A day after a large group of animals received a special blessing at a Salina church, a small group of police dogs received the same. The Salina Police Department’s K-9 Unit, including two active dogs and their partner officer, and one retired dog and his partner officer all were blessed by the Very Rev. Shay Craig outside the Christ Cathedral late Monday afternoon.
Retired K 9 Bennie and his partner Sgt Carlos Londono, along with current K 9 Ty and his partner Officer Michael Chandler and K 9 Rodi and his partner Officer Josh Kibler, all took a break to gather at the Cathederal.
Outside under shade trees on the Cathedral grounds along 8th Street on a beautiful fall afternoon, following brief group prayer, Rev. Craig offered up a special, individual blessing for each K 9 duo.
Ty is the newest addition to the police force, on duty after having recently finishing his training.
Rodi is currently the senior K 9 at the agency, and is credited with among other things alerting on a car in 2021 that had a large amount of methamphetamine hidden in it, and this past Spring finding a fugitive trying to hide following a pursuit.
Bennie has been retired for a couple of years, after a 7 year career with the agency in which he and Londono achieved the prestigious “Master Tracker” status.
The blessing of animals events, Sunday and Monday, were in honor of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.
The St. Francis Blessing of the Animals Service connects local pet and animal lovers with the Cathedral, as it “loves all” in the tradition of St. Francis, patron saint of the environment and animals.
A renowned friar from Assisi, Italy, St. Francis is said to have spoken to a wolf and to have preached to birds. Born of an affluent family, St. Francis received a call to dedicate his life to ministry to the most vulnerable of God’s creatures, including humans. He is the founder of the religious Order of St. Francis.
Although the specific customs about blessing animals vary from place to place, one common feature is that prayers are offered not only for the animals themselves but also for the people who care for them.
(Top Photo the Very Rev. Shay Craig blesses Ty and his partner Officer Michael Chandler)