Sit, stay ... be blessed: Special service offers furry fellowship

Dogs of many breeds and sizes, a few cats and a single parakeet received individual blessings Wednesday at All Saints Episcopal Church on Hilton Head Island in commemoration of the Feast of St. Francis, the patron saint of animals. The Rev. Mark R. Brinkmann officiated the church's first Blessing of Animals service. The service included a variation on Psalm 148 that praises all creatures of the earth. The largest animal present for the service was Onslow, an English mastiff belonging to Ron Bruns of Bluffton. The smallest creature blessed was Betty Harley's parakeet, Skooter.