CENTRAL VALLEY-A dog lapped up some holy water as the Rev. Emily Hall looked up to speak with the thirsty pooch's owner. The pastor held Central Valley United Methodist Church's first ever Blessing of Pets last Sunday. Mostly dogs, but also a cat and bird showed up. Hall credits the idea to two women who participated in a large animal blessing at St. John the Divine in Manhattan, "and we're all dog lovers and we liked the idea." Readings from the Books of Genesis and Psalms were read, then each pet was individually blessed with the words: "May you be blessed in the name of God who created you and may you and (the owner) enjoy life together with our God." The German Shepherd Shadow seemed a bit shy around all the other dogs, such as Sammy and Maxwell and Fritz. Simba the cat, sat nestled safely in her owner's arms throughout. Donations were accepted, but not required, for the Humane Society. Pets were given purple bandanas to commemorate the day. Sue Braghirol explained that the acquisition of Otis, a puppy basset hound, was the result of the death of her son's hamster Opie a year ago. "After the appropriate three hours of mourning, my son wrote his father a letter explaining why he felt he was ready for a dog." A year later, "while we were on vacation, our 16-year-old cat disappeared." Four days later Otis became a new member of the family. Certainly, a blessed event for the Braghirols and Otis. Or is it that God works in strange and circuitous ways.