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Six dogs, two cats and their parents gathered at St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Fredericton, on Oct. 7 for a Blessing of the Animals service. The service, led by the Rev. Canon Elaine Hamilton and Brenda Smith, was punctuated by lots of barks, along with traffic noise, but no one seemed to mind in the least.

Elaine led the short service and choir member Brenda acted as reader. The service began with the song “All things bright and beautiful.” 

Elaine read Genesis 9:8-17 (the great flood story), and everyone joined in to read the Prayer of St. Francis. 

“I’m thankful for all of your animals and that you’ve brought them here to be blessed,” she said. “I know they are your babies. What a wonderful thing to bring your animals to be blessed.”

After the prayers of the people, Elaine went to each pet and bestowed a blessing. Pet parents were from St. Peter’s and other churches in the area, and all were very appreciative.

“I think it’s a great experience to have a blessing of the animals,” said warden Diana Graham, who was there with six-month-old Pippen, a yorkie Pomeranian cross. “It’s wonderful.”

Elaine has been filling in at St. Peter’s while they are without a priest, and decided to hold the service.

“When I was working, I always did a blessing of the animals service,” she said. “I’m an animal lover, but this is a first for St. Peter’s.

“I think it’s important. Pets are so much a part of your life. You want them blessed just like you want the humans in your life to be blessed.

“Our pets give us so much love and joy and bring some people out of dark places. It’s good to bless their lives with ours and acknowledge all they give us.”

1.  Basset hounds Daisy and Willie were on the lookout for treats during the entire service. Their parents are Marc and Heather Theriault.
2.  The Rev. Canon Elaine Hamilton blesses Pippen, a six-month-old Yorkie Pomeranian, held by his mom, Diana Graham.
3.  Elaine conducts the service of blessing, with Sharon Vicars and Daisy looking on. Daisy will fake sneeze for treats!
4. Brian and Anne Hamilton, who is holding Piper, 8. Brian is married to Elaine.
McKnight photos

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