Fayette County

For the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, pets receive blessings at Lexington's Cheapside Park

Deacon Paula Ott petted Samuel, a dog she adopted at last year's event from the Jessamine County mobile adoption center.
Deacon Paula Ott petted Samuel, a dog she adopted at last year's event from the Jessamine County mobile adoption center. Herald-Leader

Hazel the rabbit, who had grown quite spoiled as a housebroken pet, might benefit from an official blessing, her owners decided.

So on Saturday, along with several dozen people celebrating the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, 10-year-old Marian Byrne and her mother, Charlotte Bloxsom, went to Lexington's Cheapside Park to have their bunny blessed.

"Hazel's really spoiled, but we love her very much," Bloxsom said.

Hazel was the lone rabbit among many dogs and cats, said Paula Ott, deacon at Christ Church Cathedral, the church that hosts the annual blessing of the animals. Last year, Ott said she also blessed a goat.

"We bless them in the name of the Trinity," she said, and acknowledge them as God's creatures.

Ott asks for the names of the owners and blesses them, too.

Samuel the dog, part Labrador, part "not sure what else," Ott said, was a return visitor.

Last year, Ott recalled, Samuel arrived with Jessamine County animal control staff.

"When I saw him last year and blessed him, they told me he needed an extra blessing because if he wasn't adopted over the weekend, he was going to be euthanized."

"So I adopted him," Ott said.

Luke Campbell, 13, and his sister Iona Campbell, 10, brought their 10-month-old female beagle named Whiskey. "We bless our parents and ourselves," said Luke. "Why don't we bless our dog? It's part of our family."

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