LBC Sweet: Blessing of the Animals

The on-the-beach interfaith event is an autumn tradition.

Sundays and sunsets are a natural pairing for many people looking to wind down the weekend in a reflective way, and being at the beach your BFF is another peace-bringing tradition that many a local honors, whether it is at sunset or a Sunday.

But to draw those four things together — sunset, Sunday, the ocean, and a beloved pup or rabbit or iguana — and make a meaningful moment out of it, alongside other people who love the idea of a peaceful place to celebrate a pet, is a rarer thing.

It does happen each fall, though, at the Interfaith Blessing of the Animals in Long Beach.

Like the blessing that happens at Olvera Street the Saturday before Easter each year, beasties of every stripe and whisker are invited to the Sunday, Oct. 16 gathering (just make sure they're "well-behaved," of course, and feel at ease being near other animals and people).

"More than 300 animals are expected" at 1 Granada Avenue including "horses, dogs, cats, birds, lizards, rabbits, pot-bellied pigs, fish, tortoises, and turtles," shares Justin Rudd, the founder of the event, which is celebrating its 15th year in 2016. 

Mr. Rudd, who is known around town for both his Haute Dog events and regular beach clean-ups (in addition to running every public street in Long Beach over a year), says of the blessing that "(i)t's important to recognize and honor the great relationship between pets and their people."

He's also the organizer of the annual Bulldog Beauty Pageant, and visitors to the Oct. 16 blessing can expect to see "a battalion of bulldogs" in attendance. Also look for a 100-foot red carpet, a signature design element seen at many of Mr. Rudd's community-focused events. (Yep, that's for the animals to walk down, alongside their humans.)


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A number of farm animals will begin the red carpet walk at 5:45, and the 30-minute ceremony follows. 

If your pet is ill and can't make it, or can't join for any reason, or you want to pay homage to the memory of animal, feel free to bring a memento, such as a collar.

For the list of all attendees, the on-site vet, a bit more about the moment of silence, and where to park, look over here.

And look forward to a Sunday sunset at the beach, with your hedgehog or your Golden Retriever or your parakeet, complete with some kind and connecting words to tie the moment all together in tender fashion.

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