On Sunday, St. John the Baptist Church on Chestnut Street held its first blessing of the pets. Among the variety of dogs and cats was Walker the dog.

According to WKBW, Walker was dragged behind a car on Aug. 8. Witnesses saw a car dragging the young Cocker Spaniel and the suspects ditched the puppy behind a Sunoco gas station. Linda Tilton, the convenient store manager, rescued the dog, put him in her car and rushed him to an animal clinic in Amherst where he underwent two hours of emergency surgery.

“Walker is 100 percent healed and very healthy now,” Tilton said. “This blessing means a lot, because Walker needs all the love and care he can get.”

The church contacted Tilton at her store and invited Walker to be a part of the blessing, Tilton said.

Along with 8-month-old Walker was Tilton’s other dog, Chloe, an 8-year-old Beagle Terrier. “This is the first time I’ve had any of my animals blessed,” Tilton said.

Tilton is currently Walker’s “foster mom” and said that her adoption of Walker will be completed on Oct. 10. She thanks all those who’ve helped her in the process of helping Walker.

Debbie Brown, director of spiritual life said this is the first year the church held a blessing of pets. “We held it today because this is the date of the Feast of St. Francis,” she said. “St. Francis was the patron saint of animals and lover of all creatures.”

Animals are created by God to bring love and joy, Brown said, adding, “this is our higher calling to do our part to bless them.”

The blessing process includes an individual prayer from Father James Waite and each animal blessed was given a St. Francis medal. “The church believes the image of a saint will bring comfort,” he said. “We believe saints are in heaven praying for us and the medal of St. Francis comes as a reminder.”

Waite is the proud owner of a Chiweiner named Bosco, who was named after St. John Bosco. Bosco was a victim of abuse when he was thrown out of a car on Route 33 about three years ago, Waite said.

Both Waite and Brown were ecstatic with the outcome of Sunday’s event and look forward to holding the blessed event again next Oct. 4.

Other churches in Lockport that held a blessing were St. Mary’s and Grace Episcopal Church.

Contact reporter Britney Milazzo at 439-9222, ext. 6251.

Recommended for you