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Blessing the Dogs


Donald McCaig
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Dear Doggers,

 

We often have a brief Sunday service at our Sheepdog trial. This year, instead, I thought to have a “Blessing of the Dogs” service, Saturday after the running .

 

Our Preacher said she was willing. She and her husband would camp at the trial, do the service and afterwards eat with us and enjoy the music.

 

I should note there are 150 people in our zipcode and less than a dozen attend Sunday services at our church.

 

Anyway, about six o’clock handlers started showing up – some with six or eight dogs on leashes. My four were so tangled Julie joked I’d never make it as a dog walker. Pastor Robertson wrote down each dog’s name before beginning the service.

 

Brief prayer, reading of scripture and then the blessing – first a general blessing and then she blessed each dog by name and my eyes got moist.

 

I KNOW THESE DOGS.

 

Although I’ve never worked them or cared for them or – likely - ever touched them, I’ve known Peg and Twist and Ranger and Dirk and . . . since they were puppies. I’ve seen them when they were brilliant and when they were hapless and confused. I heard when they were ill or whelping or having difficulties. I know how their owners feel about them because I feel the same about my dogs. I know how lovely, evanescent and irreplaceable they are.

 

I learned that as I belong to a human culture – sheepdog culture – I belong to a culture of sheepdogs too. They are part of me.

 

And bless me with their lives.

 

 

Donald McCaig

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Seeing everyone with their dogs all together and so well behaved made me think that the dogs, too, knew that it was a service. The sheep received a blessing too. I hope it can become a tradition.

 

Our rescue regularly takes part in adoption events at the Franciscan Renewal, where the monks perform a Blessing of the Animals. It has always amazed me that the queue of people with their dogs (and even cats, rats and other small animals) is quiet, respectful and orderly. The dogs clearly understand nature of the occasion and behave appropriately.

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