On a lighter note, my horse and I attended our first-ever "Blessing of the Animals" this week.
In some Christian traditions, a special service to bless animals is held to celebrate the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. Usually, one ends up with a church parking lot full of dozens of dogs, cats, birds and other animals - it's a wonder anyone thought this was anything close to a good idea.
"Pixie" behaved herself quite well, mind you. Even when someone's German Shepherd exuberantly lunged at her in an attempt to make friends. In fact, she took the blessing and the holy water rather regally.
However, while we were waiting to be blessed (and standing a safe distance away from the 70+ dogs), I began to discover that my horse was actually there to *be* a blessing instead. Children materialized with awe-struck faces and loving pats. An elderly woman from a local assisted living facility who had owned horses "her entire life" was delighted by her - and my horse melted into her hands. Everyone who came to see her walked away with horse-sized smiles.
After all the blessings were completed, the pastor and deacon came back by. My horse seemed particularly interested in the holy water, so the deacon kindly offered her a drink. Pixie promptly stuck her nose in the bowl...
...and flipped water all over her.
Yes, my horse blessed the deacon as well. *snicker*
I'm a troublemaker no matter where I go. Seriously, the Fundamentalists have got to be glad to be rid of me.