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Shelter donations and blessing of the pets

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Fall weather has been slow in arriving this year, but it looks like we may be in for some seasonal temperatures this next week.

Have you noticed some Halloween yard decorations popping up? Are you wearing your favorite hoodie at evening football games? Do you have an uncontrollable craving for candy corn? Yes, October is here in all its glory.

Speaking of those favorite Fall traditions, there is one special day for our furry, finned, and flying friends with whom we share this planet. It’s best-known as the “blessing of the animals” and is a beautiful way to honor God’s creatures.

We are still living stressful, unpredictable lives that Charles Dickens referred to as “times that try men’s souls - and women’s too! But through it all, and through all of our worldly trials and tribulations, pet owners know there is nothing quite like the unconditional love of a companion animal to raise our spirits and bring us joy.

Whether it’s coming home from a bad day at work, struggling through a frustrating Zoom call, or trying to resolve a disagreement with a friend or family member, a loving animal is better than therapy.

Blessing Our Animal Friends

Tomorrow, Oct. 3, you will have an opportunity to honor your beloved pets by participating in a Community Blessing of the Animals at the green space of St. John Lutheran Church at 701 N. Sixth St. in Beatrice. The community-wide event that is free and open to the public will begin at 1 p.m. All faiths are welcome, and the blessing is non-denominational.

You may bring your cat, dog, rabbit, frog, ferret, horse, or whatever pet you have and can transport. Animals in attendance must be well-behaved (humans too) and on leashes or in crates or carriers. Goats, pigs, fowl, and other farm animals are also invited.

If your animal is aggressive or overly sensitive and not a candidate for attending the event, do not despair, but rather consider bringing a photograph of your pet. Each pet and pet owner will receive an individual blessing whether in person or in absentia.

And if you are unable to attend the festivities on Sunday, you can still participate. The Rev. Kathee Forrest, pastor at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Beatrice, tells us that “Blessing your pet is as easy as saying their name followed by: May God’s abundant blessing rest on my beloved pet, a companion with us in the journey of life. Amen.”

Blessing the animals is an annual celebration at churches all across the country and the world. The October blessing date is significant as the feast day of Frances of Assisi, a Christian patron saint of animals who expressed a love for all creatures. Perhaps you have seen popular garden sculptures of St. Frances with him portrayed with a bird perched in his hand and woodland creatures gathered at his feet.

If you want to participate in a meaningful moment with your faithful friend, plan to attend tomorrow’s Blessing of the Animals. It will be a “feel-good” moment for all involved.

Sharing with Shelter

Do you find that reading the news of the day or watching television broadcasts of what is going on in the world is getting more and more depressing? If so, you will love this story of kindness and compassion.

Recently two young ladies turned a crafting project into a benefit for the animals at the Beatrice Animal Shelter. Aubrie Fanning and Halle Bissegger are nine-year-old fourth graders at St. Joseph’s Catholic School. They decided to take on the challenge of making key chains with animal figures and then selling them.

After they had some completed, they went person to person selling them to family and friends and whomever for a monetary donation. As they continued production of the key chains and saw a profit, Aubrie’s mom – Amanda – asked the girls what they were going to do with their proceeds.

Since both girls are huge animal lovers, it only seemed natural that they would choose the Beatrice Animal Shelter. Even at their young age, the girls have shown just how much they care about animals.

Not so long ago, Aubrie and Halle rescued two abandoned kittens that were found on a county road. Each girl took a feline home, cared for it, and now each girl has “adopted” a kitten. The dynamic duo actually love, love, love all animals and have other pets at home too.

And Aubrie promotes animal awareness to others. She encouraged her brother, eight-year-old Andrew, to help with the key chain project too. Like his sister, he is a huge animal lover and especially loves his Bassett hound pups, “Hank” and “Hazel”.

Knowing that there are young people like Aubrie and Halle and Andrew actively preparing to be the next generation of animal stewards is very reassuring. Thanks, kids, for caring.

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