Animal Shelter Bathes, Blesses Furry Friends

Volunteer Patrick Bergman, 12, holds Gracie’s leash as she shakes off after being bathed Saturday during the dog wash and animal blessing held at Freeman Lake Park in Elizabethtown by the Animal Refuge Center of Vine Grove.
Volunteer Patrick Bergman, 12, holds Gracie’s leash as she shakes off after being bathed Saturday during the dog wash and animal blessing held at Freeman Lake Park in Elizabethtown by the Animal Refuge Center of Vine Grove. –Jill Pickett
By Anna Taylor

The Animal Refuge Center, which hosted the dog wash, has two every year and typically has an animal blessing opportunity with one of them.

“People bring their dog and we hook up two hoses and they wash them,” Edwards said.

Dog owners could give their pet a basic wash or “the works,” which features shampoo, cologne, blow dry and nail clipping.

“It’s outside, so you have lots of room for the dogs,” said Penny Edwards, manager at Animal Refuge Center.

Dog owners also had the opportunity to have their pet blessed.

Charles Hinckley, pastor of Grace Fellowship, pets Maya before presenting a St. Francis of Assisi medallion to her owner. --Jill Pickett
Charles Hinckley, pastor of Grace Fellowship, pets Maya before presenting a St. Francis of Assisi medallion to her owner. –Jill Pickett

Owners were given St. Francis of Assisi — the patron saint of animals — medallions for their pets after the blessing.

“We believe they have souls,” Penny Edwards said. “Just like people get blessed, (animals) get blessed. It’s the same concept. For animal lovers who believe that animals have souls, a blessing is very appropriate.”

The blessing depends on who the clergy is, she said. Some of them are Catholic priests that bring out holy water. Others, like on Saturday, say a prayer. Charles Hinckley, a pastor at Grace Fellowship, offered the blessing.

A little more than a handful of dogs received the blessing, including Lily.

“She came from a home and is about 11 years old,” Chris Smith said. “She has some medical problems, but she’s going to have a home for the rest of her life.”

Smith said she believes in St. Francis.

“I do believe some intervention brought these animals to safe homes so they can live the rest of their lives and they didn’t end up in a kill shelter,” she said.

Volunteer Chessie Dahlhauser bathes Scooby on Saturday during the dog wash and animal blessing held at Freeman Lake Park in Elizabethtown by the Animal Refuge Center of Vine Grove. --Jill Pickett
Volunteer Chessie Dahlhauser bathes Scooby on Saturday during the dog wash and animal blessing held at Freeman Lake Park in Elizabethtown by the Animal Refuge Center of Vine Grove. –Jill Pickett

Smith has another dog, Gracie, that previously was blessed.

“We come every year because we are very much a supporter of the ARC,” she said. “It’s on their schedule and it’s always good to see the rest of the dogs.”

The no-kill shelter often has dogs and cats in its care for a very long time, Penny Edwards said.

“It takes a lot of fundraising because they’re with us for so long,” she said.

Volunteers or animal sponsors always are welcome at the shelter, Edwards said. Those interested can contact the shelter at 270-877-6064 or visit them at 185 Basham Trail in Vine Grove.

Any animal at the shelter can be sponsored for $10 a month, which includes a photo of the animal and its story.

Anna Taylor can be reached at 270-505-1747 or ataylor@thenewsenterprise.com.

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