By THERESA CHURCHILL – H&R Senior Writer Herald-Review.com | Posted: Sunday, April 24, 2011 12:01 am |
That’s why on Holy Saturday he conducted his second blessing of the animals service since becoming pastor of Christ United Methodist Church in Decatur, his 29th animal blessing since becoming a minister. “Pets are part of the family for many people,” he said.
This year, Cox laid his hands on and blessed eight dogs and three cats in the pavilion northwest of the church, but over the years he has blessed fish, gerbils and ferrets as well. He also read the 23rd Psalm, the “Ten Commandments from a Pet’s Point of View” by Stan Rawlinson and passed out copies of the latter.
|As Christ United Methodist Church Pastor Kelly Cox reads the ‘Ten Commandments from a Pet’s Point of View’ during the Annual Blessing of the Animals, Jack and Diana Keller’s dog, Robin, takes in the sights and smells of other animals. Barbara Boyd and Karen Rivera are also pictured with their pets. Herald & Review/Kelly J. Huff|
Two-legged attendees who are not members of the church included Jack and Diana Keller of Decatur, who brought Robin, their 4-year-old Brittany, and Linda Gregory of Oakley, who brought a 9-month-old long-haired cat named Lily.
The Kellers said Robin isn’t their first dog, nor is she their first Brittany, but she is their first rescue. “That’s been interesting and a little bit of a challenge sometimes,” Jack Keller said, “She’s been blessing for our home.”
“We take her to agility trials, and she does really good at obedience,” Diana Keller added. “She likes to be active.”
Gregory shared that Lily came into her life at a critical time.
“I had just had to put my 17-year-old cat down, two of my grandkids moved to Florida, I had just retired, and I was kind of without an island there,” Gregory said. “She came along and needed a lot of help, and she’s helped me a lot.”
The only close call during the service came when Macaroni, a 6-year-old Boston-rat terrier mix, slipped off his leash and went over to introduce himself to Robin, setting off a round of barking.
Mac’s owner, Karey Keller of Harristown, made sure everyone knew her husband had fastened the leash to the dog’s harness – supposedly.
Karey Keller’s daughter Morgan, who will turn 5 May 21, also took the floor for a minute to introduce Mac. “He stays inside, he sleeps in the living room,” Morgan said. “He’s shy.”
The oldest pet blessed Saturday was a 16-year-old tortoiseshell cat named Acey brought by Allen Albert of Decatur.
Charles and Joanne Austin of Decatur said they don’t know what they’d do without their first house dog, 1-year-old Angel, a shitzu. “We love her dearly,” Joanne Austin said.
The attendee with the most pets was Karen Rivera of Decatur, who brought a trio of shitzus.
“They’re just so much fun,” Riversa said. “If I’m gone for five minutes and go in the house, it’s just like I’ve been gone forever.”
Cox spoke about David, Israel’s greatest king, and how he grew up as a shepherd boy.
“He knew the importance of animals; he certainly knew the importance of the sheep and the animals used to help herd the sheep and keep them from danger,” Cox said. “It’s good to remember the importance of animal life in our lives.”