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Churches host blessing of the animals
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Local churches are joining the annual Blessing of the Animals in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals. Events schedule thus far, include the following.

– The Blessing of the Animals, Sunday, Oct. 6, 3 to 5 p.m., at Good Samaritan Church, 6085 Park Blvd., Pinellas Park. This will be the fifth year of the event. The church averages 67 animals a year seeking a blessing during the two-hour event.

Pet owners receive a blessing certificate, a photo of the hands-on blessing, a gift bag and can enter the raffles to win a gift basket for a cat or a dog. New this year will be Ask Donna – Donna Bainter, former SPCA director of behavior and training, will be at the event to address any questions on pet behavior and training.

Additionally, cash donations will be accepted for Rugaz Rescue, a New Port Richey rescue group that devotes their efforts to helping the pit bull terriers that have been abused, neglected, and discarded. Their medical costs soar as they help the dogs scarred by burns and neglect. For information about the group, visit www.rugazrescue.com. For information about the event, call 544-8558 or visit www.goodsam-church.org.

– The Blessing of the Animals, Sunday, Oct. 6, 10 a.m., at St. John's Episcopal Church, 1676 S. Belcher Road, Clearwater.

All animals are invited to come to St. John's Episcopal Church to be blessed in honor of St. Francis. Animal owners are welcome to accompany their pets. This annual event is great fun, as pets come to church. All pets should be leashed or in some way restrained.

There is no cost to attend. For information, call 531-6020.
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