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Blessing of the Dogs scheduled Saturday
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Forsyth County News
Blessing of the Dogs

• When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; blessings at noon and 4:30 p.m.

• Where: Deer Creek Shores Presbyterian Church, 7620 Lanier Drive

• Contests: Registration begins at 9 a.m., with the final “best of show” contest at 5 p.m.

• Cost: Blessings are free; each contest is $3 or $30 to enter all

• Contact: Lisa Voss at (770) 889-0146
It’s been said that all dogs go to heaven, but it couldn’t hurt to have Fido blessed.

Deer Creek Shores Presbyterian Church has planned a Blessing of the Dogs event for Saturday.

The daylong festival will feature family fun and dog contests in addition to two blessings, set for noon and 4:30 p.m.

“It’s more for the owners than it is for the dogs,” Pastor John Martin said. “I think it’s good for us humans to be reminded that the dogs that are such a big part of our lives are part of God’s creation and a gift from God.”

A dog owner and lover himself, Martin said canines are good ambassadors for the community since they bring people together.

Martin said he was “open” to the idea when church member Lisa Voss floated it, particularly since he’d seen similar events become popular in San Francisco.

Voss, the event organizer, brought the idea to Cumming from a Catholic church in Memphis, Tenn., where she had one of her past dogs blessed.

“It’s a fundraiser, but it’s also just a way to meet and greet the community,” she said.

Voss will bring her two dogs, Hudson, a white wolf and Great Pyrenees mix, and Tallulah, a golden retriever, to be blessed. They’ll also enter some contests.

“I’m hoping Hudson gets best eyes,” Voss said.

Contest titles range from prettiest female to most waggiest tail to best six legs (for dogs and owners who look alike).

The judging will start with best veteran, dogs 7 and older, at 9:40 a.m. and end with best of show at 5 p.m.

A new contest will start about every 30 minutes, except for blessing times.

Voss wanted unbiased pet lovers to judge the contest.

She got Jill Gooch, executive director of the Forsyth County Humane Society, and Steve Deal, a trainer at PetsMart.

About 30 to 40 dogs can compete for each title, she said.

In addition to the canine celebration, event-goers can enjoy festival fun, such as a police dog demonstration, food, vendors, face-painting and a bounce house.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the church, Voss said, especially its local mission programs.