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Mission San Luis hosts Blessing of the Animals while some animals return the favor

Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church Deacon Mark Schneider prepares to bestow an animal blessing.
Tom Flanigan
Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church Deacon Mark Schneider prepares to bestow an animal blessing.

Tallahassee's Mission San Luis held its 18th Annual Blessing of the Animals on Saturday, Oct. 1. The event happens near the October 4th feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, known for his love of animals. Also there were lots of booths promoting various local programs involved with animals. That included members of Tallahassee Memorial's Animal Therapy program. Volunteer Judy Lamb said some of their dogs were providing their own kind of blessing to workers at the Leon County Emergency Center when it seemed Hurricane Ian might have the Big Bend in its sights.

"They had animal therapy dogs go out there, outside and when people got a break from the EOC, they'd go outside and play with the dogs. Stress relief."

And Lamb said the program just keeps expanding its visitations throughout the community.

"We just keep adding places. So the dogs are all over and everybody I talk to in the Animal Therapy program, I'd ask, 'Where do you go?' Some are in the Read Program in elementary schools. They're in the courtroom. Some people here love the hospital."

Hundreds of people and their pets, including dogs, cats, birds and reptiles, came to the Mission to receive blessings from Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church deacons. In the early days of the Mission, that duty would have been handled by resident Franciscan friars.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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