The Pet Lady

HEREWITH, the much-anticipated report from the Pet Secretary (writing in lieu of the Pet Lady as this event took place before noon and the P.L. cannot be persuaded to do anything before noon that requires footwear other than marabou-trimmed slippers) regarding the Blessing of the Animals at Seattle United First Methodist Church last Sunday.

“Enter church compound through obscure door with photographer plus sidekick. Roam for a bit; church smell in full effect—how is it always the same? Find room teeming with babies and a few wranglers—cute. Back outside, find nice woman with crazed dog named Loki, God of Mischief; glad pagan pets are eligible for blessing as have brought Crawly the tarantula.

“Meet Steve Poole, Director of Communications (‘like the weatherman,’ he says; bet he says that a lot), who kindly encourages entourage to wander freely and photograph at will. Listen to service about St. Francis, called to town to help get rid of wolf that kept gnawing and mangling townspeople. They want St. Francis to tell it to go to another town; also are skeptical of his holy status because he is short and smiles a lot. He discusses this w/wolf in dead of night and then tells townspeople to feed their wolf. The Rev. Dr. Kathlyn R. James relates this in sensitive, liberal, appropriately vague manner to current world events.

“Small children wearing homemade paper masks offer up prayers of different animals; Prayer of the Duck includes plea to ‘protect all who quack and all who know how to swim.’ Again, cute.

“‘Bring your pets and animal friends forward’—blessing of the pets commences! People milling all around with dogs, cats, birds, goldfish in nave. Exciting! Incredibly, no animals fight; must be God’s will. Crawly (in glass tank) is huge hit with children, who impede progress toward blessing with questions: What is his name? (Crawly.) What does he eat? (Crickets, or smallest possible mice but that grosses us out too much.) Does he bite? (Not unless you bug him.) Is he dead? (No, just staying still right now.) Is he mean or nice? (Sort of neutral, but nicely so.) I dared myself to put my hand in there. (Maybe not right now.) . . . Yet again, cute.

“The assistant Rev. says, ‘Let Crawly be a blessing and a comfort to you always.’ Well, amen to that, sister.

“Signing off,

“The Pet Sect’y”

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