A woof and a prayer: Dogs, cats, monkeys and more receive pet blessings at All Saints in Tupelo

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Among the wide-eyed kittens, fuzzy Pomeranians and tiny poodles were a few animals who needed an extra blessing or two at All Saints’ Episcopal Church’s 18th Annual Blessing of the Animals.
Each year the church hosts a pet blessing, where many pets of all kinds line up with their owners to receive a special, individual blessing from the church’s clergy.
Bobby and Martha Dale brought four of their dogs to be blessed, and it was their two special needs pups who needed an extra sprinkling of holy water.
“All four are rescues,” Martha said, and those four were the calm Sadie and ChiChi and the two outgoing pups, one-eyed Winky and Lil Guy, who needs a cart to help him walk.
“They all need a blessing,” Martha said, and Bobby added, “Those two need an exorcism.”
While ChiChi and Sadie calmly watched the proceedings, Lil Guy and Winky didn’t let their small sizes or disabilities slow them down from making new friends.
“They’re special needs, but they don’t know it,” Martha said.
Orange cat Tater spent the blessing cradled in his new home: the arms of his owner, Annaleise Carroll, 9.
Tater was rescued by Annaleise and her mom, Stacy Carroll, about a month ago.
“We were going horseback riding and she just came up. My granddad had just gone through a drive-through and he had some tater logs, and we fed her some and she just loved them,” Annaleise said, and the name Tater stuck.
“She’s not really happy with me right now, because I just gave her a bath,” Annaleise said. “But she’s a really good cat.”
The event also included a $1,600 donation from the church’s youth group to the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society.
The group raised the money by serving customers at Atlanta Bread, said Rosemary Bryan, 14. She brought her guinea pig, Millie, to be blessed.
Bryan said the black-and-white Millie’s been blessed before, and was generally a well-behaved pet.
“I have a leash for her,” she said, “but when I take her out to talk to her, she just sits there in the grass.”

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