Smiles, barking and lots of tail wagging happened Saturday at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, as many four-legged friends waited their turn to be blessed.
The church held its annual Blessing of the Animals ceremony in honor of St. Francis of Assisi Day, which took place the day before on Oct. 4, Children’s Minister Tracy Donley said.
“We honored St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals,” she said. “We like to invite our fur families every year and it’s a special thing for St. Andrews.”
About 20 dogs and their families participated, she said.
“We had a great turnout, I’m thrilled,” she said. “Everybody’s happy and good, and it was a very successful day. If you brought your pet to this, you love your pet very much.”
Rev. Gordon Scheible and Rev. Megan Elliot led the ceremony in the garden at St. Andrew’s. After saying a few words and singing hymns, they visited with each dog, where they offered them a blessing and thanked them for their companionship.
Wayne Stalsworth, of Seguin, brought his 18-year-old yellow lab, Sarah. He said they’ve come out every year.
“We get a little blessing, and keep her alive,” he said. “It’s hard to keep a lab alive for 18 years.”
Thomas Williams Snooks, of Seguin, also brought his 2-year-old Great Dane and whippet mix, Mystery.
“We’ve had Mystery for about six months now,” he said. “She has come a long way from when we got her. She was scared of almost everything.”
During the ceremony, Mystery greeted other dogs and was excited by new things, he said.
“It’s a good time for the community, and have her get blessed, meet some other people and animals,” he said. “She can learn that people are good.”
Guadalupe County Sheriff K9 Officer Bruno, a German Shepherd, came out to be blessed as well. He was brought by his handler, Officer Wesley Doss.
“I brought him so he could be blessed, and be out here for the public,” he said. “The ceremony was awesome. The dogs need blessings too just as much as we do.”
Donley said she hoped everyone enjoyed the ceremony.
“I hope they will take away a sense that pets are a gift from God, and they are part of this creation and we need to bless them as much as they bless us,” she said.
She also thanked those who brought pet donations, and said they received a lot of donated pet food.
“Those are going to the Guadalupe County Humane Society,” she said. “We want to thank the community for that, and say thank you for coming and bringing your pets.”
Steffanie Agnew is a staff writer for the Seguin Gazette. She can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.