“Puppies get even faster blessings,” Rev. David Marshall quipped as a rambunctious 20-week-old puppy frolicked near his feet.
Marshall quickly recited the blessing. As he stood, his blue stole swayed like an invitation Paco couldn’t resist. The puppy jumped up and tried to bite one end of the reverend’s stole for a game of tug-o-war.
All Angels by the Sea Episcopal Church held a pet blessing on Thursday, Dec. 8. Two bowls of water were set out — one holy and one for lapping. Marshall also consecrated the new pet memorial garden.
The garden is visible from the Bay Isles Road and accessible from the sidewalk. Not a memorial for parishioners only, anyone can lay their pet to rest. A statue of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, watches over the garden.
Before the blessings began, Rev. Fred Emerich read Robert Frost’s “One More Brevity.” Emerich’s dog’s name Gustie came from the lines, “So I spoke in tones of adoption thus: Gustie, old boy, Dalmatian Gus.”
The push for the garden came from condominium living.
“Several people expressed interest because they have one, two, three or four boxes of pets,” planner Jerry Bowles said. “Living in a condo is pretty restrictive. You may not be there that long, and it’s not an appropriate place to place them.”
Bowles brought a watering can filled with yellow roses for anyone who wanted to lay their companion to rest. By the end of the afternoon, rose buds laid on the ground and peeked up from the shrubs.
The topside of the shrubbery looks full and lush but was planted with purpose and care. Spaces were left between plants so there are places to reach in and scatter ashes.
Rev. Marshall consecrated the garden saying, “God, remember before you this day, all of those animals that we love and see no longer and that we have set aside a particular piece of your creation for the purposes of remembrance and renewal.”