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BELLAIRE • MEMORIAL • RIVER OAKS • TANGLEWOOD • WEST UNIVERSITY

Furry Friends Showered with Blessings

Pooja Salhotra
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Pastor Seann Duffin, Patti Osburn, Steve Smith, Phebe Chen, Pastor Trey Burns

(From left) Pastor Seann Duffin, Patti Osburn, Steve Smith, Phebe Chen and Pastor Trey Burns at Blessing of the Animals. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra)

The corner of Bellaire Blvd. and Newcastle Dr. transformed into a furry frenzy on Saturday afternoon, as Bellaire United Methodist Church hosted its ninth annual “Blessing of the Animals” event while Evelyn’s Park hosted “Evelyn’s BARK.” 

In the Christian tradition, Blessing of the Animals traces back to St. Francis of Assisi, who was a patron of the animal world. Many churches celebrate Blessing of the Animals in the fall, around the feast day for St. Francis of Assisi on Oct. 4. But Bellaire UMC has been celebrating Blessing of the Animals as a larger, community-wide event in the spring for the past nine years. 

Hannah Smith

As her shirt says, Hannah Smith just wants to play with her dog, Louie. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra)

“We think of it as a gift we can offer to the community,” said Bellaire UMC Head Pastor Seann Duffin. “We invite everybody who loves animals to come, regardless of their faith, tradition or lack of one, and have a time where their pet friends can be blessed.”  

The event started at noon with an opening prayer, homily and group blessing by the pastors. Afterwards, attendees could take their pets to receive an individual blessing from one of the pastors. Nine pet rescue centers were also onsite with some of their adoptable animals, in hopes of finding them new forever homes. 

Across the street, pets mingled with each other and pet owners checked out a number of booths run by service organizations, including Gaithful Paws, aniMealsonWheels, Rescue Bank, Pawz, Rover Oaks Pet Resort, Southeastern Guide Dogs, Meadowlake Pet Resort, Woof Gang Bakery.  

  • Pastor Seann Duffin

    Pastor Seann Duffin blesses Donna Rudolph’s dog Buddy. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra)

  • Lisa Atkinson, Liz Atkinson

    Lisa Atkinson (left) and Liz Atkinson wait in line to have their dog, Avery, blessed. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra) 

  • Zachary Neely, Corky Fowler

    Zachary Neely and his dog Tucker meet neighbor Corky Fowler and his dog Abel. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra)

  • Reverend Diane McGehee, Candyce Beneke

    Reverend Diane McGehee blesses Candyce Beneke’s dog Lily Grace. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra)

  • Sandy Marr

    Sandy Marr enjoys spending time with her friend’s dog Bitsy. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra)

  • Golden Beginnings Golden Retriever Rescue

    Kinnick and Lily Grace attended the Blessing of the Animals with Golden Beginnings Golden Retriever Rescue. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra)

  • Katy-Marie Lyles, Jackie Ong

    Katy-Marie Lyles and Jackie Ong enjoy “Evelyn’s BARK” with their dogs. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra)

  • Allison Culver

    Allison Culver dances to popular songs with dogs.

  • Pastor Seann Duffin
  • Lisa Atkinson, Liz Atkinson
  • Zachary Neely, Corky Fowler
  • Reverend Diane McGehee, Candyce Beneke
  • Sandy Marr
  • Golden Beginnings Golden Retriever Rescue
  • Katy-Marie Lyles, Jackie Ong
  • Allison Culver

More photos

Pastor Seann Duffin

Pastor Seann Duffin blesses Donna Rudolph’s dog Buddy. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra)

Lisa Atkinson, Liz Atkinson

Lisa Atkinson (left) and Liz Atkinson wait in line to have their dog, Avery, blessed. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra) 

Zachary Neely, Corky Fowler

Zachary Neely and his dog Tucker meet neighbor Corky Fowler and his dog Abel. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra)

Reverend Diane McGehee, Candyce Beneke

Reverend Diane McGehee blesses Candyce Beneke’s dog Lily Grace. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra)

Sandy Marr

Sandy Marr enjoys spending time with her friend’s dog Bitsy. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra)

Golden Beginnings Golden Retriever Rescue

Kinnick and Lily Grace attended the Blessing of the Animals with Golden Beginnings Golden Retriever Rescue. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra)

Katy-Marie Lyles, Jackie Ong

Katy-Marie Lyles and Jackie Ong enjoy “Evelyn’s BARK” with their dogs. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra)

Allison Culver

Allison Culver dances to popular songs with dogs.

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