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Tales of Many Wagging Tails at the St. Francis Blessing of the Animals

Maumelle Friends of the Animals (MFOA) is grateful to have been invited to participate in the annual St. Francis Blessing of the Animals event, hosted by St. Nicholas Episcopal Church at the picturesque Lake Willastein Park in Maumelle. The sunny Sunday afternoon of October 9, 2023, was filled with wagging tails, new friendships, puppy costumes, prizes, and of course the blessing of many animals.

Vicar praying over dog
Be blessed!

Pet owners from the Maumelle community gathered to have their furry companions blessed by the church vicar, creating a heartwarming atmosphere of unity. MFOA hosted a station that quickly became a hub of activity for dog enthusiasts and animal advocates alike.

Maumelle Friends of the Animals costumes at Blessing of the Animals
MFOA's scary ghost!

At the MFOA station, eight dedicated volunteers welcomed a variety of dogs and their owners. The vibrant energy was palpable as attendees engaged in activities that ranged from a raffle, where lucky winners walked away with vintage Maumellopoly games, to the whimsical task of picking out costumes for their beloved pets. Passersby were drawn to a sample of MFOA's custom-painted Dalmatian hydrant. Interested individuals had the chance to ask questions, marvel at the hydrant, and sign up to commission the painting of a hydrant in their neighborhood. The Dalmatian hydrant program is a long-standing MFOA fundraiser that beautifies our city. For more information or to commission your own hydrant painting, go to

Maumelle Friends of the Animals blanket drive for Maumelle Animals Services
Blanket Collection for MAS

For the younger attendees, MFOA spread smiles by giving away free toys. The generosity extended beyond the event, with MFOA hosting a blanket drive for Maumelle Animal Services, the city’s animal shelter. The community responded with warmth, contributing 11 large towels, 1 set of sheets, and 17 blankets. This act of kindness is just the beginning, as MFOA plans to continue hosting blanket drives at upcoming events to support the animals at the shelter.

Award presentation to a volunteer
Recognizing Charleen Akins for 23 years of service to MFOA

One of the highlights of the day was the city's recognition of Charleen Akins, a devoted member of MFOA for an impressive 23 years. Deb Roush, the mayor's chief of staff, presented Charleen with an award and a city commendation. The moment was made even more special as Deb was accompanied by her rescue dog, Violet, marking the first time a dog assisted with a city commendation presentation. Deb praised Charleen's unwavering dedication, noting her pivotal role in sustaining MFOA during challenging times. Deb's sentiments echoed the sentiment of the community, recognizing Charleen's advocacy for animals over the decades. Charleen's commitment has been instrumental in the growth and perseverance of MFOA, making her a beacon of inspiration for both fellow volunteers and the entire Maumelle community.

The St. Francis Blessing of the Animals event has become an annual tradition, marking the fall season with a celebration of the bond between pets and their owners at Lake Willastein.

For those eager to attend MFOA's upcoming events, visit their events webpage at Join MFOA in their mission to make a positive impact on the lives of animals and the community they call home.

Dog waiting to be prayed over at St Francis Blessing of the Animals
Dog patiently waiting for his blessing

Dog's certificate of blessing
LaFayette's certificate

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