Emmanuel Lutheran hosts annual blessing of pets ceremony Oct. 6

Breeds ranging from German shepherds to Maltese dogs were on display at Emmanuel Lutheran Church for the Westview church's annual blessing of the animals event on Oct. 6.

The Sunday afternoon service attracted approximately 20 pet owners, according to Rick Durham, the minister of music at the church on Ingleside Avenue.

The majority of animals were dogs, there were also a few cats, Durham said.

Durham brought his two West Highland white terriers, or Westies, to the event.

He confessed that one may have been the least well-behaved in the group and "needed to be blessed."

The event is timed around the Oct. 4 feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, who is known for his concern for animals and the environment.

The Rev. Martin Schultheis led a small service on the church parking lot, then blessed each animal standing in line.

Following the blessings, the animals were invited to play a variety of games, with success being rewarded with treats.

Among the four games was one that required uncovering a treat hidden beneath a cloth and another in which a treat was found in a muffin pan only after a tennis ball had been moved.

A table was set up at the event to accept donations for the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS).

"It went very well. We were very pleased," Durham said.

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