Animal lovers and their pets recently joined the celebration at Grace Episcopal Church in Westwood for Pawsfest. The annual fall event is sponsored by peace4paws, the Westwood-based charitable organization that creates awareness and raises funds to support sanctuary for animals that were retired from use in research and related fields.
Pawsfest 2012 included animal blessings, adoptions of dogs, cats and bunnsies and other family activities, vendors, and sponsors this year. The event raised more than $2,200 for animals in need.
The rainy day didn’t put a damper on the fun. Attendees from neighboring towns enjoyed games and treats for adults, children and dogs at the indoor, rain-or-shine gathering. The highlight of the day was an ecumenical Blessing of the Animals Mass with Father Bob Rhodes of Grace Episcopal Church.
Ever present were the adorable Freegle Beagles, the retired, rescued research beagles who were abandoned at a northern New Jersey laboratory in 2010. Peace4paws’ mascot, senior hound Blackie enthusiastically hobbled to the front row of the church to receive the very first blessing from Father Rhodes. This may be his last Blessing ever as he is getting older. Other visitors brought ashes of their beloved pets. Father Rhodes gave a special blessing for deceased pets. Most people came with tail wagging, happy dogs and puppies, but there was also some birds and cats.
Two cats were adopted from Friends of the County Animal Shelter (FOCAS) and will be welcomed to forever homes. The Last Resort featured adoptable dogs, and Hug-a-Bunny Rabbit Rescue brought rabbits to foster or adopt.
New to the event this year was a more expansive floor plan that allowed attendees to move about and explore areas for family fun and adoptions. Also added were new food choices, activities, and new vendors to delight attendees.
Editor's note: This article was provided by Jennifer Cece-Bellon on behalf of peace4paws.