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A Guide Dog’s Prayer to Saint Francis

October 4, 2022

Feast Day of Saint Francis of Assisi:  October 4, 2022

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

                On this 2022 Feast Day of Saint Francis of Assisi, I want to share again with my WORDWALK readers the prayer-poem which I published in full poster size in 2019.  Besides the poem, each of the 150 posters featured photographs of my four Leader Dogs. 

                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.  During the past dozen days, I once again especially concentrated on prayers to Saint Francis as my Leader Dog Willow has been recovering from a severe reaction to a new, but never again, medication for her.  I am enormously grateful for Willow’s recovery, and somehow I love and appreciate her even more than ever before. 

                With warm and loving memories of Zoe, Heather, and Keller, as well as blessings and gratitude for Willow, I pray the following for my Willow and for all guide dogs.  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.

* * *

On the poster, photographs include, from top to bottom:  Leader Dog Zoe–June 6, 2009; Leader Dog Keller–March 21, 1990;

Leader Dog Heather–April 15, 1998; Leader Dog Willow–June 7, 2016.

[copyright 2019]

* * *

                Finally, a photo of my poster is linked onto my author’s web page (within the article about a 2019 “Special Offer”) at:

May you and your guide dogs and/or pets continue to be blessed by Saint Francis of Assisi, and

May the people and their pets in Florida and Puerto Rico be blessed by Saint Francis,

Alice and Leader Dog Willow

October 4, 2022, Tuesday


From → Uncategorized

  1. Thank you for another beautiful poem.


    div>This was very sweet, thoughtful, and lovely.

    Sent from my iPhone


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    • Good Tuesday evening, Rebeca–How nice to hear from you again! Thanks so
      much for reading this post and leaving such a sweet comment!

      Hoping you are enjoying this autumn–Alice and Willow

  2. Thank you, Alice, for again sharing this beautiful poem from a guide dog’s perspective. I’m glad Willow is doing better now and hope she continues to have good health for many years to come.

    • Good Tuesday evening, Abbie–Thanks for reading this poem again and for
      leaving a comment on WORDWALK.  Also, Willow and I appreciate your good
      wishes for her.

      Happy autumn writing!

      Alice and Willow

  3. Susan McKendry permalink

    So happy to read that Willow has recovered! Also thanks for posting this beautiful poem again. The framed poster of the poem hangs in my office/guest room where I see it every day and overnight visitors can enjoy it as well.

    • Good Thursday afternoon, Sue–Thanks so much for mentioning the
      placement of the framed poster in your home!  Surely this mention brings
      a “Labbie Smile” to Willow’s face!

          I hope you have been enjoying these precious October days as much
      as we have.

      Take good care–Alice and Willow

  4. mfanyo permalink

    Dear Alice, As always, this beautiful prayer to St. Francis brings tears to my eyes. When I visit you in Milwaukee, I am always honored to walk with you and Willow and to see first-hand Willow’s amazing work!

    Praying that St. Francis continues to bless you and Willow each and every day. Love, Mary

    Sent from my iPad


    • Hello, Mary–Willow thanks you for your very nice comment, and we hope
      you enjoy this autumnal weekend.

      Smiles from the “Paws Patrol”–Alice and Willow

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