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Pets get prayers for blessings, life, peace

Jake hopped around on three legs, just as happy as could be.

He didn’t have a clue about the prayer that Rev. Anne Matthews was directing at him. He only knew that for a brief moment in the pet blessing ceremony held Sunday in Church of the Redeemer’s courtyard, he was the center of attention.

That wasn’t always the case.

Jake was adopted from Brookhaven Animal Rescue League by Martha Morgan and her son, Andrew, in February. An infection not treated by his former owners caused him to lose his right hind leg.

But the way he moved from person to person, stretching the length of his leash so he could kiss hands and get ear rubs and head pats, you’d never know he was hindered at all.

“He’s happy now,” Andrew Morgan said of the Sheltie mix.

Just like Maggie, the 12-year-old purebred dachshund, who is a cancer survivor. Pat and Durr Walker shower her with love and attention.

Durr Walker held her up, cradled like a baby, for Matthews to offer a blessing over the ol’ girl.

“Maggie, may you be blessed in the name of God who created you,” Matthews said. “And may you and all human creatures enjoy life and peace together. Amen.”

Martha Morgan, a volunteer with BARL and the Episcopal church’s Angels Attic Thrift Store, presented fellow shelter volunteers Anna Giust and Bridget Regan with its annual $500 donation from the mission.

Giust and Regan brought four BARL adoptables with them to the blessing. Three were full-blooded pit bull puppies recently rescued in Franklin County. Volunteers named them Grace, Glory and Mercy.

“They were abandoned and their mom and dad were chained up to a tree,” Giust said.

The mother had other puppies in the litter, but these three were the only ones found alive on the property.

The parents are recovering at the Brookhaven shelter. They’ve named them Mama Bear and Papa Bear.

The annual service at Redeemer started about 2001. It’s a celebration for St. Francis, also known as the patron saint of animals, and dates back to the Middle Ages. In its origins, farmers would deliver their livestock to the priest to receive the blessing. In modern times, the church sees mostly domesticated household pets.