Pet owners clapped and smiled as Rev. Charles Dupree and Deacon Connie Peppler held the paws of their cats and dogs and said, “May God’s blessing be upon you, and may you flourish in the care and joy of those whose lives you share.”
Two kittens, two cats and 13 dogs licked, barked and purred as Dupree and Peppler blessed them in honor of St. Francis, the patron saint of animals and nature, during the Blessing of Animals on Saturday at Trinity Episcopal Church.
“We of course must celebrate the feast of St. Francis,” Dupree said. “He is considerably the most famous saint. St. Francis was really considered the patron saint of pets and had a real love for creation. This is us honoring him, and it is our duty to honor and take care of the Earth.”
Bloomington resident Fred Reed brought his service dog, a chihuahua named Kane, to the blessing. Reed has epilepsy, and Kane warns him and others of upcoming seizures. Reed brought Kane and several kittens to be blessed with hope the blessing will help Kane’s attitude and behavior.
“He needs it, honestly,” Reed said. “He is so bipolar and temperamental. I need a sign to warn people about him. But he loves people, and he loves getting his picture taken. He can just sometimes be really temperamental. I hope this blessing will help him.”
After the pet blessing, a service fair for homeless pets took place in the church's Brabson Garden.
The fair was organized by My Dog is My Home, a national organization dedicated to helping homeless people and their pets. Other local organizations like the Monroe County Humane Association and Wash and Wag also provided free veterinary services and supplies to homeless people and pets. .
This is the first year the church has been a part of this fair, and Dupree said it is very important to Peppler.
Peppler adopted a once-homeless dog named Bear. Bear was originally owned by someone who used the church’s shelter in the winter.
Bear could not attend the blessing and fair because Peppler would be at the church long hours.
Dupree said he was excited for the fair because he wanted a way to help the large number of homeless pets and people, who often received little care otherwise.
“So many of the homeless have pets,” Dupree said. “They need help, and it really is great that all these organizations came out to help.”
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