While there is no restriction on what kind of animals people can bring in, the church does ask that the animals be on a leash while inside the building in order to keep the peace. Some of the dogs, like Kelsey, don't like other canines, although she seemed perfectly happy on Janet Knick's lap.
"She loves people," she said as she laughed. "She just doesn't like other dogs."
Heather Caudill and daughter Keirsten brought their pet cat, Gabby, to be blessed. Gabby spent most of the service perched on Heather Caudill's shoulder like a pet parrot.
"She does that all the time," Heather Caudill said. "I'll be walking around the house and she'll just lay on my shoulder."
After a couple of songs and a reading from Genesis, Smalley went around to each of the animals individually and blessed them by placing his hand on them. He even blessed a cat via picture. A member of the congregation couldn't make it to the service but managed to get a picture of his cat to Smalley for the blessing.
All of the interactions went without a problem, but Smalley said he wasn't so lucky last year when a cat decided to chomp down on his hand.
"There were four of them in a baby stroller," Smalley said, "and I went to bless one of them and the cat laying next to him just bit my hand."
Bodily harm is all part of the risk, though, when someone is trying to bless a large amount of animals, Smalley said. He's never been asked to bless a snake; although, he said, as long as it was on a leash or caged, he would give it a shot.
Contact Zach Osowski at 640-4847 or email@example.com.