Today was the Blessing of the Animals at St. Leo the Great Catholic Church. It is always near October 4, the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, beloved protector of Nature. My little dog, Hattie, is NOT a protector of Nature. She chews sticks, shreds leaves, and scratches up dirt. But, as usual, I digress…The pets gathered early in the morning on the damp, freshly mowed church lawn, by the statue of the Blessed Mother. There were about 30 people, and more animals. The pets ranged from stuffed teddy bears, to cats, dogs, and a charming pinkish-white pig named Giuseppe.
My little dog, Hattie, is NOT a Good Citizen anymore either, though she has had nearly more schooling than I do, in dog equivalency. She was the worst behaved pet in the whole entire animal congregation which was gathered, and I want to remind you there was a PIG present. I am not exaggerating. She whined, howled, and barked through the whole process, including greetings by the priest, prayers, and queuing up for the individual blessings. She rolled in the grass. (See damp and freshly mowed, above.) One woman came over to try to soothe her by patting her head. The woman behind me in line said to her dog, “You are being such a good boy.” I said, “Down, Hattie. Sit. Wait.” I muttered other things in my head, and looked enviously at Giuseppe the pig, standing properly. One family traded places with us in line, allowing us to get in front of them. How nice.
When it was our turn, Father dispensed with the chit chat and said, “We will just go ahead and bless her now,” leaving the unspoken, “so you can get her out of here.” And then she was blessed. Cheerfully and eagerly, she brought me home, and though she didn’t make any new friends (and neither did I), I think we are both blessed.