Grace Episcopal Church at 4101 S. Hazel St. will conduct its annual Blessing of the Animals at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Grace Episcopal Church at 4101 S. Hazel St. will conduct its annual Blessing of the Animals at 2 p.m. Sunday.


The event — initiated more than 20 years ago — is slated to be held outdoors, but will move inside if inclement weather occurs. Dogs and cats are the typical subjects receiving blessings, but the service is open to other animals as well. The blessings and the service will be presided over by the Rev. Curtis Jones.


Church spokesman Rick Williams said The Jefferson County Humane Society, Pine Bluff Animal Shelter and The American Scent Dog Association (formerly Arkansas Search Dog Association) will be represented and available to meet some of the animals and speak with their representatives. Donations of funds, pet food and supplies for these organizations will be accepted.


The American Scent Dog Association was established in 2002 and is a canine search-and-rescue team support agency. Its volunteer members are trained to respond to law enforcement-requested searches for missing and deceased people, according to the group’s website. They have assisted both locally, statewide and on a national level. The group has been very active in assisting numerous families and law enforcement agencies and does not charge for its services. The association’s motto is That Others May Live.


The mission of the Jefferson County Humane is to alleviate the suffering of animals. A small band of volunteers and donors perform this mission through various programs such as Paws in Prison. Paws in Prison is a product of the Arkansas Department of Correction’s partnership with animal shelters and the Humane Society throughout the state of Arkansas.


Selected inmates are given an opportunity to train dogs saved from being euthanized. The inmates teach the dogs basic obedience skills and socialize the dogs to make them more adoptable.