Where to Take Your Divine Dog to be Blessed on Saint Francis of Assisi Day

Posted by Billy Francis

Saint Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of animals and ecology. Born in Italy in 1182, his devotion to his “brother and sister creatures” continues to be celebrated today. Each year on October 4, followers around the world salute his legacy with “blessing of the animals” services and events. These fun-filled occasions welcome all creatures great and small to join in prayer, song, bible readings and more in honor of our animal friends. Bring Fido to one of these pet blessings held on (or near) Saint Francis of Assisi Day.

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 animals from all backgrounds for free to this year’s event: a mini cow, pony, alpaca, goats, sheep, bunnies and ducks are all expected to be blessed this year. The dedication takes place on the concrete boat launch ramp next to Rosie's Dog Beach, one of the 10 Best Dog-Friendly Beaches on the West Coast. After the blessing, play some fetch on the only legal off-leash dog beach in LA county.

This year’s pet blessing will be held on October 6 from 5:45 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. Fido can spend another day at the beach if you book a night at the pet-friendly Hotel Maya.

St. Francis Day Fair

New York, NY
“I’ll do tricks for a good blessing!” Photo by Facebook.com/StJohnDivineNYC

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 largest church buildings on Earth. Its inclusive St. Francis Day Fair is always a big hit among the congregation. This year's celebration will be held outdoors and will feature pet blessings, food trucks and its first-ever Great Animal Costume Parade.

St. Francis Day Fair will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. on October 6. Spend the night somewhere special after the fair. The Benjamin supplies four-legged guests with complimentary use of a bed and bowls at check-in.

Blessing of the Animals

Minneapolis, MN
“Hey, we match! Now, can I have a treat?” Photo by Facebook.com/BasilicaMpls

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 6. Afterwards, check in to The Grand Hotel Minneapolis where your pup will be pampered with bowls, treats and beds.

Washington Metro DachtoberFest

Frederick, MD
Dachshunds may be small, but they are mighty. Photo by Facebook.com/DachtoberFest

Washington Metro Dachtoberfest is the largest longdog festival in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Bring your pint-sized pup (or her bigger siblings) to be blessed at the fest, compete in the Woofminster dog show, race in one of the wiener, Corgi or Basset Hound races, dress up for the costume parade and contest, and take a selfie with a vacationing Santa Claus. Dog owners can also get much-needed advice from expert forums and check out the wares on offer from the dog-centric vendors and exhibitors.

Washington Metro DachtoberFest will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on October 5. Admission is $5, and individual activities may incur a separate fee. The Country Inn & Suites Frederick offers pilgrims with pets a comfortable place to spend the night.

St Francis Winery & Vineyards 19th Annual Blessing of the Animals

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

All of God's creatures are welcome at St Francis Winery & Vineyards' Blessing of the Animals. The Santa Rosa winery that shares its name with Saint Francis himself has been hosting this event for the last 19 years. Proceeds raise much-needed funds for the Humane Society of Sonoma County. 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 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on October 6. Spend the weekend in wine country with a stay at a nearby pet-friendly vacation rental.

Blessing of the Animals Festival

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

The Blessing of the Animals Festival is a 32-year-old tradition at St Clement’s in Tampa, FL. Beneath the cooling shade of grandfather oak trees in the church grounds, Father Andrew Heyes will perform blessings of farm animals. Smaller pets will be blessed inside the church. Father Andrew 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 October 5 at 12 p.m. A portion of the proceeds goes to Pets for Patriots. Spend the night at the nearby, pet-friendly Hyatt Place Busch Gardens, which is also close to one of Tampa’s most exciting attractions.

Pet Fest and Blessing

Oak Ridge, TN
Stairway to Heaven. Photo by Facebook.com/Grace-Evangelical-Lutheran-Church-Oak-Ridge-TN

The Grace Lutheran Church in Oak Ridge, TN hosts a Pet Fest and Blessing every year come rain or shine. Prizes are given out at the door, and attendees can also enjoy free pet photos, games, crafts, face painting and a silent auction. The church also opens its doors to specialists in pet adoption and foster care.

This year’s pet blessing will be held on October 5 at 4 p.m. All pets are welcome on leashes or in carriers. Spend the night at a nearby pet-friendly vacation rental and learn the unique history of this “Secret City”.

St. Francis Blessing of the Animals

Asheville, NC
“Father, I must confess ... I have a tennis ball addiction.” Photo by Facebook.com/allsoulscathedral

Asheville’s Cathedral of All Souls is the setting for the city’s annual St. Francis Blessing of the Animals. All pets from fish to fowl are invited to join the congregation in the pretty outdoor grounds of this Episcopal church. Dogs and their owners can take a seat on the lawn, watch the blessings and hear about the legacy of Saint Francis.

St. Francis Blessing of the Animals will be held from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on October 6. Asheville’s bohemian shops, pet-friendly breweries and easy access to miles of hiking trails make it the perfect location for a weekend away. Dog treats and bowls are provided when you check in at the Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville, one of the best places to stay with your pup in the city.

Annual Blessing of the Animals

Coxsackie, NY
Be strong and take heart, Fido! Photo by @adinamarguerite

The Annual Blessing of the Animals in Coxsackie, NY takes place at Coxsackie Riverside Park, adjacent to the Hudson River. The fall colors on the trees and beautiful surroundings make this the perfect place for Fido to be blessed. There will also be a short memorial service to remember pets who have passed away.

This year’s Blessing of the Animals will be held on October 19 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. After his pilgrimage, let Fido rest his paws with a few nights in a nearby pet-friendly vacation rental.

Blessing of Animals

Gainesville, GA
“Do you believe in dog?” Photo by Facebook.com/gecgainesville

The Humane Society of Northeast Georgia and Grace Episcopal Church are the hosts of Blessing of Animals in downtown Gainesville, GA. 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 5 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Explore the lakes and forests around Gainesville with your base at a pet-friendly vacation rental.

Paws for a Cause

Palm Harbor, FL
Two blessings for the price of one. Photo by Facebook.com/mylcr.org

The Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Palm Harbor, FL pulls out all the stops on Saint Francis of Assisi Day. Its Paws for a Cause event includes a pet costume parade, free samples from pet vendors and a blessing of the animals. The pastor also conducts readings based on our loyal companions.

Paws for a Cause will be held from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on October 5. Although admission is free, pet food and blanket donations are welcome. If you want to extend your stay, check out this gorgeous pet-friendly Airbnb on the water nearby in Palm Harbor, FL.

South Pacific County Humane Society Blessing of the Animals

Long Beach, WA
#blessed. Photo by Facebook.com/beachpets

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. Afterwards, 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 5. 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 Facebook.com/stjamesto

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 member of the clergy.

The Blessing of the Animals will be held at 10:30 a.m. on October 5. After the service, walk two blocks over and check in at the stately and pet-friendly Omni King Edward.

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