According to the calendar of the Roman Catholic Church, the Feast Day dedicated to St Francis of Assisi is October 4. In this year of 2013, that date fell on this past Friday. The church that I attend is not one that follows the Roman Catholic calendar - however, we do honor the pets which have entered our lives so a weekend day and time is set aside for the blessing and that day was yesterday, October 6.
Toby, my kitten, is now approximately sixteen months old, weighs at least twenty pounds and is quite rambunctious so I worried about how I would get him to the church for the blessing. Upon the advice of a friend, I moved the cat carrier to the middle of the floor, left the door open and put his 'treats' inside it so he would have to enter in order to retrieve them. That worked well and there was no fuss when the time arrived. I expected some loud protests from him but he accepted me closing him into the carrier as the time came for us to leave for the church.
I caught the city bus at the stop outside and rode in it down to College Street in order to transfer to a streetcar. That vehicle was nearly empty so I sat in the front seat. A woman was sitting in the next seat and I could tell that she was lame. Obviously she was curious about what I had in the carrier so I turned it to face her and we began chatting.
The next stop along the route is at Yonge Street and the connection with the subway. More people boarded there and the operator carried on across Yonge and onto Carlton Street which heads southeast for a few hundred feet and then makes a sweeping curve to become a truly east - west route. At the end of the curve there was a car in the middle lane while the driver tried to parallel park. I am assuming that the operator of our vehicle thought that he had room in which to safely pass. Not so - there was a crunching and screeching sound and then the crashing as the side mirror on the automobile fell to the pavement. Our driver stopped the streetcar and we passengers began to leave. In the meantime the lady who was sitting behind me lost it and began blubbering hysterically. I - and the streetcar driver - tried to soothe her but she was too traumatized.
The time I had left for me to get Toby to the church for the service was diminishing so I hopped off and walked back to Yonge Street and the subway station. In those situations I tend not to think logically and - therefore - I did not think through the options. Instead of taking the subway south for one station to Dundas and transfering to the Dundas streetcar, I opted to go two stations north to Bloor and then east on that subway line to Broadview and transfer to either of the two streetcar routes that go south and passed Simpson Avenue. This wrong thinking caused Toby and I to be fifteen minutes late and the service was already underway.
I had thought through how I expected Toby to react to the church environment but I was completely wrong. Instead of him reacting to an alien situation he relaxed upon the pew and seemed to doze off. I was asked to introduce him to the 200 or so congregants (not counting the four-legged ones) which I did and then settled back and into the service.
When I walked down the aisle to where there was a vacant pew I had walked past other people and their pets. Shortly after I had settled into the pew a golden retriever appeared from behind me and he put his snout on my lap. As far as I know I had never encountered him before nor even noticed him in the aisle so I suspect that he picked up upon our - Toby and my - upset. Neither the dog nor Toby seemed to notice each other so no hissing nor snarling occurred. The dog remained beside me in that position until it was time for Toby and I to go forward for the blessing and the photographs. I have no idea where the retriever went to as I did not see him again.
After the service we returned home and without any other upsets. A number of photographs were taken and - when they do arrive - I will post some of them here.
Yes - the entire afternoon was a very surreal experience - but a blessed one!