EVANS, Ga. (WJBF) – It’s not just humans that can be blessed this holiday season – four-legged friends at Brandon Wilde in Evans got a special visit from Father Eric Biddy of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Wednesday.

“It makes a big difference with mental health, loneliness,” said Sara Applebaum, an employee at Brandon Wilde. “It’s really important.”

According to an AARP survey, 28% of adults over the age of 50 have felt lonely during the holidays.

For some of the people at Brandon Wilde, an animal is the closest thing to family they have.

Mary Shattuck’s close family member just happens to be a 145 pound Newfoundland named Buddy.

“Oh he’s a God-send,” Shattuck said. “All he does is sleep and he’s easy to take care of. I can leave him for 18 hours – he’s the easiest breed to take care of.”

Roberta Ingenito adopts older, hard to place Basset Hounds. Her dog, Boone, is her twelfth, and last, dog.

She feels grateful that Father Biddy came to pray over the time he has left, and she wants to urge people to adopt senior dogs so they can live out their final days in comfort.

“Because I’m on property and he thought kindly enough to come out to us, it was everything. It meant a lot to me and my dog,” said Ingenito.

St. Paul’s usually holds blessings for animals at the church in early October, but Father Biddy says he is happy to bring the service to people who have a harder time getting around.

“It’s a fun day and a reminder of how universal the presence and blessing of God is, that there is no part of His creation or of our lives that is unimportant to God,” said Father Biddy. “And so I hope it’s a fun reminder of that.”

This time of year can be lonely for some of our community members, and this blessing of their closest companions might be just what they needed.