Richmond's annual Christmas Blessing of the Animals takes place Friday, December 14, noon, at the Morgan Fountain in Shockoe Slip.
This special event recognizes especially those animals who make important contributions to the world by the work that they do. The Blessing is organized by the Friends of the Richmond Mounted Squad to provide a special seasonal recognition of Richmond's police horses who provide an important and highly visible service to the city, its businesses and residents.
Richmond's Blessing was inspired by a similar event organized nearly a century ago in Boston to recognize work horses, many of which were overworked and abused. That "Blessing of the Horses" was also held at a fountain in the city where children brought apples and carrots to decorate a tree and "dinners" were provided for the thousand carriage, police and draft horses which congregated there.
Once again the recognition of working animals will be extended to police K9 dogs, search and rescue dogs, aid dogs, companion animals in nursing homes, as well as personal pets and companion animals to recognize the important role they play as supportive, loving family members. All working animal organizations in attendance will be publicly recognized.
To celebrate this joyous occasion the Blessing is open to all! Anyone who appreciates or has enjoyed working or companion animals is invited to attend with or without animals. Businesses and merchants in Richmond are encouraged to let this be a "pet friendly" workday and permit employees to bring their well behaved pets to the workplace and participate in the Blessing. If it is not possible to bring a pet, bring a photo or other keepsake. All are encouraged to dress up with the season in mind.
Participants and spectators are invited to bring items of pet food which will be donated to the Animal Adoption and Rescue Foundation whose tireless work in safehousing homeless pets has resulted in the adoption of thousands of animals in the Richmond area. Apples and carrots are always appreciated by the police horses.