PHOTO BY MEG HIBBERT The Rev. Bob Brodie blesses Addie, held by Chris Tucker, and Carly with grandson Carson Tucker, during St. Paul’s Episcopal Blessing of the Animals on Oct. 7.

Fourteen dogs both great and small, and one guinea pig named Snickers. The Lord God blessed them all.

It was the annual Blessing of the Animals in the courtyard of St. Paul’s Episcopal, a family and friends event traditionally held near the Oct. 4 Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi who is the patron saint of animals. Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, First Methodist Church in Salem and other churches in the Roanoke Valley held similar blessings for dogs, cats and other pets and their people. The Methodist Church even had a tortoise – and a hare, a pet white bunny rabbit.

At the Oct. 7 event at St. Paul’s, Snickers the tricolor guinea pig gnawed a carrot but eventually became understandably nervous and stomped one foot at being carried in a cardboard box instead of relaxing in his cage with owner Gracie Michael at the home of the Chris Michael family. Chris Tucker and grandson Carson Tucker, 12, brought up Carson’s family dog, Carly, and his grandparents’ dog Addie.

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