Pet owners bring their loved ones in to the Center for Spiritual Living for annual ceremony.
Jordan Lee couldn’t bring her 9-year-old German shepherd to an animal blessing Sunday, so she dialed up a cellphone picture of the canine instead.
Looking at the photo, the 13-year-old read a blessing for the dog, just like she would for a friend.
“It’s just helping him out,” said Jordan, who, while not being able to transport her more-than-100-pound dog to the event, did bring a 1-year-old chinchilla, hoping that both animals would have long lives and good health.
The Sunland resident was one of about 20 pet owners to attend the ceremony at the Center for Spiritual Living, where participants read blessings in the names of their dogs, cats and even a ferret, invoking the Bible and affirming their love for the creatures, the Rev. Beverly Craig said.
“When people bring animals for blessing, it means that they have a spirituality they want to share with their animals,” Craig said.
Each blessing is an affirmation of the participant’s belief in the perfection of God’s creation in the form of the animal, person or thing being blessed, Craig said.
Most importantly, blessings, for animals or anything else, are acts of good faith that are attractive to people uncomfortable with organized religion, she said.
“There’s spirituality within everyone,” she said. “You say the word blessing and everybody thinks it’s good because they know it’s from God.”
Although the event was open to the public, most of Sunday’s attendees were congregants of the center.
Kailey Martinez-Ranage, 12, brought a friend’s deaf poodle for the blessing, which took place in a room full of people and a collection of animal species, she said.
“It was kind of funny to see all the animals reacting to each other,” said the Silver Lake resident, who noticed only some minor barking and curiosity on the part of dogs, who seemed unusually calm as they approached the cats in the room.
Shirley Cooper, a Sunland resident, has brought her 3-year-old Maltese Chihuahua to the ceremony for the last three years.
“I wanted him to have a blessing just because I love him, and you always want people and animals to be blessed,” Cooper said.
The animal blessing was partly a social outing for Gaby Hoffman and her husband Rene Hoffman, who brought their 6-year-old dog.
“It’s a wonderful community here, and we know a lot of the people through their animals,” Gaby Hoffman said. “It’s amazing how you kind of live through your animals.”
The center also collected donations for the Glendale Humane Society, which operates a local animal shelter.
Donors gave a total of $75, along with clean sheets, towels, rugs and blankets, for the society’s animal care operations.
The center is also planning a “biker blessing,” Craig said. She plans to invite motorcycle riders to bless their vehicles in the hope of keeping themselves safe while riding.
By Zain Shauk