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More dogs than humans at Blessing of the Animals

By PAULETTE LeBLANC - | Oct 13, 2021

pleblanc@breezenewspapers.com

On Saturday, Oct. 2, over 80 dogs and one macaw, named Dude, brought their human friends to the 20th annual Blessing of the Animals, hosted by St. John’s Episcopal Church.

According to Kathleen Gredlics, the event, which was skipped last year due to COVID-19, is always held near the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi (patron saint of animals and the environment). The Rev. Christian Mayfield, Priest-in-Charge at St. John’s and the Rev. Kaylee Vida from Pine Island United Methodist Church, along with Judy Wenzel, senior warden at St. John’s, offered prayers and Bible readings during the ceremony and then went around blessing each of the animals.

Nancy Weir of St. John’s and Deacon Nancy Smith of All Souls Church in North Fort Myers helped get the names of each pet in order to present owners with a “Blessing of a Pet” certificate.

There were also guests from Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church, and Fishers of Men Church, although Gredlics said, unfortunately, Father Jacek Mazur and Father Bob Gordon were unable to attend.

“I thought it went very well. We had a great turnout and people hung around,” Gredlics said.

She said she was surprised there were no cats in attendance this year, however experts from Helping Paws told Gredlics felines are often skittish around so many barking canines. They also gave a presentation about how to adopt a cat from the facility in St. James City.

Gredlics went on to say that there were numerous dog breeds, ranging in size from very large Labrador and golden retrievers, standard poodles and pit bulls to tiny tea-cup sized dogs. The dogs, she said, enjoyed treats and plenty of available water while their owners enjoyed grilled hot dogs, beverages and various snacks, including Michael Guthrie’s famous vegan chili.

Dot Connell sold St. Francis of Assisi Medals to be put on the animal collars. Canned food was brought and donations were made for the Beacon of Hope Emergency Food Bank.

“It was a wonderful turnout for the event and we look forward to celebrating the Feast of St. Francis with all the animals and their human friends next year,” Gredlics said.