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A Guide Dog’s Prayer to Saint Francis

October 4, 2019


NOTE:  Since today (Friday, October 4, 2019) is the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi, I am sharing with you in this WORDWALK post a poem to Saint Francis (with two new stanzas).  Originally written in October of 2015, this poem carries the byline of my third Leader Dog Zoe who will be forever in my heart and memory.  When I first penned this piece with Zoe, she and I were working together through the preparatory construction work for the Milwaukee streetcar.  Confronting all of this construction, I wanted to write this poem from a guide dog’s perspective.  After my beloved Zoe unexpectedly passed away on March 16, 2016, and Leader Dog Willow came into my life on June 7 of that year, my young guide dog and I continued to work through the construction of the trolley until November of 2018.  Thus, there were many days with prayers to Saint Francis.


Unfortunately for my guide dogs and me, construction-free eras in Milwaukee are quite short in duration.  During these past summer months and continuing this autumn, I am still a magnet for construction.  Construction work for the 5G persists in our neighborhood, along with one emergency project.  Each day when Willow and I set forth, we are always ready to change our plans for our walks–depending on the location and noise levels of the day’s construction efforts.  Therefore, once again, I turn to the following prayer.


With warm and loving memories of Zoe, Heather, and Keller, as well as blessings and gratitude for Willow, I pray the following for my young guide dog who has had to contend with so many construction obstacles and challenges during the majority of our days together.  I am forever grateful to all four of my Leader Dogs for their bravery, expertise, and devotion.  Each of my four Leader Dogs has not only ben a gift from Leader Dog School, their trainers, and their puppy-raisers–but a gift from Heaven.


A Guide Dog’s Prayer to Saint Francis of Assisi


(Patron Saint of Animals and the Environment)



by Leader Dog Zoe and Alice Jane-Marie Massa



Dear Saint Francis of Assisi,

bless me,

a guide dog in Milwaukee;

and please bless

all my fellow guide dogs around the world.


Bless my eyes

so that I can see what my handler cannot see.


where there is a driver who is texting,

instead of watching the road,

show me the safe path to guide my handler.


Bless my ears

so that I may hear those too quiet electric vehicles

at an intersection or at an alley.


Bless me with grace

as I maneuver

my beloved friend and myself

through crowded sidewalks,

hallways, stores, classrooms,

theatres, restaurants, elevators,

hospitals, churches, and cathedrals.


When ear-piercing sirens zoom by,

when construction work vibrates in my ears,

when leaf-blowers rage a wall of noise–

bless me with courage.


When snow deeply lines my path,

ice makes our way slippery,

sleet stings my face,

wind challenges my strength–

bless me with your warmth.


When I walk on hot sidewalks and streets,

when my fur becomes warm on a sunny day–

bless me with your cooling touch.


When my handler takes so long to get ready to leave,

to prepare my bowl of food,

or to wash my paws–

thank you for blessing me with patience.


When I get a whiff of

all those wonderful smells,

indoors or outdoors,

bless me with reminders

of when I will receive

my treats and meals.


When a little dog yaps and yaps at me,

when a big dog  barks my way,

thank you for continuing to bless me

with concentration on my very important work

so that I never bark back.


When a squirrel, bunny,

duck, bird, or

any other animal

tries to distract me–

thank you for continuing to bless me

so that I think only of my handler.


When I need routine or special

veterinary care,

please bless my veterinarian and me.


Dear Saint Francis,

on your feast day Of October 4,

and throughout the years,

please continue to bless me

with good health

so that I may work

for a very long time

as a guide dog.

Someone needs me,

and I need your daily blessing.


Please bless

all the paws

that take

this happy, noble,

and peaceful journey of guiding

on Earth.


Finally, Saint Francis,

bless the person

whose hand holds my harness handle

with reciprocal trust, joy, and love.


* * *


May Saint Francis bless all guide dogs and all of your pets,

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


October 4, 2019, Friday




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  1. What a beautiful prayer, Alice! You addressed every aspect of the amazing lives of each of your beloved Leader Dogs. Your devotion to them is definitely as great as their devotion to you!
    Prayers and Blessings for all!

    • hi, Mary–Special thanks to you from Willow and me for your nice comment on this blog.  I look forward to our project together to share this poem in another way.

      Happy October!

      Alice and Willow

  2. Carole permalink

    Heartfelt prayers to you and Willow for safe journeys!
    The Morgans

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