Off topic: Pet blessings

I thought Alabama fans might consider reading this article as a repentence for all the abuse our favorite team has handed out to Tiger’s, Hawg’s and Dawg’s so far. We’ve got some more Tigers and Bulldogs to whip this year. Perhaps South Carolina fans should take a hard look, seeing as their mascot and nickname glorifies illegal animal cruelty. —Hunter Ford

Do all dogs really go to heaven?
Church to conduct Blessing of the Pets

By Hunter Ford
TWS Reporter

Do all dogs really go to heaven? Dr. Kim Pilkington, Pastor of First Christian Church in Bessemer believes they do. And he extends that belief to all animals in God’s Kingdom.

“I believe that they (animals) do go to heaven,” Pilkington said. “There are hundreds of references in Scripture relating to animals.”

Sunday, Oct. 5 at Bessemer’s DeBardeleden Park, at 9:30 a.m. Pilkington will conduct a Blessing of the Pets service, open to the public. The public will be invited to attend the First Christian’s regular services at 11:00 a.m. following the pet blessing. A photographer will be on hand at the park service to take pictures of people with their pets. The photographs will be made available free of charge. And the service is not restricted to dogs or cats. The exception is that no dangerous animals should be brought to the service.

“No poisonous snakes please,” asked Pilkington.

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Pilkington said the service is part of the church’s mission to recognize all of God’s creation as being important and worthy of human care and respect.

Pilkington said that Christians are given the responsibility of “Taking care of (pets), meeting their needs and asking God to help us.”
Animals serve humans in many ways, as companions, such as pets, as workers such as police dogs or workhorses, and as providers of food.

“This is a way to recognize the many roles animals play…animals serve a useful purpose to people,” Pilkington said. “It is unfortunate that in some cases, like dog fighting, there is abuse by people and suffering of animals. There is a lot of suffering that happens. People who are not familiar with that should go by the Birmingham Humane Society and see some of the rehabilitated animals.”

Jacqueline Meyer, executive director of the Greater Birmingham Humane Society will be a special guest at the Pet Blessing Service.

The Blessing of the Pets is an annual event for many churches, held in recognition of the Feast of Saint Francis, routinely recognized on or about October 4. Saint Francis is the Patron Saint of Animals and Ecology.

“A feast means food to most people, but in Catholic terminology it simply means ‘celebration’ so this is a celebration of animals,” Pilkington said.

For more information about the blessing of the pets call First Christian Church at 205-428-2412.

The Ten Commandments of Pet Ownership:
1. When you adopt me my life is likely to last 15 to 20 years. Please don’t forsake me, any separation from you will be very painful.
2. Please give me time to understand what it is you want from me. Change can be more difficult for me than for you.
3. Please trust me and help me to trust you… it is crucial for my well being as well as yours.
4. Don’t be angry with me for too long, and don’t lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends, your entertainment. I have only YOU.
5. Talk to me. Even if I don’t understand your words, I understand your voice when you’re speaking to me.
6. Be aware that however you treat me, I’ll never forget it.
7. Before you hit me, remember that I have teeth that could easily crush the bones in your hand, but I choose not to hurt you.
8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Is there another reason for my behavior? Perhaps I’m not getting the right food, or I’ve been out in the sun too long, and my heart may be getting old and weak. Try to understand what it is like to be me.
9. Please take care of me when I get old. Don’t abandon me, for you too, will grow old.
10. Go with me on difficult journeys. Never say, “I can’t bear to watch it”, or, “Let it happen in my absence.” I need you with me even at the end of my journey. Please always do what is best for me even if it is unbearable for you to do so – because I love you and trust that you will.

For more information about the Feast of Saint Francis:

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