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Special Blessing of the Animals held for police, sheriff K-9 units

Rev. Ginny Wilder blesses Suzie, a K-9 member of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Dept., while his partner Dep. Troy Curry watches during the annual Blessing of the Animals on Oct. 6.

Special Blessing of the Animals held for police, sheriff K-9 units
October 10
00:50 2019

By Judie Holcomb-Pack

About a dozen members of St. Anne’s Episcopal Church watched as Rev. Ginny Wilder blessed three four-legged members of local law enforcement.

John Lockwood, who heads up the church’s Fuzzy Friends outreach ministry, said, “This is the first time we have invited the K-9 units. We felt they needed prayers … and this would be a good time to bring the community together to do this.”

St. Anne’s has held a Blessing of the Animals for nearly 20 years, but being a relatively new rector to St. Anne’s, this was only Rev. Wilder’s third time and the first for K-9 members. She said, “Having three dogs myself, I know our dogs and our pets see us on our good days and our bad days, but they are always there for us. … This is our opportunity to thank them through the language of love.”

The Blessing of the Animals is a service held throughout the world on or around Oct. 4, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. Any animal, from the usual dogs and cats, to birds, reptiles, chickens, horses, llamas, or other animals, can be blessed on this occasion. A Blessing of the Animals for parish members’ and neighbors’ pets was held that afternoon at 4 p.m.

K-9 members receiving blessings were Bane, a German Shepherd, with his partner, Dep. Ryan Rae, and Suzie, with his partner, Dep. Troy Curry, both from the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Dept., and Copper, along with his partner, Corp. Gary Neal, from the Winston-Salem Police Dept. Rae mentioned that all the dogs were about three years old and were trained to detect narcotics, search and apprehension, and tracking.

Rae said be bonded immediately when he received Bane, who is from Czechoslovakia. “From the first day I met him, he has listened to everything I’ve said.” Bane lives with Rae and is considered a part of his family. All K-9 members live with their partners, but are kept separate from their other pets. Neal said he has six other dogs as well and most get along well with each other.

Although the K-9 members were rambunctious during the service, when the littlest members of St. Anne’s, 4-year-old Lucia Wilkinson and 20-month-old Adam Hayden-Travers, approached them, they calmed down and to the delight of the children, allowed them to be petted.

After the service on the church lawn, people treats and dog treats were served.

Rev. Wilder ended the service by saying, “Every morning I start the day with this prayer: Lord, help me to be the person my dogs think I am.”

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