PIQUA — It was a mutual feeling for those who attended the Pet Blessing at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church on Sunday that pets are more than just pets.
“They’re family,” Betsy Alexander of Piqua said. “They’re my four-legged kids.”
Alexander and her daughters Lillian and Juliana brought with them three cats — including one on a leash named DaVinci, one 10-year-old cat named Jo Jo, and one special needs kitten named Evan Almighty — along with three bunnies.
“If we lose one these guys, we get very sad,” Lillian Alexander said.
“He’s a blessing,” Marie Anderson of Piqua said about her Yorkie named Dexter. Anderson jokingly added, “He lets us live with him.”
Anderson rescued Dexter two years ago from the Miami County Animal Shelter.
“He gives a lot of love and needs a lot of attention,” Anderson said. “It gives you a purpose in life.”
The Pet Blessing was held on St. Francis of Assisi Day, a day when Pet Blessings were held at other churches in the area and across the country. St. Francis of Assisi is a canonized saint in the Catholic Church and is the patron saint of animals in addition to the environment, Italy, merchants, and stowaways.
Pastor Michael Havey of St. John’s stated that St. Francis of Assisi believed that all creatures, not just humans, were children of God and were blessed by God.
“Gracious God, in your love you created us in your image and made us stewards of the animals that live in the skies, the earth, and the sea,” Havey said, praying during the Pet Blessing. “Bless us in our care for our pets and animals. Help us recognize your power and wisdom in the variety of creatures that live in our world, and hear our prayer for all that suffer overwork, hunger, and ill-treatment. Protect your creatures, and guard them from all evil, now and forever.”
Havey also read from Genesis 1:1, Genesis 1:20-28, and Psalm 84:1-4.
The ceremony marked the value that those animals held in the lives of their owners and celebrated the companionship and friendship those pets provided as well.
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall