Pet blessings offer peace of mind

Langford woman uses personal experience to offer pet blessing on the West Shore

Julie Evans gets a lick from Zoey while Olivia settles in on her lap. Both pooches plan to be blessed during the event at Luxton Fairgrounds this weekend.

Julie Evans gets a lick from Zoey while Olivia settles in on her lap. Both pooches plan to be blessed during the event at Luxton Fairgrounds this weekend.

Julie Evans refuses to downplay the grief some people feel when they lose a pet.

The relative newcomer to Langford knows what she felt the day Ty broke her back running through an Ontario field. Evans was devastated.

“The grief was very difficult to bear,” she said. “It was the first loss that I had ever experienced. Unless you’re a fur-baby mom, a lot of people don’t understand.”

She still wears the cremated remains of the 12-year-old Jack Russell terrier in a bracelet and is comforted knowing that a blessing Ty received at a church event will protect her pup.

“I remembered I’d had her blessed and in some way on some level of consciousness that provided me with comfort,” she said. “I asked the universe to look after her.”

Evans held an Ontario event in memory of Ty that drew more than 100 people.

“Because I’m funeral director … I have the resources to do this,” she said. “And I work with grief every day.”

She moved to Langford last spring and hopes to bring that comfort to pet owners with a non-denominational event Sept. 23 at 11 a.m. at Luxton Fairgrounds.

“It may or may not be of value today, but when you face the loss of your pet it might just come in handy,” Evans said.

Rev. Stephen Swift, life celebrant At Your Service Farewell Events, will lead the program, which includes blessing animals, as well as taking a moment for pets past.

“Never been to one, never done one,” Swift said, acknowledging there are churches that regularly do a blessing of the animals. Those are providing much fodder for his research.

“Although I’ve never really given it a lot of thought before, my sense is God loves all of his creatures,” Swift said. “To be part of something that honours pet owners and their pets, is something good to do. People find it a real comfort to think that God loves their animals, loves their pets.”

During the blessing a few moments of memorial are set aside for pets who’ve died.

“It gives those people an opportunity to grieve openly,” Evans said. “And recognize it’s a real loss.”