The 9th Annual Toys for Tots Golf Tournament

Soft Paws: Blessing of the animals


By Charlene Marchand

For Capital Region Independent Media

Pet owners brought in their furry friends for a blessing by the Rev. Gary Paul Gelfenbien. Contributed photo

The warm, empowering, prayerful blessing of the animals recently at CGHS/SPCA was filled with hope and gratitude and protection, everyone’s spirits not dampened by the rainy day from the heavens.

Thank you to the Rev. Gary Paul Gelfenbien for his blessings, which touched every heart and encompassed all beliefs. 

Each animal was personally blessed, along with photos of those unable to attend.

Father Gary raised all of our animals in the shelter up for protection and new, loving homes. I think appreciation for the feast of Saint Francis is pretty universal. I share with you the prayer of St. Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;

where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

and where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master,

grant that I may not so much seek

to be consoled, as to console;

to be understood, as to understand;

to be loved, as to love;

for it is in giving that we receive,

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

~ St. Francis of Assisi
Patron Saint of Animals, Merchants and Ecology

Feel free to call us with any questions at 518-828-6044 or visit our website at Our food bank is open to any from the public in need of pet food or for those wishing to donate food from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Spay/neuter clinics for cats are $86 male or female, including a rabies vaccination and a 5-in-1 feline distemper combination vaccination. Nail clipping services are available every Saturday from 10-11 a.m. at the shelter for a donation of $10 for cats and $15 for dogs (currently prepaid only).

Charlene Marchand is the chairperson of the Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA Board of Directors. She may be contacted at

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