All Creatures Great & Small

Adrianna Queen holds her guinea pig Junior as she waits for his

Pets waddled, hopped and ran to the annual Blessing of the
Animals at St. Mary Church Tuesday. The event is held every year to
commemorate the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint
of animals.
Gilroy – Pets waddled, hopped and ran to the annual Blessing of the Animals at St. Mary Church Tuesday. The event is held every year to commemorate the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.

But for many students at St. Mary school, the yearly event offers a chance to bring their smaller pets to school for the day or show off their larger pets on the playground after school.

Principal Christa Hanson said the children could bring pets in cages for the day – such as fish, rabbits or birds – but dogs and cats were shuttled to the school by parents or grandparents when class got out.

Third-grader Sabrina Aragon brought her goldfish, Goldie, to school for the day.

“He’s not noisy and he’s very calm,” she said.

Her classmate, Dylan Taylor, didn’t bring a pet to school but was excited to see the dogs, cats, rabbits and ducks brought by other students.

Gabrielle Davis brought her bunny, Ben, to spend the day in her fourth-grade classroom.

“He’s the only small animal we had,” she said. Her family lives on Day Road and has a menagerie of animals including two horses, another rabbit, a donkey, dogs and chickens.

Tyler Thacker kept a close eye on a small, tabby kitten in a cardboard carrying case. The little cat, named Pepper, drew kindergarten and first-grade students who wanted a peek at the feline. The fifth-grade student attends school at El Roble, but heard about the blessing because her cousin attends St. Mary School.

Her grandmother, Janey Link, said Tyler had a cat before which was taken by someone so they wanted to have Pepper blessed.

“Maybe it will give him a long life,” Link said.

Tyler added that it would “make him happy.”

Tyler’s younger cousin Riley Tomasetti and Link gave the kitten a bath and bought him a collar at the pet store to prepare him for his blessing.

While the smaller animals stayed safely in the arms of their owners, the dogs bounded toward each other, straining on their leashes.

One red-haired Pomeranian named Jack tried to play with bigger dogs until his owner, Ramona Nino, picked him up. Nino brought the dog to campus for her granddaughter, Haleigh.

It is always an event that parishioners like, said Rev. Dan Derry who brought his two dogs to be blessed. He added that all pets are welcome, but there are some he avoids.

“I hate snakes and spiders,” the pastor said. “But people find joy in them.”

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