Washington — Animals both large and small headed to the National Cathedral on Sunday for the annual Blessing of the Animals
This popular service honors St. Francis of Assisi, who is the patron saint of animals and the environment. He was known for his love of all creation. Outside of the cathedral hundreds of dogs, some cats and their owners were there for the blessing. “This is the happiest and yappiest service we have every year,” said cathedral’s Provost Jan Naylor Cope as she addressed the crowd. Cope has been performing the animal blessing service for five years and says there’s always a large turnout. People are attached to their pets and the pets are attached to their people. Cope says last year, they even had some butterflies and frogs. “It’s a great outpouring of love, really,” Cope said.
Audrey Wood, who attended the service, said that when she was a little girl, her family would have all of their animals blessed. Her voice trembled a little as she talked about being there with her nearly 4-month-old Vizsla puppy named Saoirse, an Irish name that means “freedom.” “She’s my new little puppy and I love her more than anything. So she’s here for a little blessing,” Wood said.
Kathleen Raynsford attended at the service with her husband Craig Raynsford and Charlotte, a 7-month-old black lab mix that they rescued. Charlotte will eventually be trained to be a service dog. “I thought it would be a nice way to start things out to bring her for the blessing,” Kathleen Raynsford said. “I love this dog very much. I’m an empty nester and she fills my days. I’m thrilled to bring her today.” The Washington Animal Rescue League (WARL) was also at the cathedral with dogs in need of forever homes.
Sunday was World Animal Day, which started in 1931. A group of ecologists decided to put a new twist on the Catholic Church’s Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi by launching “World Animal Day,” which promotes the plight of endangered animals across the globe. Some of the events held on World Animal Day include animal adoptions and special prayers for animals. Original article http://wtop.com/dc/2015/10/photos-blessing-animals-d-c/slide/1/ *****THIS EVENT HAS BEEN ADDED BY WORLD ANIMAL DAY ADMIN****
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