A few years ago we went to a blessing of the animals service in a courtyard at an Episcopal church. We stayed near the back behind assorted well-behaved dogs and some disgruntled cats, and kept death grips on Ivan and Dasa. There was a moment of panic when a woman carrying a rabbit cage came up beside us. I had visions of one of the munchkins leaping onto the cage and causing the bunny to die of fright. A whole awkward tableau unrolled behind my eyelids, but we managed to escape without any tragedies.
This year we attended a blessing of the animals event at an outdoor chapel in a grove of pine trees behind a Lutheran church. Ivan hasn’t been quite that over stimulated and hyper alert in a long time. It really wasn’t his fault. As soon as we got out of the car, a tiny poodle emerged from a car next to us, emitting very loud and shrill unhappy noises, which set the tone, so to speak, of the entire evening.
I settled our lawn chairs, bag of treats, blankets, Benedryl, and so forth off to the side to keep our wild animals from eating anyone. Then I took Dasa’s leash and she explored a few trees while Eric took Ivan to a large grassy area for some exercise. When Ivan is this hyper, you don’t really have to do much to give him exercise. You just hold the end of the leash over your head and he runs circles around you. After about 100 or so circles, we thought he would be a bit calmer, but such was not the case.
There were, mercifully, no cats, but there were lots of teeny tiny, fluffy wuffy, very vocal little dogs, and a parrot. If all the dogs had been like the two sleepy beagle/hound types who sat nearest us, it might have been less of a challenge. However, (and my apologies to small fluffy dogs everywhere) Ivan and Dasa seem to think tiny dogs too closely resemble squeaky toys.
This is why there are no photos from the occasion —because all hands were busy with the Munchkins and could not be availed upon to hold a camera. This also reminded me why it has been several years since we attended a Blessing of the Wild Animals event.
As we remembered it, the last animal blessing experience didn’t seem quite so exuberant and high-spirited (aka unruly and wildly chaotic). However, as I recall, it was a smaller crowd and had dogs of all sizes, which might have tempered things. It might also be the balm of time that smoothed out the frenetic sharp edges of that memory.
Dasa sat quietly on Eric’s lap, her usual sweet shy little self. Ivan sat on my lap and protested his captivity throughout the service. Ivan, who takes after me in several ways, does not believe in suffering in silence. If you don’t let anyone know you’re not pleased with the situation, how will they know they should fix it? Ivan made his dissatisfaction known with frequent dying water fowl noises.
Fortunately, there was so much going on that his complaints blended in with the rustles, squeaks, grumps, and service music. From what I was able to absorb when not attempting to reason with Ivan, it was quite a nice service. The minister came around and blessed each family of animals together: “Ivan and Dasa, may God, who created you in beauty and variety, now bless you and the companionship you share with your people in your journey through life.”
This is really the critical point. We are blessed every day with our Munchkins; the joy of living with them is a gift beyond measure. On that day, we were, as always, grateful for the Munchkins, but we were also grateful when the service ended. We took our little blessings home and collapsed on the couch.