Sunday, 7/3/2021 | : : UTC-5
Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Pet Medical Center holds pet blessing event

Cove Leader-Press

All creatures, great and small, were able to receive a special blessing from Father Richard O’Rourke at Pet Medical Center in Harker Heights on Sunday.

The blessings were done in observance of the feast of St. Francis, the patron saint of animals.

“Oh God, you have done all things wisely; in your goodness you have made us in your image and given us care over living things,” prayed Father Richard O’Rourke of the St. Paul Chong Hasang Catholic Church. “Reach out with your right hand and grant that these animals may serve our needs and that your bounty in the resources of this life may move us to seek more confidently the goal of eternal life. We ask this through Christ our Lord.”

After the prayer’s conclusion, Father Richard proceeded to sprinkle each of the animals present with holy water

In addition to the blessing, the event also served as an open house for Pet Medical Center. From 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., they had live music from the Billy Holt Band, games, a lemonade stand, and pet photography. They also offered information about their facilities as well as goody bags.

“We’re celebrating the Feast of St. Francis. Father Richard comes, and he offers to bless all the animals—any of the animals that come, cats, dogs, you know,” said Samantha Maietta, technician manager. “It’s just offering that extra level of comfort to people.”

Although the blessing this year featured just cats and dogs, Maietta said that Father Richard has blessed several more unusual animals such as guinea pigs, rabbits, and various reptiles. After he blessed all of the animals outside the facility, Father Richard blessed all of the animals inside the facility including staff pets, boarded animals, and sick animals.

The blessing was meant to ask God to grant the animals’ health and peace and help strengthen those in attendance to be able to love and care for them.

“It helps us to acknowledge their role in our life and their role in our family life too,” said Father Richard O’Rourke. “It also softens our hearts because it means we’re thinking outside of our own box.”

Father Richard said that we are responsible for the animals in our lives. He said that blessing our pets is a way of showing them that we love and care for them. He added that our world needs healing, and animals help give us a sense of remembering the good things and they can fill us with hope.

“It was important to me to have him blessed because I grew up as a Catholic and the fact that they were offering it for dogs I thought was pretty neat,” said Vanessa Carandang who brought her dog, a Shiba Inu named Gizmo, to be blessed. “I think a dog is more than just a pet, it’s a family member. This is my first time owning a dog, and he’s my everything.”

Tabitha Dupree brought her cat, a Sphynx named Pickles, to be blessed.

“It was good. He needs it…It was nice to have him blessed. These kitties have so many genetic disorders as they get older,” said Dupree as she scratched Pickles head. “I do have other cats, but he’s got a special place in my heart. He’s one of a kind. He’s so loveable, he loves to cuddle, he’s my little boy. He’s an amazing little dude.”

Jeff Jones, the owner of Pet Medical Center, said that they’ve held the event each year since 2008 and they held it a few times prior to that. He said that it’s a way to show how much they care.

Pet Medical Center offers services typically found at animal medical centers including surgeries, dental care, and internal medicine. However, they also offer more unusual services including chiropractic care and reducing canine hip dysplasia. Additionally, most of their staff is Fear Free Certified which means they are trained to help make an animal’s experience as stress-free as possible.

“We’re here for the animals, and we do everything we can for them,” said Jeff Jones, owner of Pet Medical Center. “I think Father Richard is great, and the blessings are too.”



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