The Norman Transcript

October 14, 2013

Animals receive blessing

By Jessica Bruha
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — While clouds loomed over Norman on Sunday, the rain held off for First Presbyterian Church’s 12th Annual “Blessing of the Animals”.

Rev. Pam Normile said she thought they might have a similar situation as two years ago when sheets of rain poured down around them as they held the annual service in “Willie’s Garden”.

“It was raining cats and dogs,” Normile said.

But church members still showed up to have their furry friends blessed.

Normile said they’ve had a variety of animals in the past including toads, hissing Madagascar cockroaches, ferrets, 100-year-old tortoises, a pony and, of course, dogs and cats. This year they only had a handful of dogs.

The service brought to light the importance of all God’s creatures and how they enrich our lives. Some of the dogs even tried to join in while the congregation sang a few hymns while listening to church member Mark Billy lead songs with the clarinet.

In past years they tried having a flute player, but the dogs wouldn’t stop barking, Normile said. Apparently, the soft tones of the clarinet were a little more soothing for the pets this year, she said.

Normile also talked about a program called “Friends for Folks” at the Lexington prison. The program pairs ill-behaved, abused and abandoned dogs with inmates so the inmates can train them and help them become adoptable.

“It brings prisoners wholeness, tenderness and hope,” she said. “It has the power to melt a cold heart.”

At the end of the service Normile blessed dogs individually for those who requested it.

Jessica Bruha