Dogs, cats take center stage as blessing of pets happens in Coupeville

Pastor Paul Pluth leads a hymn during the “Blessing of the Pets” ceremony held at St. Mary Mission Catholic Church in Coupeville.   - Photos by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times
Pastor Paul Pluth leads a hymn during the “Blessing of the Pets” ceremony held at St. Mary Mission Catholic Church in Coupeville.
— image credit: Photos by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times

Piglet was howling.

The anticipation was getting to be too much for the American pitbull terrier.

John and Alacyn Coupe brought Piglet to St. Mary Mission Catholic Church for a special occasion in the town that John’s great-great-great grandfather, Capt. Thomas Coupe, founded.

Piglet was going to be blessed.

“She’s the best dog we’ve ever had,” John said.

“We love her to death,” Alacyn said.

With blue skies above and the sun shining on a magnificent fall afternoon, more than a dozen pets were blessed during an outdoor ceremony led by pastor Paul Pluth last Friday, Oct. 4, in Coupeville.

It was part of tradition carried out at churches all over the world conducted in remembrance of St. Francis of Assisi’s love for all creatures.

On hand were a pointer named Flynn, a Shih Tzu named Oreo, a cat named Boots, among other dogs and cats.

“I did not bring my dogs with me because they’re ill-behaved,” Pluth told the small crowd that assembled.

Pluth said he’s always liked the tradition because of how it brings together people from different faiths and communities.

Their common thread is the bond they share with the pets they love.

“It’s important to us,” said Peter Faberski of Coupeville.

He and his wife Petra brought their 8-year-old, long-haired dachshund Binchen.

“It means that we’re connected to God and we would like her to be included,” Peter said.

The ceremony was quick. After Pluth greeted the crowd and spoke, there were songs, then a prayer.

The songs brought out the howls from Piglet.

Eventually, it was time for Pluth to carry out the blessings.

“We ask you Father to bless the animal friends here with us,” Pluth said as he made the rounds to each pet, lightly sprinkling them with holy water.

One of the final pets Pluth encountered was Boots, a 12-year-old cat owned by Tom and Laurie Shade.

Tom held Boots in his arms while the cat carefully observed the curious canines around him.

“He gets a little nervous,” Tom said.

And for good reason. Boots survived a rattlesnake bite in Texas when he was 1.

“We always bring him (to the blessings) after that,” Tom said, “so St. Francis can watch over him.

“Now he has to worry about the deer chasing him.”

Boots acted like he’d gone through this before. But to Piglet, who’s 10, all this was brand new.

“We never had her blessed before,” John Coupe said. “We thought it would be a good idea.”


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