Special to The Tolucan Times Animals and owners feel blessed at Belmont Village Burbank

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Belmont Village Senior Living hosts special Blessing of the Animals

By Julie Walke

All pets, whether furry, feathery or scaly, play an important role in a family. They give unconditional love and, in their own way, help us cope with life’s twists and turns. It is not often that humans have an opportunity to give back to pets with something as special as a blessing, especially one that is performed by a professional.

The staff at Belmont Village Senior Living Burbank know the importance of pets to the well-being of their residents, so they decided to hold a special Blessing of the Animals. “We asked Reverend Purdy of the First Presbyterian Church on Olive Avenue,” said Michelle Sucillon, Belmont Village community relations associate.  “He has volunteered at Belmont Village for 10 years and he knows all of our residents and families. We thought that he would appreciate meeting their pets as well.”

On a recent Saturday, Reverend Purdy met and blessed 20 animals. They ranged from dogs and cats, to birds, and one snake.  Guests arrived to fun, animal-themed music, such as “Who Let the Dogs Out,” played by a DJ. The Belmont Village Chef asked Reverend Purdy to start by blessing the food being served, which, of course, included hot dogs.

Reverend Purdy gave group blessings in Hebrew and in English. Afterwards, he met and spoke individually to each animal and owner. Many shared stories about their pets and expressed heartfelt appreciation for the blessing that they received. Pets receiving blessings included a dog named Prince; Nacho, a blue-headed Pionus Parrot who shares his home with two dogs named Kiwi and Tango; and Sally, a 30-year-old rattlesnake. Each owner expressed personal thoughts as to why the blessing was important to them.

Friends and neighbors also stopped by for the celebration. “It was delightful to see Rosie, a Terrier from the neighborhood, who walks past Belmont Village every morning with her mom,” said Sucillon. “They are so cute together, you can tell that they are best friends.” Sucillon also invited her mom, who brought their dog Maxx. “We found out that he had been left alone in a cage during the summer heat, so we had to adopt him and add an extra ‘X’ to his name for being extra special. Seeing him receive this blessing made us both feel good.”

At the end of the day, every family who made advance reservations received a commemorative plaque.

For more information or to tour Belmont Village call (818) 972-2405 or visit BelmontVillage.com/burbank.

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