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All Creatures Great and Small

Church of the Good Shepherd conducts service for pets on Saturday, Oct. 15.

A member of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Burke for 17 years, Sue Reilly said her dog, 3-year-old Scruffy, is "everything" to her.

Friend Susan Norman agreed. "When you get past having young kids, your dogs become your fur children," she said.

Norman and Reilly love their dogs so much they took them to church Saturday, Oct. 15. In an outdoor service, Rev. Megan Stewart-Sicking and Rev. Phil Johnston blessed a gathering of pets of all shapes and sizes, from beta fish to ferrets to dogs. The service celebrated the life of St. Francis of Assisi, the Christian saint known for his love of animals, whose feast day was Oct. 4.

"It's nice to have a celebration of St. Francis, but also to remember the element of him being a friend to animals and to nature," said Stewart-Sicking. "Not only have our animals been given to us, but really the really whole Earth has been given to us, and we need to take care of the Earth and our animals."

--Lea Mae Rice