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#outandabout: Blessing of the Animals at New Thing – A Methodist Community

They came for a minister’s blessing, in collars, on leashes, in a travel crate. They barked, they meowed, they sniffed, they growled. Loyal and loving, in doggish gregariousness, in feline nonchalance.

Do dogs and cats go to heaven? Believe what you will. One thing is certain: “Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast,’’ according to a Proverb in the Bible – and the parking lot at New Thing – A Methodist Community in Lower Swatara Twp.  was filled with people who love their beasts.

Pet owners brought their dogs – and even a cat, in a crate – to New Thing for the religious community organization’s inaugural Blessing of the Animals on Sunday, June 15, then enjoyed a free ice cream sundae served by Pastor JoAnn Darrow, the leader of New Thing, and volunteers afterward.

The blessing included a short service, a laying of hands on the head of the pets, a prayer for happiness for both animal and owner, and a prayer for pets who have departed this life – for heaven, if you asked the pet lovers gathered in the lot. “Just as God created us, He created our animal friends,’’ Darrow said.