Owners gather to bless their pets in Altoona

Local News

ALTOONA, Pa (WTAJ)-A morning full of appreciation and love as about a dozen owners with their pets assembled along the front lawn of Temple Beth Israel in Altoona for a blessing.

This annual blessing usually happens when they begin reading the tale of Noah and the Ark. Rabbi Audrey Korotkin has been hosting the blessing for twelve years. She says that it serves as a reminder of pets’ love for owners and the importance of giving the love back.

“We come to this every year with different experiences, sometimes with different animals,” Korotkin said. “And it’s a reminder of the fragility of life and the love that we have to share together as long as we have the ability to do that.”

The ceremony started with a special animal blessing. Then concluded with owners blessing with their pets and the singing of the song Rise and Shine. Folks were then proceeded to mingle and have refreshments.

For the past few years, Korotkin has asked the owners, ‘What have you learned from your pet?’ There was an extra amount of appreciation due to the circumstances within the past 20 months. The common answer among the owners this year was patience and love.

David Maller has been attending the ceremonies for the past three years. He says that people learn a lot from their pets and can be smarter than owners.

“It’s amazing cause they didn’t care about what social status the other dogs were, what color their fur was, what breed, or anything,” Maller said. “They just had fun, and as people, we can learn a lot from that.”

Korotkin says it’s important for pet owners to be thoughtful with their pets and care for them just as much as they care for us.

“It’s important for people to be thoughtful about why they bring an animal into their home,” Korotkin said.

While advertising for the ceremony tends to be done within the Temple, Korotkin says that many people from the outside come to the ceremony to share experiences with others. Maller says that each time he attends the blessing, he says it’s a rewarding feeling. He feels great to be able to take care of the animals placed on the earth.

“It’s just a reminder of the responsibility we have to take care of them,” Maller said. “And it seems that emotionally they take care of us more than we take care of them.”

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