Why Bless Animals?

posted Jun 30, 2016, 7:43 AM by Sue Fried   [ updated Jun 30, 2016, 6:15 PM by Melissa Navratil ]
by Andrew C. Mills, DVM, MPH

Blessing of the Animals Sunday played a big part in our family making Peace our church home.  We moved to Shoreview in the summer of 1990. I was starting a residency in Veterinary Dermatology at the University of Minnesota. We had just retired after a 20 year career in the U.S. Air Force and Army Veterinary Corps. Our children were staying with relatives in Montana while we bought a house in Shoreview. Carol took the Amtrak to Montana to pick up the kids.  As she left, she suggested I “look for a church.”

In the military we had moved 9 times in 20 years all over the US and overseas. Our philosophy was wherever we moved, the first thing we did was to find a church family, for this would be our anchor in a new community. Peace Church was the closest church to our new home in Shoreview, so I went to worship the first Sunday I was on my own. When the pastor Rev. Mike Miller announced that it was “Blessing of the Animals” Sunday, I was stunned!  I called Carol and told her I had found our church! That service had been a “sign”, and I wasn’t going to look further. We have been here ever since. 

I am pleased we have continued this tradition at Peace.  We have even expanded it from a yearly event to one Sunday every month during the summer. We have moved it outdoors to accommodate horses, howling dogs, and other skittish creatures.  By blessing our pets, we acknowledge that they are part of God’s creation, and a blessing to our own lives.  For people who have no one else, pets give them someone to love and care for. Service dogs provide vital care to people with disabilities. I have seen for many pet owners, their pets are like children.

In my profession, I see animals being blessed on a daily basis. Recently our own dog Poppy had a large benign tumor removed from her flank. We were blessed by the care and compassion shown by the veterinarians and technicians that operated on her and took care of her through a difficult recovery. And we were thankful for Nature’s healing power. 

It is a privilege to have a part in taking care of our “best friends” and keeping them comfortable, happy and healthy. Animals are an important part of our lives, and it is important to honor them for what they do for us and what they give us, unconditional love. The Blessing of the Animals service is a way to recognize the special part that animals play in our lives. Consider bringing your “best friend” to church on the next Pet Sunday! 

There are two more Blessing of the Animals services this summer:  July 10 or August 14 at 9:30 am.