual boost.
“She is special to me, and I want her to have the best,” said Taylor.
The animals were blessed by Rev. Margaret Howell of Holy Family Lutheran Church in Highlands, and Rev. Randy Lucas of Highlands United Methodist Church. The event is held to celebrate feast day on Oct. 4, birthday of the Patron Saint of Animals, Saint Francis of Assisi.
“I do this because I Iove animals and I love Saint Francis,” said Howell. “People in Highlands love their animals very much, this is another way to show that love.”
Howell added that she has blessed many unique pets including woolly worms and gold fish in the past.
“People bring all kinds of pets, but they love it every year,” said Howell.
Lucas said he has been part of Blessing of the Animals for many years now and said the feedback he has received has been positive.
“It’s fun and everyone enjoys it,” said Lucas. “Pet owners love their animals, they’re part of the family. This is a good time to celebrate that.”
Richard Cook brought his long-haired Dotson, Penny, from Kennesaw, Ga. to receive a blessing.
“We love her and want to make sure she’s taken care of in every way,” said Cook.
Minister of Music at the Methodist Church Les Scott began participating in Blessing of the Animals in Florida and was taken with the idea.
“People love it, what would you expect; getting a blessing on feast day of Saint Francis, it certainly can’t hurt,” said Scott.
Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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