Blessing of the Animals

Posted by Billy Francis

Every year on October 4, Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and ecology, is celebrated with special services and events around the world. These fun-filled occasions welcome all creatures great and small to gather for prayer, songs, Bible readings and more. This year, bring your furry, scaly and feathery friends to receive a special blessing at one of these celebrations for the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi.

Interfaith Blessing of the Animals

Long Beach, CA
Feel the love. Photo by @erniedapoo

One of the biggest pet blessings in the world, the Interfaith Blessing of the Animals will welcome more than 300 pets to this year’s event. A mini cow, pony, alpaca, goats, sheep, bunnies and ducks have all been blessed in previous years. The dedication takes place at Rosie's Dog Beach, one of the 10 Best Dog-Friendly Beaches on the West Coast. After the blessing, play fetch on the only legal off-leash dog beach in Los Angeles County.

This year’s pet blessing will be held on October 22 starting at 3 p.m. Fido can spend another day at the beach if you book a night at the pet-friendly Hotel Maya, A Doubletree by Hilton Hotel.

Feast of St. Francis and Blessing of the Animals

New York, NY
“I’ll do tricks for a good blessing!” Photo by

People from many Christian faiths worship together at the iconic Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. The Gothic building is the largest cathedral in the world and one of the five biggest church buildings on Earth. Its inclusive Feast of St. Francis and Blessing of the Animals is always a big hit among the congregation. This year's celebration will feature worship, dance, and music in honor of St. Francis.

The Feast of St. Francis and Blessing of the Animals will be held from 10:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. on October 1. Spend the night somewhere special after the service. The Benjamin Royal Sonesta New York supplies four-legged guests with complimentary use of a bed and bowls.

Blessing of the Animals

Minneapolis, MN
“Hey, we match! Now, can I have a treat?” Photo by

The Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis welcomes all creatures during its annual Blessing of the Animals, which encourages attendees to respect all of God’s creations. Bring Fido to the Basilica and meet other animal lovers on the lawn before heading inside to listen to a service that includes readings, prayers and songs. After the general blessing, pet owners can receive an individual blessing on the lawn outside. The Blessing of the Animals will be held on October 1. Afterward, check in to Hyatt Centric Downtown Minneapolis where your pup will be pampered with treats, bowls and beds.

St. Francis Winery & Vineyards Annual Blessing of the Animals

Santa Rosa, CA
“I waited in line for half an hour and there are no treats?” Photo by

All of God's creatures are welcome at St. Francis Winery & Vineyards' Annual Blessing of the Animals. The Santa Rosa winery that shares its name with Saint Francis himself has been hosting this annual event since 2000. Proceeds raise much-needed funds for local Sonoma County animal non-profits. Along with a blessing, the day’s activities include the Winery Dog of the Year dog show and contest, a chance to enjoy the vineyards' wines and local fare, a silent auction and raffle prizes.

This year’s pet blessing will be held on October 1. Spend the weekend in wine country with a stay at a cool mid-century modern motel, The Astro, which welcomes two dogs of any size.

Blessing of the Animals Festival

Tampa, FL
“Forgive me, Father, for I have bad breath.” Photo by

The Blessing of the Animals Festival is a 35-year-old tradition at St. Clement’s in Tampa, FL. Beneath the cooling shade of grandfather oak trees on the church grounds, Father Hayes will perform blessings on farm animals. Smaller pets will be blessed inside the church. Father Hayes is experienced in the field and has even authored his own book on the subject, “The Faith of Dogs.” If you would like to pay tribute to any pets who have passed on, you can purchase an engraved brick to take pride of place in the Pet Terrace.

This year’s Blessing of the Animals Festival will take place on Saturday, September 30 at 11:30 a.m. Spend the night at the nearby, pet-friendly Hyatt Place Busch Gardens.

Blessing of Animals

Gainesville, GA
“Do you believe in dog?” Photo by

The Humane Society of Northeast Georgia and Grace Episcopal Church are the hosts of Blessing of Animals in downtown Gainesville. The event takes place on the front lawn of Brenau University and brings together domestic animals of all shapes, sizes and faiths. As a thank you for the service, visitors are asked to bring much-needed items to donate to the Humane Society, including dog and cat treats, toys, collars, detergent and trash bags.

This year’s Blessing of Animals will be held on October 1 at 4 p.m. Explore the lakes and forests around Gainesville with your base at this lakefront vacation home with a dock.

South Pacific County Humane Society Blessing of the Animals

Long Beach, WA
#blessed. Photo by

After a calming stroll on Long Beach Boardwalk, join the other animal lovers at South Pacific County Humane Society for its Blessing of the Animals. Pets will be blessed in the parking lot before guests are invited inside for refreshments and an open house. This year’s blessing will be conducted by Reverend Richard Loop of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. Afterward, meet the amazing volunteers who give up their time to help animals and a few of the temporary resident animals looking for a new home.

South Pacific County Humane Society’s Blessing of the Animals will be held at 1 p.m. on October 7. For a unique hotel stay, book a room at the Lighthouse Oceanfront Resort, where Fido will receive a welcome gift of dog treats and a towel.

The Blessing of the Animals

Toronto, ON
Too blessed to be stressed. Photo by

First established in 1797, the Cathedral Church of St. James in Downtown Toronto is home to the oldest congregation in the city. It stands out against the modern high-rises in the neighborhood and makes for a one-of-a-kind destination to bless your pet. The Blessing of the Animals, which takes place on the Cathedral’s West Lawn, is among the most popular events held on the historic grounds. As part of the service, your pet will receive a special blessing from a clergy member.

The Blessing of the Animals will be held at 11:30 a.m. on September 30. After the service, walk two blocks over and check in at the stately and pet-friendly Omni King Edward Hotel.

Blessing of the Animals - A Community Celebration

Mount Airy, MD
Photo by

Bring Fido to Blessing of the Animals - A Community Celebration at Calvary Lutheran Church and stay for a community celebration with pet adoptions, vendors, and live canine demonstrations. You'll also have a chance to register your furry friend in the Dachshund races, costume contests and the parade. Humans will enjoy food truck offerings from Cryin’ Johnnies Hot Dogs.

Blessing of the Animals - A Community Celebration will start at 1:30 p.m. on October 8. Stay nearby with your blessed pet in Ellicott City at Turf Valley Resort.

Photo by Unity Church of Rochester

Invite the entire neighborhood to bring their pets to the Pet Blessing at Unity Church of Rochester, located in a suburb of Detroit. It doesn’t matter if you have a dog, cat, rabbit or horse! All are welcome to get a special blessing and celebrate the unconditional love shared for furry, feathery and scaly friends. Bring a chair and snacks to join in the fellowship on the lawn.

The Pet Blessing will take place on October 7 at 11 a.m. Afterward, you can rest and rejuvenate at Sonesta ES Suites Auburn Hills.

Where will you bless your pet on the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!