I had my dog blessed by the Catholic church

Piqued my curiosity: I had my dog blessed by a Catholic priest 

Piqued my curiosity: I had my dog blessed by a Catholic priest

I was walking my dog by a Catholic church in my neighbourhood when a nice lady commented on how beautiful Hazel is. I know I'm a little biased, but I have to agree- she's a looker. We were making small talk about my dog when she mentioned that the church is offering blessings to pets. She encouraged me to bring Hazel back the following weekend to have her blessed.

Full disclosure; I don't practice or belong to any organized religion. I identify as an agnostic. I'm not an overly spiritual person. My belief is that humans should care for the planet and the natural world, and I find more spirituality in nature than in scripture. I try not to judge people too harshly when it comes to the way they show their devotion to their religion. I don't think that religious beliefs should be used as an excuse to judge people's life decisions, sexuality, or engage in war. But I was curious about this pet blessing. What does it entail? How does someone bless a pet? Most of all I wondered how my dog would react to being blessed, and how would I feel about it?

I call it writer's curiosity, the thing that pulls me toward doing things that make me feel uncomfortable. I decided to return the following weekend and have my dog blessed by the Catholic church- and to write about it.

I had my dog blessed by the Catholic church

Arriving at the church

Hazel made quite the entrance when we arrived for the blessing. I don't think anyone expected a 92 lb fluffy goofball to come bounding into their group. I figured that was okay because I also had no idea what to expect. The group was masked and we all physically distanced for safety. Everyone was very happy and excited to have a pet show up. They had brought photos of their pets on their phones because they were concerned their pets may be afraid of all the people. Hazel wasn't afraid, she was more concerned with the treats in my pocket and stealing the ball that a young lad was holding.

I was hoping the priest would be excited to have a dog show up, but he was very reserved and stoic. I guess that's fitting in his profession. The group was so kind and welcoming, especially to Hazel who was so excited she was bouncing around like a nutbar. 

I had my dog blessed by the Catholic church

Hazel receives her blessing

I was expecting the priest to put his hands on Hazel and recite a blessing. I didn't really know what to expect, to be honest, but that's how I pictured it in my head. There would be a line-up of pets who would each receive individual blessings. I did not expect a service like the one I was about to witness, that would bless all the pets at once.

I brought Hazel to the front of the group to receive her blessing from the priest. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to do that, but she seemed to be the star of the show so I just rolled with it. I had her sit while the priest read scripture from the Bible. I'm not sure what Bible verse he was reading, but Hazel and I listened respectfully- well she mouth breathed and I listened. Others in the group held up photos of their pets during the service. Then came time for the Holy water. 

A blessing is not a blessing without something symbolic. When the priest splashed the Holy water on Hazel it startled her. She jumped a little and we all laughed. Then he blessed the rest of the group. When it was over Hazel and I spent some time making our rounds, letting everyone pet her, including nervous kids who may have never seen a dog as big as her. 

While religion may not be my thing, everyone there was kind to us, and it was an interesting experience. Trying new things is what keeps life interesting. Hazel had a great time meeting people and getting butt-scratches from her new friends. And it can't hurt to have your fluffy, bouncy, disabled dog blessed by a man of God, right?

I had my dog blessed by the Catholic church

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1 Comentarios

  1. Sounds like it was a pawsitive experience for Hazel and you’re right, it can’t hurt.