When people think of preachers and churches blessing something, usually they think of people blessing other people. They are indeed correct. However, at my church, St. Mark’s Episcopal, we not only pray blessings for people but for animals as well. After all, we’re all God’s creatures and all wonderfully made and loved by Him.
Once a year, many churches invite their parishioners to bring their animals on the grounds and be apart of a service to bless these loved creatures. These are some of my favorite services because I’ve always felt like God made a special place in my heart for animals. I absolutely adore them. In the service we pray that these animals have love-filled, joyful, lives and that those pets that have passed on are happily in animal heaven being loved on my God Himself.
I grew up in an animal loving household where I was taught to always treat animals with love and respect. My family has taken in squirrels, birds, mice, and have always had dogs. The hardest thing about owning a pet is unfortunately, they don’t live as long as we do and we often have to say goodbye to these animals that have stolen our hearts with their slobbery mouths and constant barking before we are ready to.
This morning I had to say goodbye to the best dog a girl could have asked for. Toby Norman Hardie was adopted from the Humane Society as a puppy and taken into our home. Never did we suspect that this little mutt of a dog would have such a huge impact on our whole family. He was so loved; whether that was shown by feeding him scraps underneath the table, dragging his resisting body into bed with us, or taking him on joy rides around the block just to see his face light up with excitement.
This is where The Blessing of the Animals service become so comforting. After something like this, its hard not to be upset at God for taking a wonderful pet and friend out of your life so suddenly. This is where I’m grateful for the kind of dad and priest my father is. He explains in such certainty to me that Toby was blessed and loved not only by our family, but God as well and that without a doubt there is a “doggy heaven” that he is now happily residing in. This is the only aspect of this situation that gives me some peace. I will forever carry the belief of this heaven and faithful love. Rest in Peace Toby Norman Hardie. We all loved you so much.
This slideshow is a short and sweet story of Toby’s life.