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Pets receive blessing

Jeff Paulson, a retired pastor who now works at Swift True Value Hardware in Houghton, feeds a snack to Cally, the dog of Dave Chesney of Hancock, during the first Blessing of the Pets at Swift Saturday.

HOUGHTON — Swift’s True Value in Houghton held its inaugural Blessing of the Pets Saturday.

Retired Rev. Jeff Paulson, an employee at Swift True Value Hardware, delivered the blessings. A Michigan Technological University alumnus, he had been a United Methodist “transformational pastor” in Maryland, helping to rebuild struggling churches.

He suggested the blessings to owner Marilyn Swift, who supported the idea.

“We’ve had a few people, which is good for the first time,” he said.

Paulson rubbed the pets down with holy water and said a prayer over them. Owners got free samples of pet food and a medal of St. Anthony, a patron saint of animals, inscribed “Bless and protect my pet.”

“We’ll add it to his tags,” said Dave Chesney of Hancock, who brought his 10-year-old dog Cally.

If he gets approval, Paulson would love to do it again.

“It’s a nice way to give back to the community,” he said. “It’s not about the product, it’s what we can do.”

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