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Blessed pets: Oklahoma City retirement community hosts Blessing of the Animals

About a dozen animals were blessed during the Blessing of the Animals service outside the chapel at Epworth Villa, a retirement community in northwest Oklahoma City.
by Carla Hinton Published: October 19, 2013

A Dalmatian and pit bull mix named Ghost quenched his curiosity, while two bichons frises seemed to enjoy visiting together.

The canine encounters kept several residents at a local retirement community entertained Thursday during a short but reverent Blessing of the Animals service.

About a dozen animals were blessed at the event on the chapel lawn at Epworth Villa, 14901 N Pennsylvania.

The Rev. Lisa Crone, senior chaplain at Epworth, led the group through the brief service that included prayers, responsive readings and songs.

Such services are held across the state by churches and faith-based organizations on or near Oct. 4, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals.

“From the Creation story all the way to the great Revelation, animals are mentioned in very special ways,” Crone said.

She went from person to person to bless each pet, which sat in its owner's lap or at his or her feet.

Sara “Sally” Harper's shih tzu Clara Belle was frisky as she received her blessing. Similarly, Ghost, the Rev. Jessica Tanner's Dalmatian and pit bull mix, thought Crone needed his special attention, licking her face as she crouched next to him.

Tanner, Epworth's assistant chaplain, smiled as she tried to corral her pet.

“I need to clean my glasses,” she said, laughing.

Other four-legged attendees included Buddy (who wore a colorful bandanna around his neck); Jim and Kay Shock's yellow Labrador; Elaine Johnson's bichon frise called Putter Putter; and Connie English's bichon frise named BG.

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by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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