If I began a story with; “A dog, a cat, a llama, a goat, an alpaca, and a mongoose walked into a church”, you’d probably be waiting for the “bada boom” punch line of a bad joke.
But on Sunday, December 3rd passersbys on Park Avenue at 60th Street were treated to a fantastic site of hundreds of animals lining up outside Christ Church to be blessed by local clergy for the annual Blessing of the Animals.
This event, hosted by New York Post columnist Cindy Adams, draws a cross-section of the cutest and most distinguished four-legged New Yorkers.
In attendance were representatives of the K-9 and Mounted Units of the New York Police Department, farm animals (including a very vocal pig) from Farm to You Review, Aly’s Ponies and Friends, and a selection of dogs available for adoption from the Humane Society. Plus local pet owners who traveled from near and far to have their beloved pets blessed.
Celebrating our special relationship with animals at Christ Church on the Upper East Side
Once the church was filled with creatures great and small, Reverend Dr. Stephen Bauman and Rabbi Peter Rubinstein read a prayer for the room and then pet owners were invited to bring their animals forward to be blessed by the clergy. Some of the highlights were the standing ovation that the NYPD K9 unit received, as all in attendance recognized their essential contribution to keeping New Yorkers safe.
The surreal site of farm animals, especially the lama, alpaca, and pig walking down a church aisle was also very special. We want to recognize the Russian Blue cat that sat amazingly calm and composed among the throngs of barking dogs, she certainly could teach the world a thing or two about being self possessed.
And, of course, the variety of adorable dogs, from the two huge, floppy-eared Goldendoodles who sat next to us to the lady with the brace of Shih Tzus that looked on from the safety of a baby carriage, if you are an animal lover, this was definitely the place to be.
As we waited in line with Ren, our Welsh Terrier (and PetYen’s mascot) we commented on how this was our first time seeing a line of New Yorkers that were all smiles and full of laughter.
It was hard to be a curmudgeon with all of the cuteness in this room. My heart especially melted when I observed dog after dog greeting a young, autistic girl who was sitting next to us with enthusiastic licks and butt wags that made her squeal with delight.
When we finally got to the front of the line, Ren was her typical self, after receiving her blessing she gave the Reverend a gentle lick to show her gratitude and then inquired why there were no treats?
As we left the church, we took a few minutes to pet the two beautiful horses from the NYPD Mounted Unit and to thank them for their service to our city.
Ren caught the eye of Manhattan Borough President Gail Brewer, and she tried to lobby her for automatic, free dog treat dispensers throughout the city by looking especially cute, but we convinced her that it was not the time nor the place for advocating her “special interests”.
We had a great time at our first Blessing of the animals and plan on making this one of our new holiday traditions.