Canon Baugh’s pet blessings live on
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.
Archdeacon Edward Simonton blesses Montreal police horses Duc (left) and Lancelot at Beaver Lake.