It's a religious annual event for all of God's creatures.

It's a religious annual event for all of God's creatures.

In solemn and cheerful cognition, local pet owners brought their fuzzy friends to St. Luke's Nursing Center on Thursday to be blessed by Father Steve Wilson with the Grace Episcopal Church. Later, Father Wilson visited the Carthage Humane Society to bless the pets waiting for homes. The day, which was also recognized Oct. 7, is in commemoration of St. Francis of Assisi.

“We believe a lot in our faith and we want to share it with our dogs,” said Kevin Curtis, Carthage, holding Polly, the Pomeranian / Papillon mix. “I know it sounds funny but it's fun. It's great getting everyone together, seeing their pets and thinking of them as gifts from God.”

Father Wilson informed those gathered that Francis of Assisi was a well-known and much beloved reformer of the Church in the corrupt 12th century. His calls for Christians to practice, and not merely preach, the qualities of gentleness, forgiveness and patience, have led some to say he is the most widely-admired, and least-emulated, saint in Christian history. In addition, he loved animals, domestic and wild, often preaching some of his best sermons to birds or wolves--and the humans who listened in on what this crazy man was saying.

In honor of this special lesson, and love for Charlie the eight-year-old Schnauzer, Gene and Marilyn Kelley were attending the ceremony at St. Luke's.
“We do this every year,” Gene said.

“Yes, every year and it makes him a good boy,” Marilyn said, smiling at Charlie.
On Sunday, Oct 7, Grace Episcopal Church in Carthage will host the traditional Blessing of Pets. The service will be held in the “Barking Lot” at the corner of Chestnut and Howard streets at 5 p.m.

Pets of all species, sizes and denominations are welcomed. Dress code for the occasion is quadruped casual – smart collars and leashes, neat carrier cages, or even the occasion bowl filled with fresh water. Pets are encouraged to bring interested humans along, as their medieval forebears did when Francis preached.