US: Pet blessings highlight event at Celebration Lutheran Church in Chardon

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Oct. 1—A sign placed on an easel in the parking lot of Celebration Lutheran Church in Chardon on Oct. 1 summed up why residents from all parts of Northeast Ohio brought their pets to see Pastor Marilyn Matevia on a chilly fall morning.

"You save humans and animals alike, O Lord." — Psalm 36:6.

Companion animals and service animals were invited to come between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. to Celebration Lutheran Church for a pet blessing and care fair.

Attendees received a goodie bag and visited with representatives from area rescue organizations, including Muttley Crue and the Sanctuary for Senior Dogs. People were encouraged to learn about the new program to help temporarily homeless families retain their pets sponsored by Project Hope for the Homeless and the Lake Humane Society.

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Matevia said most people feel it is important to have their pets blessed because they are extended part of any family.

"I think the people who are here today want their entire unit at home, including animals, supported and cared for by God and to feel that love," Matevia said.

One of the first animals Matevia saw on Oct. 1 was the pet of one of the church members, who brought his dog for a blessing before heading to the veterinarian's office to have it euthanized.

That was a somber situation, but something important to the church member, Matevia said.

In most circumstances, the blessing was done for animals in need, like 15-year old Daisy, a Jack Russell terrier who is partially blind and partially deaf.

Daisy's owners, David and Christi Streiter, came all the way to Geauga County from their home in Lorain to have her blessed.

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"These animals are part of the family and this is an important way to have her under God's care," Christi Streiter said. "We adopted her when she was 10 because we know how hard it is for senior dogs to find a home, and bundled pairs, which she was part of, but we lost him recently."

The timing of the event was appropriate considering the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals, is Oct. 4.

Munson Township resident Rachel Diehl and he husband brought her dog Ziggy to the blessing not for any overtly religious reasons, she just thought it was nice event.

"My neighbor is a member of the church and asked me to bring Ziggy and I like St. Francis of Assisi and thought it would be a nice thing to have done," Diehl said.

In addition to the blessing, there were tables set up at the event for goodie bags, a raffle, refreshments and the Sanctuary for Senior Dogs had an adoption tent set up with a Chihuahua named Finn stealing the show.

Matevia was celebrating her one-year anniversary with the church at the blessing and said she hopes the event continues to grow and she expects it to become an annual event.

(c)2022 The News-Herald (Willoughby, Ohio) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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