ENID, Okla. — Enid SPCA and St. Matthew's Episcopal Church are teaming up Saturday for the annual pet blessing, pet adoption and benefit for SPCA.

Dogs will be available to meet and adopt from SPCA, and the Rev. John Toles, pastor at St. Matthew's, will bless pets brought to the dog park at Crosslin Park, 1520 W. Oxford, 10-11:30 a.m. Saturday.

Toles said the annual pet blessing has been a tradition at St. Matthew's for many years, celebrated each year in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals and ecologists.

This year, Toles said St. Matthew's wanted to take the event to a public place, and partner with Enid SPCA to support their efforts in the community.

"Enid SPCA is one of the organizations in our community that cares for abandoned and lost animals, and they care for God's creation," Toles said, "and we see it as part of our responsibility to join with them in the care of all aspects of God's creation."

From a faith standpoint, Toles said the pet blessing is an opportunity to honor God's gift of animals, recounted in the creation narrative in Genesis.

"God created the animals and the humans on the sixth day, and when that work was done, God said it was good," Toles said. "It seems, in creating us on the same day, God intended us to work in concert with one another, serving and caring for each other."

A brief prayer service will be at 10 a.m. at the dog park, after which Toles will offer a blessing to each animal individually.

People can bring their pets to the park to be blessed anytime between 10-11:30 a.m.

If anyone desires or needs to remain in their vehicle with their pet, Toles said he will come to the car for a "window-side blessing."

Donations of money and pet food will be accepted at the event. If people want to bring donations, Toles said "that would be great, but is not required." All donations collected at the event will go to Enid SPCA.

Vickie Grantz, executive director of Enid SPCA, said the joint pet blessing and pet adoption event "is a great opportunity for us to be a part of a community event."

"We are really excited we will be able to have it at the dog park this year," Grantz said, "where there will be a lot more room, and hopefully a lot more members of the community will be able to attend."

Enid SPCA volunteers will have dogs available for adoption at Saturday's event. The adoption fee for dogs is $100 for adult dogs and $125 for puppies, which covers having the animal spayed or neutered, vaccinated, micro-chipped and for blood testing.

Grantz said any donations to help the SPCA's no-kill shelter and its adoption efforts "are always a huge benefit for us."

Pet food donations, especially puppy and kitten food, and monetary donations are especially helpful, Grantz said, in supporting Enid SPCA's pet food pantry.

"In addition to feeding the animals at the shelter, we have a food pantry for people in the community who are down on their luck and need some help feeding their pets, so we go through an enormous amount of food," Grantz said.

Anyone unable to attend Saturday's benefit event can make donations online at enidspca.org, or bring monetary or food donations to Enid SPCA, 1116 Overland Trail, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, or 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

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Neal is health, military affairs and religion reporter and columnist for the Enid News & Eagle. Follow him on Twitter, @jamesnealwriter, and online at jamesrneal.com.
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