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From goats to goldfish, all welcome at this ceremony

Posted: Sunday, October 28, 2007

BRUNSWICK, Ga. Squeaker squirmed as his tiny tummy grumbled. Kasey Hickox carefully cradled the restless baby flying squirrel in her palm.

Having just been blessed, the furry little orphan wanted to be fed, Hickox said.

Squeaker was among about 300 pets including goats, hamsters, hermit crabs, turtles, dogs, cats, lizards, gerbils, birds and goldfish to receive a special blessing at St. Francis Xavier Catholic School on Oct. 4.

Brother Michael Wright, a Franciscan friar, officiated at the school's annual Blessing of the Animals. The blessing celebrates the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, who is considered the patron saint of animals.

Hickox's nephew, Brant Glisson, 9, who is a student at the school, has been helping to care for Squeaker about 5 weeks old since rescuing him after he fell out of a tree.

The students and their families lined up with their pets around the school courtyard in what looked like a mini-zoo parade.

Shadow, a 5-year-old German shepherd-Labrador mix, watched over her new friend, Chessie, a 6-month-old tabby cat.

The affectionate and laid-back cat was found ill and starving beneath a building at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, said Greg Mazzie, whose family adopted both animals.

"Shadow has adopted Chessie and really looks after her," said Mazzie, whose 13-year-old son is a student at the school.

"This is Shadow's third blessing and Chessie's first one," Mazzie said. "It is a nice thing for them to do for pets and for the students."

teresa.stepzinski@morris.com, (912) 264-0405



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