“We will bless everything that moves and many things that won’t,” the Rev. Alison J. Buttrick Patton, pastor of Saugatuck Congregational Church, said Sunday quoting a minister friend of hers.

Thanks to her -- and dozens of caring pet owners - animals benefited from an uplifting experience at the historic church on a sunny fall afternoon.

The church, in cooperation with the Westport Animal Shelter Advocates, hosted a Blessing of the Animals on its front lawn - with a visit by some dogs in need of adoption.

“It’s really exciting to have another excuse to gather people on our front lawn on a glorious day and connect with our neighbors,” said Patton, who offered a prayer and also gave each individual pet and owner individual attention.

“This is our first Blessing of the Animals since I’ve been pastor, though I think Saugatuck has done it before,” she said.

“This is really what it’s all about,” said Barbara Pike, a WASA volunteer and church member, who helped organize the event. She referred to St. Francis, the patron saint of animals, whose spirit she said inspires these kinds of events.

Further, she said, it’s also an opportunity to bring attention to dogs at the town’s animal shelter, some of which attended the event.

“We have a number of dogs that are looking for their forever home,” Pike said. In fact, many of the local pet owners in attendance had actually gotten their dogs from the shelter.

“A lot of these are forgotten dogs,” said Jack Mullen of Westport, who owns two rescues, both of which were adopted through the Westport shelter.

“I just like giving the dogs a home,” he said, noting that while it can be a bit of work to acclimate the dogs to a new domicile, it’s worth the trouble.

Regarding the blessing itself, he said, “They need all the help they can get, as do we all.”

Patton read a group blessing that covered the collection of creatures there in body and spirit, making note of “fur as soft as silk, for flashing scales, wet noses and soft tongues.”

“I just hope all the animals receive their blessings and internalize it,” said Ellen Linker, a longtime WASA volunteer. “And I hope some of our dogs get adopted,” she said. “They’re just great.”