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Ministers offer prayers for all kinds of pets

Annual "Blessing of Animals" garner crowd at Brenau

POSTED: October 8, 2013 1:00 a.m.

Katie Hughes with her dog Daisy and her mom Jo Hughes meet with the Rev. Michael McCann of Grace Episcopal Church on Sunday at the Blessing of the Animals. The church teamed up with the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia to sponsor the event.

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Thirteen-year-old Porter needed an extra “punch” for good health in his hospice years. Fiona, whose age is unknown, needed a cure for her carsickness and other ailments.

Both got an additional prayer during the annual “A Blessing of Animals” ceremony Sunday afternoon on the front lawn of Brenau University on the corner of Washington Street and Boulevard.

“It feels good that they get blessed,” said Fiona’s owner, Elaine Guanci. “It gives me a sense of calm.”

Guanci found Fiona at an Atlanta shelter after driving from her Buford home to adopt two other dogs. The small yorkie stole her heart and a yorkie-chihuahua mix captured her husband’s attention.

“She was off to the side by herself,” she said. “And Chandler was independent and my husband took to him. (Chandler) has attitude. She is calm.”

Fiona and Chandler were not the only pets who were found at a shelter or a rescue facility. Bobbie Ingenito connected with her dog, Porter, while working with a basset rescue group. He is one of four Ingenito cares for in her Gainesville home.

“He’s a special little guy,” she said while petting her 13-year-old dog. “He’s the oldest and if he makes it another year, it will be amazing.”

The Rev. Dean Taylor, who blessed the animals along with the Rev. Michael McCann, explained the connection between people and their pets is an unbreakable bond. The interim rector of Grace Episcopal Church compared it to God’s link with people. In fact, he included the sentiment when he laid his hands on the animals.

“I said ‘May God so bless this pet that your love for it may be a reflection of God’s love for you,’” Taylor said.

The church and the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia united to sponsor the annual event, which is held in honor of St. Francis.

“He’s known for being the patron saint of animals,” said Jennifer Williams, communications coordinator at Grace Episcopal Church.

Almost 100 people and their pets dotted the front lawn at Brenau for the event. While the majority of pets were canines — ranging from small yorkies to large great danes — a handful of owners brought their cats, birds and even a turtle.

Allison McCollum, 11, brought her turtle Milo. The Flowery Branch girl discovered him at a lake.

“I was building a sandcastle and went to go swimming with a friend,” she said. “ I came back and thought a rock was in my sandcastle. I picked it up to take to my sister and he poked his head out and I saw it was a turtle.”

Now, Milo has been a family member for two years.

“My mom warned me it would not make a good pet, but she loves him now,” Allison said, pointing out her mother is allergic to all animals with fur. “She said he’s the greatest pet ever.”


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