Pet blessing ceremonies date back centuries to the time of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals in the Catholic religion. Today, pet blessings are held by practitioners of many religions. Your local house of worship may hold blessing ceremonies for a variety of animals, from dogs and cats to reptiles and other exotic pets. If there are no ceremonies being held in your area, organize one yourself with the help of some local clergy.
Things You'll Need
- Leash or pet carrier
- Bottled water
- Pet clothing (optional)
- Blanket or lawn chair
How to Attend a Pet Blessing
Train your pet with some basic obedience prior to the ceremony. Teach him to "Sit," "Stay" and to be "Quiet" on command, so that he is well-mannered during the ceremony.
Bring some treats and bottled water to the blessing for your pet so he doesn't become restless or dehydrated. Use the treats to reward your pet for staying calm before and during the ceremony.
Keep your pet on a leash or inside a carrier to maintain control of him and prevent him from escaping during the blessing or fighting with other animals.
Dress your pet warmly in cold weather because most pet blessings are held outdoors.
Bring something that you and your pet can comfortably sit on, such as a lawn chair or blanket, for outdoor ceremonies.
How to Hold a Pet Blessing
Consult with local religious leaders to see if they would be open to performing a pet blessing ceremony in your area. Many different religions do hold pet blessings, but you'll have to consult with the clergy of your particular faith to determine if they would be open to the idea.
Reserve a venue that is appropriate for pets of all kinds. Most houses of worship hold these ceremonies in an outdoor area. Some pet rescue organizations may be willing to work with a local religious leader to hold a ceremony in their facilities.
Advertise the pet blessing ceremony to your community in your local newspaper, television news station or through the website of your house of worship. Create and leave fliers advertising the event taped around your neighborhood and with local animal shelters, rescue groups and veterinary offices.
Prepare or purchase treats for the pets to enjoy before and after the ceremony. Have some bottled water available as well.
Arrange for volunteers to clean up the space after the ceremony has concluded.
Tips & Warnings
- Attend the pet blessing ceremony with a stuffed animal or picture of your pet as a substitute for him if he is uncomfortable being outdoors or around other animals.
- Some Christian pet blessing ceremonies involve the pets being sprinkled by the clergy with a small amount of water. Prepare your pet for this prior to the ceremony. Sprinkle him with water at home and treat him afterward when he remains calm so that he is not startled by the water during the ceremony.
- Consult with an animal rescue group to coordinate an adoption event at the time of your pet blessing ceremony.
- Clean up after your pet using plastic bags or pet pads.
- Inform all attendees that they must keep their pets on a leash or confined to their carriers during the ceremony.
- AmericanCatholic.org: Blessing of Animals
- The Episcopal Diocese of Texas: Pet Blessings
- The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta: Churches pause to Bless the Animals
- The MetroWest Daily News: Church Plans Blessing of the Animals
- Santa Fe Animal Shelter: Pet Blessing, Memorial Service Honor Animals
- Tablet Magazine: The Rabbi Who Blesses Jewish Pets
- Santa Fe Animal Shelter: Buddhist Monk to Hold Pet Blessing
- Episcopal Church Foundation Vital Practices: Ideas for Community Partnerships Around Pet Blessings
- Photo Credit Iraida Bassi/iStock/Getty Images
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