2 horses, 15 dogs and a hamster… St Bartholomew’s Church offered a Pet Blessing Service on the afternoon of the 26th September 2021. Studies* have shown that up to 75% of pet owners claim to have reduced anxiety and better mental health because they have a pet. During the current pandemic, new pet ownership has boomed as families have sought the companionship of a dog or cat.
7 years ago my family rescued a street-stray Lurcher. We found him via a rescue centre and offered this dog a home with us. Over the years we have watched him recover as he finds confidence in the safety of a home (his ‘pack’ perhaps). It feels odd to think of him as a rescue dog now, because he is simply a loved family pet. The hard work in training and caring for him is significant, but the rewards of having a well-trained dog and the devotion he shows to us has been a massive blessing on our lives.
We gathered in St Bartholomew’s Church to give thanks to God for the blessings our pets have been to us – and to pray for God’s blessing on them in return. With so many pets in the building, it was an honour to invite those present to lay their hands on their pets and to lead them in a blessing.
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth…
…and God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.” So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.Genesis 1:1, 20-25: New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
*a quick google search