Church hosts annual event in dog park

By Shelia Huffman

This sweet chihuahua receives a blessing.
Photo courtesy of The Blessing of the Animals

St. Francis Day was celebrated this year on Oct. 4, but if you missed the time-honored Christian tradition of taking your pet to church for a blessing, Central Christian Church will gather on Sunday, Oct. 28 for the annual Blessing of the Animals in honor of St. Francis of Assisi.

St. Francis was an Italian friar, deacon and preacher. He is widely acknowledged as the patron saint of animals and various legends attest to his love for nature and the environment.

Central shares that same love for animals, nature and environment. Nearly 12 years ago the church designated one acre of its grounds for a community dog park where people can come and sit under the shade of mature live oaks, read or visit with other dog owners while the dogs play unleashed in the fenced-in park.

Join people throughout the community as they gather with their furried best friends for a blessing and a good time Sunday afternoon at 3:30 in Central’s Community Dog Park. The dog park is located at 4711 Westside Dr. behind the church.

Music, refreshments, a door prize and treats for the dogs are part of the celebration. Each dog will receive a St. Francis Medallion to wear on his or her collar to commemorate the blessing.

St. Francis is said to have preached to a group of birds without one flying away and to have stopped a wolf from attacking the Italian town of Gubbio by making the sign of the cross and commanding it not to hurt anyone.

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