Slideshow: Animals blessed on campus

Tails wagged and fur flew as the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life staff led this year’s Blessing of the Animals Wednesday in front of Robert Carr Chapel.

The university’s first Blessing of the Animals took place in 2005, and Minister to the University Angela Kaufman said she hopes it becomes a long-standing tradition.

She said many who brought their pets to the service “shared that it’s been meaningful for them and, in their minds, for their animal companions.” The service included hymns, readings from scripture and reflections on the importance of animals.

Students, faculty, staff and community members had the opportunity to play with and adopt kittens and cats from local rescue groups, and even a mounted police officer and K-9 unit officers and their dogs were in attendance.

Aledo residents Bob and Mary Francis Wood brought their Saddleback Coonhound, Beau, to the Blessing of the Animals.

The Woods said they made the decision to attend the Blessing of the Animals because Beau will soon undergo heartworm treatment,

“We need all the help we can get to make sure he gets healthy,” they said.

Even those whose pets did not have health problems were in attendance.

Senior communication studies major Priscilla Rodriguez said students like her take advantage of events like the Blessing of the Animals because their pets mean so much to them.

“It gives you peace of mind to have your pet blessed,” she said.

Rodriguez said her teacup Yorkshire terrier goes everywhere with her, and she would bring her back to the next blessing event.

“We bless marriages. We bless new babies. We bless homes when they’re built,” Kaufman, who has two cats and a dog at home, said. “Why would we not bless animals and acknowledge that they’re important to us?”

“Animals challenge us to be the most authentic version of ourselves, to be honest with ourselves and to take stock of what’s most important in life,” she said.