Thirty-two animals get blessed on Sunday

Published 2:42 am Monday, October 4, 2010

NATCHEZ — Area dogs didn’t have to bark or beg for their blessing Sunday, but a few did so anyway.

Grace United Methodist Church and The Natchez-Adams Humane Society teamed up to host their second annual Blessing of the Animals at the church. Thirty dogs, two cats and 45 two-legged friends attended.

During the event, the Rev. Darian Duckworth said prayers for those animals in attendance and those that had died. Each pet owner and their beloved animal lined up for a blessing

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“This event is done at churches nationwide on the first Sunday of October in commemoration of St. Francis, the Patron Saint of Animals,” Duckworth said. “The feast of St. Francis is Oct. 4.”

The Natchez-Adams County Humane Society hosted the event years ago, but only restarted it last year.

Board member Susan Mingee said she feels the event is great for the community and is excited to have this event again this year.

“It’s a special way to give back to the community free of charge,” Mingee said.

Many pet owners attended the blessing with their four-legged friends. Dog owners outnumbered the cat owners by a very long tennis ball throw, but that did not stop Dunbar Peale from bringing her cat to the ceremony.

Peale’s Sweet Pea has become a family member after appearing at her door as a stray in 2002.

“She just showed up at my door as a stray,” Peale said. “At first I didn’t want her, I tried to get rid of her but she wouldn’t leave.”

Sunday, Peale kept her cat in a carrier while the dogs roamed the field.

The dogs in attendance ranged in size from dachshunds to golden retrievers.

Judy Strickland’s golden retriever, Cooper, seemed to be the congregation’s favorite animal.

Judy has had Cooper for approximately a year now. Cooper was an abandoned dog that was found at Lake St. John. Cooper’s age is unknown but Strickland believes he is 5 or 6 years old.

“We decided to keep him. Our other golden retriever had died just months before, so it just seemed right,” Strickland said.

Organizers hope to host the event again next year.