I arrived a little early and realized that I should have put the gentle leader on Lila before I left the house. I forgot how much she can pull me when she doesn’t have it on. Lila saw all the people and dogs standing up on the little knoll waiting for the priest to arrive. We jogged over to be among the crowd. (Jogging was Lila’s idea.) Lila greeted some of the other dogs, and calmed down for a little bit. It’s funny how she gravitates towards dogs that look just like her. An older set of black labs could not see what Lila was so excited about.
When Father arrived, Lila decided it would be a good time to make a wild dash towards the planter that decorates the side of the entrance to the church. I wasn’t prepared and got a little gash in my hand from trying to hold her back. If only she had her gentle leader. When we got to the planter, I didn’t see what the big attraction was.
“Come, Lila,” I said.
“Oh, she listens,” said Father. Everyone seemed to be pleased about that, and I heard a few of their chuckles.
We went back to our spot, and I noticed that our cousin, Laura, and her two dogs, Choco and Mortie, had arrived.
“Thank you for inviting us,” said Laura with a hug. I was happy to meet little Mortie. Laura and Paul adopted him the day before from the Animal Humane Society. Laura talked about how great their experience was there. They had been looking for a dog on the website for a couple of weeks, and found Mortie’s picture, went to take a look, and now they have an addition to their family!
“This is Choco’s first blessing too,” said Laura.
“I brought Music to be blessed a long time ago. I didn’t think Father had blessings for the animals any more, but then I heard about it at church this morning. I knew I had to bring Lila,” I said. Music, our first dog, was the type of dog that growled and snapped at other dogs. Music seemed calmer than usual at her blessing, and after she was splashed with the holy water, she relaxed even more. When I heard about the blessing that was coming up, I knew I had to bring Lila.
Father started the ceremony in honor of St. Francis, and Lila was more excited than calm. Lila stayed close by but wandered about to get a few more good sniffs here and there and jumped up randomly for no reason.
A young girl recited a reading, and Father talked about what a blessing it is to have pets in our lives and how God trusts us to take care of them. We prayed our pets would stay healthy, be protected from harm, and we said the “Our Father” together. Everyone spread out to make more of a circle, when Father got ready to bless the animals. I didn’t get splashed with the holy water, but I hoped Lila did.
After the blessings were over, Laura and I chatted a little while longer. It was nice to learn that Mortie and Choco are getting along pretty well, and Laura reported that Mortie appears to be house trained, which is a blessing too!
I was glad that Lila was excited to be blessed even though she hasn’t changed a bit. Going to the blessing was a good reminder of how I feel blessed to have Lila in our lives even though some days are more blessed than others!