Every member of the family deserves to have a little spirituality in their lives — even those with four legs and fur.

Desert Foothills United Methodist Church, 2156 E. Liberty Lane, is hosting a pet blessing on Sunday, Oct. 20 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Pets and their owners are welcomed to come in and receive a blessing from the Rev. Mike Kerr-Osman. Blessed pets will receive a certificate of their blessing and a pet tag and treats. There will also be an “Ask a Vet” table and a photo booth.

Donations will be accepted during the event for Empty Bowl Pet Pantry, which works with local homeless shelter, Family Promise, to take care of pets whose owners are currently staying with Family Promise. Empty Bowl Pet Pantry is in need of leashes, collars, toys, blankets and food for pets in their care.

The idea for a pet blessing came to volunteer Joan Curry years ago, but Curry said due to injury she was not able to get the idea off the ground. When Susanne Rudolph, the event’s chairman, brought it back up, Curry said she was moved to tears.

“In one of the church classes I took they said to find your passion,” she said. “Homeless animals have been my passion. I’ve worked to gather things and take them to the shelters, but I always wanted to have a pet blessing… Animals are so unconditionally loving. I think it’s really special to bring your pet in and have them blessed. I think it’s such a warm thing for the animal. We’re so blessed by our animals, it’s nice to have something for them.”

Rudolph said her inspiration came from seeing Transportation Day. Each year hundreds of kids show up to take part in Transportation Day at Horizon Presbyterian and Rudolph said she’d like to see that happen with the pet blessing. She already has big plans to bring in more rescue groups and even a petting zoo for the event next year.

“We are such a pet-centric community,” Rudolph said. “What a great outreach program for our church. Our church does so much with a church in Mexico and Family Promise and so many other charities, it’s nice to have something we do for the immediate community… For many people their pets are their family so what a great way to include all their family by bringing them in to be blessed.”

There is no cost for the event and any animals and owners, regardless of their religious affiliation, are welcomed to attend. The event is come and go. For more information, call (480) 460-1025 or visit www.desertfoothills.org.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com.

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