Basset hounds and their owners have a heavenly time in store at Beaver Lake on Saturday.
A Basset Blessing and Bonanza will be held at the Beaver Lake filter beds at 11 a.m. Sept. 17.
“The people come in with the pets, very slowly one at a time. There’s sort of like a meet and greet,” said Lydia Mills, organizer of the event that costs $5. “And then we have the blessing of the pets by the Franciscan friars. They have their special prayer.”
She said after the friar says a few short prayers, before coming to each dog individually to bestow a blessing.
“He has holy water, which actually my Basset drank a couple of years ago because he was so thirsty.”
Mills first put the Basset blessing together about eight years ago, holding a small ceremony at Dominion Brook Park in North Saanich. She said the event has attracted up to 25 Bassets, and will even draw a dozen dogs and their owners out into a driving rain.
“It’s very casual, because it’s outdoors,” said Mills. “Over the years I have added a guitarist. A guitarist from the church plays the music for two pieces, All Creatures Great and Small and This Is My Father’s World.”
The day will also include games, a Basset race, raffle and portraits by donation. The prizes for the games and raffle were donated by local pet and grooming shops.
Mills said she decided to organize the event to bring attention to pets’ important role in the family.
“Studies have shown pets bring down heart rate, provide company for a person who lives alone, is a companion to go on a walk with,” she said, adding the blessing helps owners recognize their pet’s importance in the overall scheme of things.
Mills says she decided to focus on Bassets because she herself has one.
“There are so many Bassets in Victoria and the outlying areas, and Bassets get along very well together,” she said, adding events like the races wouldn’t go over as well if they pitted Bassets against larger, faster dogs.
To get to the Beaver Lake filter beds follow the green signs from Elk Lake Road accessed from the Pat Bay Highway to the second parking lot that has a protected picnic area and washrooms.