Christians around the world celebrate a ritual that St. Francis of Assisi started almost 800 years ago by blessing animals. It was Francis who introduced the idea that human beings are only one of God's many creations, but that all, including animals, are blessed by God. He was born in Italy around 1181 and is considered the Patron Saint of animals and the natural environment.
Every year, around October 4th, many congregations have a special liturgy called the "Blessing of the Animals." People are asked to bring their pet animals for a blessing on this day. The service includes prayers for creation and a blessing of the animals.