St. Anthony Foundation Hosts Our Annual Blessing of the Animals, Celebrating 73 Years
October 5, 2023
“Woof-woof! Bow-wow!” Our furry friends were out in full force on October 4th on the Golden Gate Greenway, making it hard to hear Fr. Sam welcoming our 2-legged and 4-legged guests for St. Anthony Foundation’s Annual Blessing of the Animals.
Dogs and cats came on foot, snuggled up in special backpacks, and held in carriers, all to receive not only a special benediction from a Franciscan friar in honor of the Feast Day of our city’s patron saint, St. Francis, but to enjoy fun freebies and essential care.
“I thought it’s such a unique event, and I’ve never seen anything like it, so I wanted to come out and bring my dog here,” said one event attendee with her dog, Elvis.
Full Belly Bus provided free cat and dog food, and also gave away free collars, harnesses, and had a DIY chew toy table, while San Francisco Animal Care and Control offered complimentary vaccinations and microchipping. Puppy Love raffled off care packages and distributed vouchers for free doggy daycare to all.
“Are they really offering free vaccinations and dog collars?” asked an incredulous guest.
Dozens of children from nearby De Marillac Academy joined the festivities, bringing photos of their pets for the blessing.
“It’s the greatest day of the year not only because it’s our birthday as an organization, but for all the people that turned out to have a fun day here in the Tenderloin,” said Nils Behnke, CEO of St. Anthony Foundation. “St. Francis is the patron saint of San Francisco, but he is also the patron saint of the environment and animals, so we celebrate that and everybody loves it.”
Big shout outs to Geoffrey McFarland and Carlo Fiatarone for taking the lead to plan and execute such a festive event. Special thanks to Andre Woods and his fantastic CSS team for keeping the block peaceful and celebratory throughout the busy day.