Canon Baugh’s pet bless­ings live on

Montreal Gazette - - Front Page - IR­WIN BLOCK THE GAZETTE

Storm, Char­lotte and Cranky were on their best be­hav­iour.

They were among about 15 an­i­mals who ar­rived early at Beaver Lake on Mount Royal yes­ter­day for the an­nual Bless­ing of the Pets cer­e­mony.

The tra­di­tion, launched by Angli­can Canon Ho­race Baugh 56 years ago, re­sumed un­der Archdea­con Ed­ward Si­mon­ton, rec­tor of Christ Church in Raw­don. Baugh died in July.

“I think of it as a the­o­log­i­cal div­ing board,” Si­mon­ton said be­fore the cer­e­mony.

“You use one thing to talk about some­thing else – our re­la­tion­ship with the nat­u­ral world. Species are dy­ing at a rate that is un­prece­dented.”

It’s also about rais­ing aware­ness of “how we are de­pen­dent on one an­other.

“A lot of peo­ple don’t live with a part­ner,” Si­mon­ton said.

“I live with a dog and a cat,” Si­mon­ton said, adding he knows how mean­ing­ful pet com­pan­ion­ship can be.

Si­mon­ton was asked to take over Baugh’s var­i­ous re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and he is ea­ger to con­tinue bless­ing the pets, though he plans to make it more of a Dioce­san event, rather than re­ly­ing on the me­dia for pub­lic­ity.

“If you have cats I won’t use holy wa­ter,” he as­sured pet own­ers.

First in line was Storm, an 8-year-old Labrador-Dal­ma­tian, who lives with Bar­bara and John Ciel of Château­guay.

“Our dog is part of the fam­ily,” Bar­bara Ciel said, adding she’s been com­ing to the cer­e­mony for four years in part be­cause “you meet nice peo­ple.”

Elisa Kumpf brought Char­lotte, a bi­chon frise dog, for a sec- ond year be­cause “I want her blessed.

“She’s part of me – She’s my baby; I have no chil­dren.”

Cranky, a 14-year-old English bull­dog be­long­ing to Pa­tri­cia Olah and Howard Levine, al­most didn’t make it this year.

“He was very sick and it’s re­ally spe­cial that he is able to be blessed again,” Olah said. “We want to en­sure the health of our dog, who is our only child.”

Si­mon­ton first blessed two Mon­treal po­lice de­part­ment horses that were on pa­trol with Con­sta­ble Mar­tine Le Royer, rid­ing Lancelot, and Con­sta­ble Michel Savard aboard Duc.

Ger­mana Giof­fre, how­ever, came for the bless­ing with­out Blackie and Whitey, her two cats.

“They’re too wild,” she ex­plained.

ALLEN McIN­NIS THE GAZETTE

Archdea­con Ed­ward Si­mon­ton blesses Mon­treal po­lice horses Duc (left) and Lancelot at Beaver Lake.

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