By LOIS KINDLE
A well-behaved flock of area residents and their four-legged friends attended St. Andrew Presbyterian Church’s annual Blessing of the Pets Jan. 20.
After brief opening remarks, the Rev. Mark Salmon invited about 40 folks in attendance to bring forward their beloved family members to be individually blessed. Each person handed Salmon a paper paw attached to either a yellow or black ribbon representing either live or deceased pet(s) they wanted blessed.
This year’s assemblage included dogs of all sizes, a mini-horse, two sugar gliders and several cats.
The pastor spoke briefly to their owners about the animals, petted each one, and then asked for God for blessings based on what he was told. Several of those who had lost pets or whose pets were unable to be there brought photos for Salmon to pray over.
A “blessing certificate” signed by Salmon was issued for each animal blessed or memorialized, and the paws representing those deceased were then placed on a magnolia tree to be planted in the church’s planned Pet Memorial Garden (ashes repository).
The certificate read, “It is with great affection and belief that on this day we honor this pet who brings much joy and comfort to its owner. May God acknowledge our prayer that the bond between pet and owner continue through eternity.”
The event included a group of area nonprofit organizations benefiting animals, including Critter Mama Rescue, Feline Folks, the Sun City Center Cat Lovers Club, RVR Horse Rescue, Critter Adoption and Rescue Effort and Kittie Corral. Light refreshments were served.
“This is wonderful,” said Carol Liedberg, of Sun City Center, who brought along her 9-year-old Pomeranian, Angel. “It’s amazing that all these animals can be together without acting territorial or anything. It’s so nice to be sharing God’s love with them.”
St. Andrew Presbyterian Church is at 1239 Del Webb Blvd. W., Sun City Center. For more information, call 813-634-1252.