Day 4: Care and Love for All Creation

Service Project: Make toys or treats for sheltered animals.

Partner: Oregon Humane Society

Inspiration: St. Francis of Assisi

St. Francis of Assisi, while not a Servite Friar, was a “brother” to us in spirit, with his care and love for all creation.

Partnering with the Oregon Humane Society, we invite you to make do-it-yourself toys and treats for our delightful and loving furry (and other) friends.

A Prayer for Today’s Day of Service

Gracious God,

Our holy brother, Saint Francis, called all creatures you brothers and sisters. Help me to tend to all living things around me.

I pray in a special way today for the acres of creation ravaged by fires. Bless all those working to care for our forests and towns.

I ask a special prayer for all those animals that become family members as pets. Thank you for the comfort you share with us through them.


Prayer Cards

A limited number of prayer cards are available for pick-up this week, beginning Monday, at The Grotto Visitor Center.

If you are unable to come to The Grotto, email to arrange for a set to be sent to you, while supplies last.

Today’s Prayer Card:

Blessing of the Animals Returns Next Month

The Annual Blessing of the Animals will be a little different this year, due to the pandemic restrictions.

Blessings will take place immediately after the three Masses on Sunday, Oct. 4, the Feast Day for St. Francis of Assisi.

You may sign up for one of three time slots: 9:15 a.m., 11:15 a.m. or 1:15 p.m.

You must register for every HUMAN member of your family. You do not need to register your pets. You will need to make sure they are properly restrained however.

The Blessing of the Animals is a Grotto tradition. People and pets of all faiths are welcome!

To register for one of the Blessing times, please click here.

Today’s Project Partner: Oregon Humane Society

Founded in 1868, the OHS is the largest humane society in the Northwest, and adopts more animals from its Portland shelter than any other single-facility shelter on the West Coast. OHS puts no time limits on how long animals remain at the shelter – a pet stays available for adoption for as long as needed to find a loving home. If a pet in the care of OHS needs medical attention, the OHS veterinary hospital provides the pet with the care it needs.

OHS Mission

To foster an environment of respect, responsibility and compassion for all animals through education, legislation and leadership. To care for the homeless, to defend the abused and to fight with unrelenting diligence for recognition of the integrity of all animals.

To learn more about the Oregon Humane Society, go to their website at

In Response to the Fires

The Oregon Humane Society is working with numerous agencies and shelters around the state to coordinate response and address the most pressing needs of pets in our community.

To find emergency resources for animals related to the wildfires, go to:

Today’s Project: Make toys and treats for sheltered animals

The Oregon Humane Society has a selection of projects you can make from home. They can been dropped off at their location, but we will be happy for you to drop them off at The Grotto any time in September and we will get them delivered. Drop them off at The Grotto Gift Shop or Visitor Center anytime during our open hours this month. (9 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.)

Below are instructions on how you can help from home.

To download the “Volunteers Helping from Home Packet” with instructions for how to make dog and cat toys, please click here.

A few sample toy projects are outlined below. They make great family activities.


For a list of many different dog and cat treat recipes, please click here.

Here are some helpful tips:

Some dogs, and all cats, have small mouths. Think about making
smaller treats! A bottle cap makes a great small cookie cutter!

Big round balls (ping-pong ball size) are hard to break into smaller
bites. Roll them into smaller balls (large-marble sized), and/or flattening
them a bit before baking.

Just like people, some dogs may be allergic to wheat or corn. Shelter dogs may also have upset tummies. Try using oat, rice, coconut, or
other non-wheat flour to make treats.

Consider swapping meat-based baby or toddler food for pumpkin. Dogs
love it!

Many of these recipes are low in fat and can stick to your baking pan. Use baking parchment or a silicone sheet for easy treat removal.

Microwaving the peanut butter, especially if it has been in the fridge,
makes it easier to work into the cookie dough. Also, be sure the peanut
butter does not contain Xylitol (it is toxic to dogs).

Please package treats in an airtight container or zip-bag. Please mark
on the container what the treats are, and when they were mad

Here a couple recipes to get you started:

Basic Dog Biscuits

5 cups flour
1 cup milk
2 eggs
10 tablespoons vegetable oil or bacon fat
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil to grease pan (or parchment)

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease cookie sheets.
  2. Mix all ingredients well.
  3. Pinch off pieces of the dough and roll them into half-inch balls.
  4. Bake biscuits at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.
  5. Let them cool, then store in an airtight container or zip-bag.
    (Consider swapping low-salt beef or chicken broth for the milk or water,
    adding cheese, real bacon bacon bits)

Basic Cat Treats

3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup cornmeal

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Combine the cheddar and parmesan cheeses with the yogurt in a
  3. Add the flour and cornmeal and mix well until a dough forms.
  4. Knead the dough into a ball and roll out with a rolling pin to 1/4-inch
  5. Cut the dough into one-inch sized pieces and place on greased
    cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes at 325 degrees F or until the treats are just firm.
    Let cool on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes then remove the
    treats to a wire rack to cool completely before feeding to your cat.

For those out of the area

For those of you not in the Portland area, we encourage you to seek local animal shelters currently accepting similar donations.

Today’s Inspiration: St. Francis of Assisi

St. Francis of Assisi is revered by Christians everywhere. He was known as a person of peace and a lover of nature. In the simplicity of his life, he saw the hand of God in all creation.

Statue of St. Francis of Assisi (1993)

St. Francis’ vision is shared by The Grotto. His presence in statue and spirit complements The Grotto gardens.

This bronze sculpture, created by artist Michael Florin Dente, was installed in 1993 in The Grotto Upper Gardens.

30 Seconds of Peace at the statue of St. Francis of Assisi

Learn more about the Servite Order

The Grotto is a ministry of the Servite Friars, Order of Servants of Mary.

To learn more about the Servites, please click here.

Thank you for participating in today’s Day of Service.