Dogs blessed at Bark Park reminder of ‘Tupelo Reads’ selection

Adam Robison | Daily Journal Tupelo resident Albert White holds his dog Colonel, a 12 year old Jack Russell Terrier to be blessed by Rev. Paul Stephens.

Adam Robison | Daily Journal
Tupelo resident Albert White holds his dog Colonel, a 12 year old Jack Russell Terrier to be blessed by Rev. Paul Stephens.

By Sheena Barnett

Daily Journal

TUPELO – Two very different dogs, who live under the same roof, received some much-needed blessings on Sunday afternoon.

Roommates Jamie Swindull and Aundrea Coutcher brought their dogs, both rescues, to the Bark Park, where the “Tupelo Reads” program hosted a blessing of the dogs. The “Tupelo Reads” selection is Willie Morris’ “My Dog Skip.”

“We just rescued Gypsy three weeks ago,” Swindull said, “and we rescued Emmitt from the pound 10 years ago, so he’s 12. He’s hard of hearing.”

Gypsy, who’s about a year old, is “very active,” Coutcher said. “She needs a calming blessing.”

Gypsy was passed around to several foster homes before finding her permanent home, and Emmitt was about to be euthanized when he was rescued.

The pups were two of about 40 who came out to receive a blessing from the Rev. Paul Stephens, rector of All Saints’ Episcopal Church, which hosts a Blessing of the Animals each year.

“What a fun way to meet people and other dogs,” said Lisa Reed, chairwoman of the “Tupelo Reads!” program.

Summer Knight of the Bark Park handed out ice cream treats that were both human and dog friendly and said it was the biggest turnout ever at the Bark Park.

“This is our first annual event, and we hope to add to it every year,” she said.

“Tupelo Reads!” events continue on Friday, with a reception at the GumTree Museum of Art for the Lawndale Elementary fifth graders who created art based on “My Dog Skip.” The 2000 movie based on the book will be shown at Fairpark that night at 7:30 p.m.

On Sept. 25, former Gov. William Winter will speak at Lunching with Books at the Lee County Library from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. about the book and Morris.

All events are free and open to the public.

sheena.barnett@journalinc.com