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Chihuahuas at the Blessing of the Animals event in Tampa, Florida. The blessings are bestowed upon pets by Father Thomas Hallsten (above, in October 2009), himself a dog lover with a west highland terrier.

The Blessing of the Animals among Catholics and Episcopalians celebrates the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, but is an almost universal endeavor among many faiths worldwide, and unequivacably of pagan origin.

Father Hallsten said, "You see so many happy people. They¼re all proud of their pets. It even helps humans to bond together." An annual event, these photos are from 3 October 2009, and are copyrighted by The Catholic Sun.

St. Francis Society Animal Rescue of Tampa


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