Though the crowd was a little more raucous than he was used to, Scott Rollins, minister at Highland Christian Church, had its members eating out of his hand by the end.
The crowd, in this case, was composed of mostly dogs and cats. And Rollins was handing out treats.
On Sunday afternoon, Rollins led pets and their owners in the annual Blessing of the Animals service.
For Brooke Dockery, teenage daughter Kaylee and 12-year-old dog, Will, the blessing couldn’t have come at a better time. Will, whom Dockery rescued from a shelter two days before he was to be euthanized 11 years ago, is set to undergo surgery to remove a tumor later this week.
“I’m a little bit nervous,” said Dockery, who works as a veterinarian technician. “But I am so glad we could bring him here today.”
Ginger, the Dockerys’ 14-year-old cat, rolled up to the service in style — in her own stroller, complete with a cushion for napping and water for sipping.
Rebecca Hubbard, who brought Petunia and Peanut, two dogs she rescued from L.I.F.E. House, pointed out three other dogs in attendance that were also adopted from the westside shelter.
“It’s like a family reunion,” she said.
The service was a celebration of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, who is considered the patron saint of animals and the environment.
“As we bless our beloved pets in this service, we are reminded of the human responsibility to care for all of creation,” Rollins said. “God tells us to care for and love His animals and to keep loving our pets.”
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