My dog loves me unconditionally. Or, she is a really good pretender. There have been times when I have found her water bowl lacking H2O, or is filmy and disgusting. There have been times when I have ignored her requests for affection. Admittedly, I have not been always timely with her breakfast and dinner. Often times I don't understand why she does the things she does; chasing animals 10 times her size, or snapping at bees, laying in the dirt, or the hot hot sidewalk, when there is shade available. She always, I mean always, is happy to see me when I come home. Her little tail wags ferociously, she often squeals with delight, and sometimes she even does a little passionate pee puddle on my foot.

JD and I adopted 'Rootie Patootie Punkin Pie', Rootie for short, at the Hamilton County Humane Society a couple of years ago. She is a miniature black poodle with a lion sized heart. I say that we saved her after she had to endure 120 minutes at the shelter. Poor poor poodle. But I also say she saves us every single day with her love and puppy kisses.

I think God made dogs to show us humans how to love. There is nothing like the welcome a dog gives her owner. If we could only be so welcoming to our own species, life would be so pleasant. We are gifted with a higher intellect and a higher emotional IQ, and we have thumbs, unlike the rest of the animal kingdom. Unfortunately, it seems that these God given gifts can also be our curse, our stumbling block, and our downfall. I've never ever seen an animal thumb his nose, for instance.

Each year, near the first Sunday of October, faith communities around the world celebrate St. Francis of Assisi Day, the Patron Saint of Animals and Ecology. On Sunday, October 1st, Roots of Life will hold our annual Animal Blessing at Federal Hill Commons, from 2:00 pm- 4:00. It is a family friendly public event that brings out all sorts of different animals to be appreciated and blessed. Each animal will receive a certificate of blessing and an animal tag that says, "God Loves Me". The event is free. Also, there will be Blue Grass music played by the Blue Grass band Stolen Strings, featuring the famous teacher/guitarist from NHS, Jason Jasper and the almost famous Ricke Young on Banjo, Jason Boley on mandolin and Mindy Reichelt-Abell on bass. The weather is going to be perfect and there will be free unconditional love passed out to anyone who needs a little pet therapy.

Noblesville's Teri Ditslear is a pastor whose column appears Saturdays in The Times. Contact her at pastor@rolcommunity.com, on Facebook or at www.rolcommunity.com