Animals to be blessed at PB church

Grace Episcopal Church at 4101 S. Hazel St. will conduct its annual blessing of animals at 4 p.m. Sunday.

The event — initiated more than 20 years ago — is slated to be held outdoors, but will move inside if inclement weather occurs. Dogs and cats are the typical subjects receiving blessings from church Rector Greg Fry, but the service is open to other animals as well.

Church secretary Susan Grygiel said Arkansas Search Dog Association and Paws in Prison representatives are slated to present programs at the event. Also, the Humane Society of Jefferson County and Pine Bluff Animal Shelter have been invited to participate. Donations of funds, food and supplies for the animal shelter will be accepted.

The Arkansas Search Dog Association, established in 2002, is a canine search-and-rescue team. Its volunteer members are trained to respond to law enforcement-requested searches for missing and deceased people, according to the group’s website.

The group has been active throughout the state and does not charge for its services. The association’s motto is “That Others May Live.”

Paws in Prison is a product of the Arkansas Department of Correction’s partnership with animal shelters and advocate groups throughout the state, according to the program’s website.

Selected inmates are given an opportunity to train dogs saved from being euthanized. The inmates teach the dogs basic obedience skills and socialize the dogs to make them more adoptable.