A blind Bichon Frise named Katy was among the animals that received blessings at St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church on Silver Bluff Road on Sunday.

It might seem like the little white dog could use a lot of assistance, but her owners, Don and Heather Fox, said Katy has adapted very well to her situation.

Veterinarians weren't able to help much because she was suffering from an inherited disease.

“It popped up when she was about 6 years old, and she’s 11 now,” Don said. “She gets along great as long as we don’t move any of the furniture in the house. She has her favorite chair, and she knows where the steps are.”

Added Heather: “When Don takes her for a walk, she will bark at dogs that are a block away or more. She knows that they are there.”

During the Blessing of the Animals, the Rev. Daniel Wagner spent some time one-on-one with Katy, and he also blessed every other creature at the outdoor service individually.

“We celebrate the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi,” said Wagner, who is St. Augustine of Canterbury’s vicar. “St. Francis was a lover of animals, and he was a lover of nature. Animals are a part of God’s creation. We want to bless them, and we also want them to be taken care of by good stewards.”

The only horse at the Blessing of the Animals was a 20-year-old former polo pony named Bruster. He and his owner, Tina Adinolfi, go on trail rides together and participate in fox hunting.

“It’s always good to have the Lord on your side when you fox hunt,” Adinolfi said. “I wear two St. Hubert medals and an Irish riders’ cross with little horses on it. St. Hubert is the patron saint of hunters. Now I will have a blessed horse.”

Gil and Karen Loe have five dogs, three horses, a parrot and three cats, but they brought only their white Standardbred Poodle, Dearie, to the Blessing of the Animals.

Dearie is around nine months old. 

“She's the newest one in our family,” Karen said. “She had surgery about a week and a half ago; she got spayed. She’s kind of special. We had a Belgian Malinois for nine years, and we lost him a couple of months ago. He can’t be replaced, but I think he sent Katy to us.”

Other dogs at the Blessing of the Animals included a Cane Corso, a Wheaten Terrier and Labrador Retrievers.

There also were three cats, two of which are owned by Maryann Zeliznak.

“I try to get all my animals blessed once a year,” Zeliznak said. “Seymour is maybe 18 years old. He has beautiful blue eyes and he’s cross-eyed. Demitri is only 4. He’s my baby.”

Zeliznak’s dog, an 18-year-old Chow mix named Nino, is seriously ill, so he stayed home.

“He had a laying on of the hands last week,” Zeliznak said.

The Feast of St. Francis of Assisi was Oct. 4, which was a Friday. But many churches held the Blessing of the Animals services on Saturday or Sunday so more people could attend with their pets.

At St. Augustine of Canterbury, there were carrots for Bruster and dog treats and cat treats for the other animals. Their owners received St. Francis medals.

​Dede Biles is the Aiken County government, business and horse industry reporter for the Aiken Standard. Follow her on Twitter @DBethBiles.