From dogs to ferrets, critters are blessed at summer service

Read why no one was upset by the woofs and purrs that occasionally interrupted this service at The Grotto‚

Becky Martin is holding her year-old pug, Allie, while Father Jack Topper anoints her pet during the Blessing of the Animals at The Grotto.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
At times, The Grotto sounded more like a kennel than a sanctuary on July 15 as hundreds of pet-lovers attended the annual “Blessing of the Animals”.

During the service, The Grotto’s executive director, Father Jack Topper, OSM, told those at the outdoor gathering, “Animals do something special for us; they make us a little more compassionate toward our fellow humans. Treat them with love; take care of them, so they will be happy and healthy. And, we know they will take care of us.”

“It isn’t a weasel,” says the owner. “It’s my ferret!”

Monastery’s pets
Before the service began, Topper reminded us that their order had two dogs that have since passed away. “We still have a couple of cats.”

Topper added that caring for pets gives him, and others in his order, a direct connection to this ceremony.

Cats aren’t excluded; Loren Butler holds out his malfie for a sprinkling.

This service, Topper told us, is important, because it reminds us of the value of our pets. “It helps is remember what companion animals do for us; the lessons they teach us. They bring us unconditional love, comfort, and joy. They don’t judge us. They’re always happy to see us. It is a blessing from God that we have these pets to take care of; and, another blessing, how they take care of us.”

This pooch patiently awaits his blessing at this decades-old annual service.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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