On October 4, Catholics all over the world will celebrate the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, Patron Saint of animals. Hence, this day is also World Animal Day in honor of his love for all sentient beings.
Fur parents sometimes take their animal companions to church for a Blessing of the Animals. But while this is a beautiful remembrance, many animals may become terrified by strange surroundings, large crowds, and loud noises. Many guardians may also want to have sick animals blessed, which may add to the animal’s suffering. (Read: Here’s What You Need to Know About Pet Blessings)
Moreover, because of the pandemic, large crowds– even outdoors– pose a health risk to both humans and animals. So, instead of carting and driving your furry friends to church or to other establishments to have them blessed, why don’t you be a blessing to them and other animals instead? Here are three ways to do so.
Animal blessing: Spend some time with them
Because of busy days, we sometimes forget that our furry friends only have us in their lives. It’s said that a dog will love you for the rest of his life, so why not reciprocate that love by spending time with them to play? An extra hour to play fetch is a blessing that every dog will appreciate. Let your cat purr and sleep at your feet a little longer. Turning off the TV, putting down the laptop and giving our pets full attention– cuddles are actions that dogs really love!– will definitely make them feel blessed. (Read: 5 Prayers of Blessing for Beloved Pets and Animals)
Animal blessing: Adopt or donate to the local animal shelter
Some pets are not so lucky– either they get lost or their guardians decided to leave them to wander in the streets. These animals are put in the local pound or shelter. If you still have space in your home, consider adopting one or two of these poor animals to give them the love and care from a family they deserve. That will truly be a blessing to these animals! But if for some reason you can’t adopt, consider donating pet food and gently used blankets and towels to the shelter. The pets will really be happy to have warm blankets and delicious food while waiting for someone who will adopt them. (Read: Adopt Your New Fur-mily Member Through This Pet Directory!)
Animal blessing: Educate yourself about animal abuse and endangered species
More and more animals are killed in laboratories, fur farms, puppy mills, circuses, and hunting. These animals are alive and can feel love, happiness, loneliness, and fear much like human beings. Yet, because they are animals, humans take advantage of them: some of these animals are never able to feel grass beneath their feet, sun on their faces, or fresh air. Puppies can’t run and play around yards and with humans. Some of them are kept in lonely isolation, waiting for the next batch of tests that they will undergo– they spend their lives in stalls, metal cages, terrified and suffering in unnatural conditions.
Many endangered animals are hunted for profit, their habitats ruined because of climate change and non-stop destruction of the environment. So this is the best time to educate yourself about them and what you can do to save and preserve their lives and their homes. (Read: April is ‘Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month’—support it with these four easy tips!)