A blessing in disguise for perplexed pets?

The Rev. Hollis Wright of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Grand Junction prays for Mickey, a 15-year-old Basenji and longtime companion of Patsy and Jay Makemson of Fruita, at the church’s annual blessing of the animals service in honor of the patron saint of animals, Francis of Assisi.

They came wagging their tails, whining a bit and tugging on leashes. One squawked about being a pretty bird, one lounged about in scaly skin and another made heads turn with an abrupt whinny. A few of the feline variety stayed safely in their cages until they were shuttled back home.

A blessing of the animals at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 3888 27 1/2 Road is an annual event that started three years ago in honor of the Rev. John Millen, who especially loved the custom.

Other churches around the Grand Valley also celebrated the event of blessing animals in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals whose feast day is Oct. 4.

On Sunday, the word apparently had gotten out about the blessing at St. Matthew’s as about 70 dogs, some birds, cats, one iguana and one horse were blessed.

After receiving a brief prayer, a pat with a little water to the head, and a treat, the animals seemed to calm a bit, said the church’s rector, the Rev. Hollis Wright.

“I think they just like the fact that we respect animals,” Wright said about parishioners and others who came to the event. “We want to take the time to do this.”

Owners Linda and Barclay Jameson didn’t think it’d do any harm to have their six-year-old dachshund, Hansie, blessed.

“He’ll lick you to death,” Linda warned about their dog with the golden, pleading eyes.

Fifteen-year-old Mickey, an African hunting dog called a Basenji, is getting on in years and this may his last chance to be blessed, said owners Jay and Patsy Makemson of Fruita.

The couple, probably like all pet owners who attended the event Sunday, adore their animals and are eager to share the stories to prove it.

“He makes me laugh at least three times a day,” Jay Makemson said of Mickey. “If I was younger, I wouldn’t hesitate getting two of them.”


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