HALLOWELL — Baby, a 30-year-old cockatiel with plumage like a lemon-meringue pie, went blind in one eye in the last year.

Gunny, a nearly 5-month-old cairn terrier who was nibbling clover leaves, will soon head to Naples, Florida, where his human spends the winter.

Frida, a graying chihuahua mix, just turned 11 this weekend and hung off to one side, apparently shy around the other animals.

Each of those pets, along with a half-dozen meowing kittens, received a blessing on Sunday afternoon at the Hallowell waterfront.

They and their owners were taking part in event organized by Nancy Bischoff, the pastor at nearby Cox Memorial United Methodist Church. Bischoff led a short service in Granite Park, before saying an individual blessing for each animal and dabbing scented oil on almost all their coats.

Just the cockatiel, who stayed in his cage and occasionally chirped, didn’t get the scent of frankincense-and-myrrh on his feathers. Given his advanced age and recent health challenges, including cataracts in his eyes, his owner decided this weekend was a good time for the ritual.

“This blessing is good for the journey ahead,” said Joan Lathe of Augusta, who has been attending Cox Memorial United Methodist Church for more than 60 years.

Like the owners of the cairn terrier, Lathe spends much of the year in Florida and will soon head south. “He’s a true snowbird,” she said of Baby, whose is mostly white except for a yellow head with specks of orange.

Courtenay Auger, of Manchester, said she brought Gunny to receive a blessing with the hope that it will lead to him having a long life. She had another cairn terrier who recently died of cancer at the somewhat premature age of 10. On Sunday, she had affixed an orange bowtie with a jack-o-lantern print to her puppy’s collar.

“We want this guy to have a good start in life,” she said.

Patsy and Michel Tessier said they heard of the blessing in part because they attend Highland Avenue United Methodist Church in Gardiner. Their chihuahua mix, they said, is named after the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.

Members of the Kennebec Valley Humane Society also attended the blessing on Sunday, with six foster kittens all about three weeks old. The felines received blessings and were available for adoption, but received no takers on the sunny afternoon. In her blessing, Bischoff expressed her hope that they soon find their forever homes.

If it weren’t for her full house, Bischoff added, “I would take you all.”

After the animals had received individual blessings, Bischoff also held a short remembrance for animals that have died. She read off the names of various animals that had belonged to the attendees, including a miniature donkey, a horse and several dogs and cats.

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker

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