Cannondale Blessing of the Animals returns

It’s been years since Selectman David Clune has seen the Blessing of the Animals in Cannondale, but he is glad to see the old Christmas season tradition is back.
Clune told members of the Board of Selectmen during it meeting Dec. 5 at town hall he was one of the dozens of residents who attended the newly revived event at the quaint Cannon Crossing.
The original Blessing of the Animals was led by the late actress June Havoc, who once owned Cannon Crossing. It was popular in the 1980s, with guests including Wilton resident Christopher Walken in 1986, but there hasn’t been one since the 1990s.
“This is something I remember from growing up,” Clune enthusiastically told the selectmen.
Seventy-five people attended the event, where 50 animals were blessed, said Jaslyn Scribner, spokesman for Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation Inc., which helped organize the event.
Other businesses participating included Paw-radise Grooming Salon & Spa, where owner Aleida Kohen has for years been the biggest proponent of bringing back the tradition. There was also the Schoolhouse Restaurant, Forza 5 Holistic Fitness & Healing Center, and Annabel Green.
The Wilton Singers Octet sang Happy Birthday to state Sen. Toni Boucher just before their final song wrapping up the event.
Three officiants, the Rev. Reginald Norman of Our lady of Fatima, the Rev. Dr. John Morehouse of The Unitarian Church of Westport and Father Mark Genszler of t. Francis Episcopal, Long Island, gave separate blessings from each of their religious traditions, then read a blessing together.
Joe D’Agostin, a Fidelco volunteer, of Stamford, attended with his daughter and brought their dog, Lucy, and their cat, Sandi.
“This should be done every year,” D’Agostin said. “After the three ministers made their individual remarks, they came down and blessed all the animals individually on a one-to-one basis. It was a very touching event, very touching.”
Lisa Roman, a Fidelco volunteer from Wilton said she was glad to see the old tradition revived.
“I know our dog was so excited to meet so many new friends and be blessed,” Roman said. “Being in the historical Cannon Crossing with singers, clergy, refreshments and a chance to meet the store owners was a real small-town experience in this fast-paced world that was a welcomed change and helped promote the true holiday spirit. I hope this becomes a yearly holiday tradition.”