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God Bless Our Pets

Send prayers for your pets. OurPrayer volunteers will pray for the furry, finned and feathered loved ones in your life.

By Edward Grinnan, New York, New York

WEB EXCLUSIVE

My wife, Julee, and I don’t have kids, but we’ve had dogs for as long as we’ve been together. In fact it was Julee’s old Cocker Spaniel, Rudy, who actually introduced us one night on West 72nd Street in Manhattan, when I fatefully observed that Rudy was the fattest Cocker I’d ever laid eyes on. Julee probably would have just kept walking—can you blame her?—if Rudy hadn’t applied his considerable body weight and dragged her over to me.

Such is the role animals sometimes play in our lives. Those of you who don’t believe this can just stop reading; there’s nothing more for you here. For those of you who have found a deeper connection to an animal that the mere word “pet” can possibly define, you have found a fellow believer.

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I don’t say that I would love an animal like I would have loved a child; that would do discredit to the animal. Animals must be loved for who they are, on their terms. It is fruitless to try and humanize them. (That they can humanize us…well, that’s another story.)

I will say that I can love an animal as much as I can love anyone or anything. I don’t believe love is hierarchical. Love is the same in different ways, and I have never been able to love my dog more than it loves me.

Why is it that we humans form such intense, preternatural bonds with our animals? What compels us to reach across the boundaries of species in search of something that, perhaps, we can’t get from one another? Some pure and uncomplicated devotion, love distilled to its essence? What a lonely planet it would be if we were the only creatures on it. How thankful to God I am that it isn’t so.

No wonder we pray for our pets, especially on October 4, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, when many churches hold the Blessing of the Animals ceremony. This year as part of the celebration GUIDEPOSTS' OurPrayer.org, invites you to pray for your pets online. Send prayers for your pets and caring volunteers will pray for the furry, finned and feathered loved ones in your life.