October is the birth month of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals, and October 4 is his feast day. St. Francis is said to have looked upon animals as beloved fellow creations and to have deplored any cruelty or disrespect to them. To honor the connection between people and their pets, many communities will be holding Blessing of the Animals services during the month of October. While their humans may be a bit anxious about how they’ll behave, the pets always seem to know they’re at a special occasion and behave decorously. Even if they are sprinkled with a bit of holy water, they usually accept it without a fuss. Cats too. Needless to say, the dogs are leashed and the cats are usually in carriers. Otherwise they might make a try for some of the holy ferrets, gerbils and pet mice around them.
If there’s a pet blessing ceremony in your community, I hope you and your pet attend. It’s good to remember how much love our pets give us. Good to remember that they are loyal to us no matter how cranky we get or how much weight we gain or how old we become. If it is true, as Jesus said, that God is love, then every person who receives the love of a pet receives God, and every person who shows love to a pet is demonstrating God.