Basset owners count their blessings

Basset Blessing and Bonanza Saturday at Beaver Lake

Dan Ebenal

Black Press

Oak Bay basset hounds and their owners are in for a heavenly time Saturday.

A Basset Blessing and Bonanza comes to the Beaver Lake filter beds at 11 a.m. Sept. 17.

“The people come in with the pets, very slowly one at a time. There’s sort of like a meet and greet,” said Lydia Mills, organizer of the event that costs $5. “And then we have the blessing of the pets by the Franciscan friars. They have their special prayer.”

The friar will say a few short prayers, before coming to each dog individually to bestow a blessing. “He has holy water, which actually my basset drank a couple of years ago because he was so thirsty.”

Mills first put the basset blessing together about eight years ago. “It’s very casual, because it’s outdoors,” Mills said. “Over the years I have added a guitarist. A guitarist from the church plays the music for two pieces, All Creatures Great and Small and This is My Father’s World.”

The day will also include games, a basset race, raffle and portraits by donation. Prizes for the games and raffle were donated by local pet and grooming shops.

Mills said she decided to organize the event to bring attention to pets’ important role in the family. “Studies have shown pets bring down heart rate, provide company for a person who lives alone, is a companion to go on a walk with,” she said, adding the blessing helps owners recognize their pet’s importance in the overall scheme of things.

“There are so many bassets in Victoria and the outlying areas, and bassets get along very well together,” she said.

To get to the Beaver Lake filter beds, follow the green signs from Elk Lake Road accessed from the Pat Bay Highway to the second parking lot that has a protected picnic area and washrooms.