Mary Zlotnick of East Wilton holds her five year old boxer, Laila Saturday morning, Oct. 7, during the blessing of the animals hosted by Wilton Ecumenical Community Outreach in the gazebo at Bass Park in Wilton. Also seen from left are Rev. Lorrie Aiken of Wilton United Methodist Church and Sherrie Zlotnick of East Wilton. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

WILTON — On Saturday morning, Oct. 7, Wilton Ecumenical Community Outreach [WECO] held the first of several events planned through the end of the year.

From 9 to 11 a.m., blessing of the animals was held in the gazebo in Bass Park near the foot of Wilson Lake. Despite the rain, several pet owners brought their animals to be prayed over.

Mary Zlotnick of East Wilton brought her five year old boxer, Laila.

“We like the breed,” she said. “They are very loving, make a good family dog. Sometimes they love little kids almost a little bit too much!”

Hadley Yankie Doodle, a seven year old yellow Labrador was brought by owner Mary Ellen Martin of Wilton.

Rev. David Zamboni of Dryden United Baptist Church pets Hadley Yankie Doodle, a seven year old yellow Labrador owned by Mary Ellen Martin of Wilton Saturday morning, Oct. 7, during the blessing of the animals in the gazebo at Bass Park in Wilton. The event is one of several planned this year by WECO [Wilton Ecumenical Community Outreach]. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

“She was born on the 4th of July, I have had her for six years,” Martin noted. “She came from England, they spelled Yankee wrong.”

Martin had owned three golden retrievers and after losing the third one, a friend told her she needed another dog. The airlines were wonderful on the trip from England with Hadley Yankie Doodle, she said.


“She is such a good dog, just wonderful,” Martin stated. “She is therapy dog trained.”

While Rev. John Balicki from St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and Rev. David Zamboni with Dryden United Baptist Church gave prayers for Hadley Yankie Doodle and Martin, Rev. Lorrie Aikens from Wilton United Methodist Church gave prayers for Fievel, a young kitten whose owner showed a photo of him on her cell phone.

Martin expressed appreciation for the WECO ministers holding the blessing of the animals for pet owners. “They are part of the family,” she said.

Chandler Woodcock of Farmington asks Baxter, a six year old doodle to sit while his wife, Charlotte Woodcock looks on Saturday morning, Oct. 7, during the blessing of the animals in the gazebo at Bass Park in Wilton. The event is one of several planned throughout the remainder of the year by WECO. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Charlotte and Chandler Woodcock of Farmington then arrived with Baxter, their six year old doodle.

Chandler referred to Baxter as the chamber of commerce dog, said he got him to keep Charlotte company when she retired.

Baxter energetically greeted everyone in the gazebo.


“He doesn’t have church manners,” Charlotte said. “We are inseparable. He is spoiled rotten, tells us what to do.”

On Sunday, Rev. David Smith of First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ in Wilton said he was at the latter part of the blessings, but no other pet owners came at that time.

Pastors and representatives of those four churches make up WECO, which organized more than 20 years ago to support the area and foster community spirit. Other churches in Wilton have been invited to join too.

WECO will be sponsoring a Veterans Day service Saturday, Nov. 11, at the congregational church, 386 Main Street with the time to be determined. Sammie Angel will sing patriotic songs and Abraham Lincoln may make an appearance.

The following Saturday, Nov. 18, there will be a Thanksgiving service with the time and place to be announced.

In December, WECO will hold the traditional care and compassion service for those facing difficulties during the Christmas season. Time, date and place will be announced later.

For more information about any of the churches involved, contact for the baptist church is, the congregational church 207-645-2535, the episcopal church 207-645-2639, and the methodist church 207-645-4885.

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