Monday, October 1, 2018

Bless the Beasts

October 4th is the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, that gentle saint who loved all animals and treated them with extreme reverence and kindness.  On this day, churches and congregations all over the world bestow the Blessing of the Animals upon our pets and all the creatures of this world.

Many other cultures and religions devote a day, in line with their traditions, to acknowledge and honor the animals on our planet for all that they provide to us, as well.

It serves as a reminder to us to have compassion for all life on earth, even these "brother-and-sister creatures" as St. Francis referred to them.  It is an acknowledgment of our mutual kinship and interdependence with all living beings on this planet.

It is a sweet tradition that reminds us to appreciate the wild and the gentle beasts that enrich our lives so much, and to re-dedicate ourselves to their care and protection.  It is also a day to pause and remember all of the furry friends and creatures we have had in our lives throughout the years.

Pets add so much to our health and happiness, they provide companionship and bring us joy, they calm and protect us, and make sure we are never alone.  They assist people with health problems or disabilities, alert us to dangers and scare away threats, but most of all ... they have a way of entering our hearts without our even noticing.

Dogs are always excited to see us, and absolutely overjoyed at our return home each day.  They miss us more than reasonably possibly, but they're completely unreasonable in their affection.  They are 100% committed to us and consistently shower us with unconditional love.  Is it any wonder we hold them in such high esteem?  Another human being could never match that kind of sweet devotion.

Likewise, who can resist a softly purring kitten on your lap, or a bunny burrowing itself in the crook of your arm?  When my niece was young, her school would allow the students to take home the class pets over the weekend to take care of them.  We had ferrets, chinchillas, parakeets and lovebirds parade through our homes, each one more adorable than the next.  I even had a baby turtle as a pet for a short time in Florida.

The bond between a person and his/her pet is one of the purest, strongest, and most long-lasting relationships humans make.  We are often as devoted to them as they are to us.  Their love is honest and without hidden agendas or motivations other than to be loved back (and walked and fed, of course).

Last year I lost my beloved Max, a lovable lug of a dog that had been my constant and loyal companion for many, many years.  It is always heartbreaking to lose a pet that you have loved and who has been by your side for so long.  But after a number of months, I was made aware of another dog in need of a home.

At first, I was hesitant to allow another furry friend into my life again, but it wasn't long before I realized this new boy was just what I needed.  The moment I saw Jupiter, I thought he was the most adorable thing ever.  I went from an 80 lb. dog to a little guy who jumps on my lap every chance he gets.  Slowly but surely, he started filling up my heart again.  He was just what I needed, the perfect dog at the perfect time.

Rarely do we regret taking a pet into our household.  They give us so much more than they ever ask for in return, most of the time.  We are sometimes too busy to give them much attention, yet they remain steadfast at our side, waiting patiently until we do.  On this day, let us resolve to never take them for granted again.

Kena & Cassie
On this Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, I think about all of the wonderful pets in our family that filled our lives with so much love over the years.

In these days of disconnection and searching for meaning, the love of an animal may be our greatest joy.  They may one day break our hearts, but it is never from disappointment or regret.

God bless our beloved beasts ...

These are some of our family's pets, with a nod to Corky, Missy, Mama Cat and Itty Bitty, too.


Enjoy previous seasonal blog posts:

Fall Has Arrived

And we've got apples!
October Planning

Time to make lists ... menus, recipes, family reunions, Christmas cards, Christmas gifts, parties, special events, carving time on the calendar.
Recipes for the Season

Update your repertoire with some new recipes for Fall!
Bucket List for Fall

Taking advantage of everything fall has to offer!
Back to the Farm

Fall is the time to head to the farm to pick pumpkins, visit the animals, go on a hayride, and sip hot cocoa by a bonfire
Brandied Fruit 

Time to put up your Brandied Fruit to marinate and mellow in time for the Holidays
Spine-Chilling Reads

Some good, scary books to curl up with on fright-night!
Tea Superstitions

Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble
Halloween Traditions
From pumpkin carving to hot apple cider, family traditions make holidays memorable!
Happy Halloween 

Making the holiday fun
Pumpkin Pie
Have you ever made a pie from fresh pumpkin instead of canned?  Do it!  It's not difficult and so worth it!
A Different Kind of Thanksgiving

Just can't stay out of the kitchen on Thanksgiving!
Recipes for the Season

Update your repertoire with some new recipes for Fall!
Bucket List for Fall

Taking advantage of everything fall has to offer!

Counting our blessings ... may they always be plentiful and abundant
Taking Care of Holiday Guests

Breakfast burritos can make you a winning host!
It's Baking Season!

On your marks,
get set ...
A Cabin in the Woods

Getting away from it all is a tradition worth keeping
Wine Poached Pears
Perfect for fall, perfect for dessert, perfect on a cheese board, perfect in a gallette!
Pear Tart, Part Deux 

There's a time for rustic, and a time for elegant
A Difficult Anniversary

A few years ago we lost our Mom.  It feels like it was just yesterday.  The anniversary of a great loss is always hard
It's All About Family

Giving thanks and honoring those who came before
Top Chef - Colorado

A celebrity in the family!
Family Heritage Tour

A trip back to the old country in search of the abuelos
We're Jammin'

When the harvest is bountiful ...
Harvest Time

There's nothing quite as satisfying as growing your own food
Of Natural Disasters and Charity

A humbling reminder that nature is in charge, despite our best-laid plans

My sister's non-profit,
Healing Warriors Program, gives away a state-of-the-art electric wheelchair!
Food Porn

It has become a national obsession ... we're salivating over food and all the food shows on tv

Oleoestepa Olive Oil ... our favorite olive oil right now!
National Cookie Day
December 4th is National Cookie Day!  How appropriate!  We'll be baking some favorite recipes!
Cookie Trays!

Our most popular gift and party tray, it's the perfect way to spread the Holiday cheer!
Black Friday

It's not just about shopping.  If you do it right, it can be about connecting, too.
Christmas Notes

There's always time to bake Christmas cookies!
My Boy

A tribute to Max
Bless the Beasts

Spreading goodwill upon the creatures we share this earth with ...
Donate if you can!

Healing Warriors Program, my sister's nonprofit, does very important work for our soldiers' wellbeing
What's Your Favorite Cake?

If only I could pick just one!

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