Does your pet impact your spiritual life? When Beliefnet asked readers that question last year, we were inundated by inspiring and unusual stories. This year, we'll once again be highlighting your pet stories throughout October, the month when many religious traditions honor animals. If you sent us a photo in September, check back each Tuesday this month to see if your pet is featured.

See this week's amazing crop.

"The Gift Mary Gave Me"
Trigo is a Spanish Shepherd dog. During my four-month pilgrimage from Holland to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, I was struck by a statue of Mary. When I was praying for the welfare of pilgrims and all those who gave prayers to me to carry forth to the tomb of St. James, it seemed that Mary answered and said, "Do not worry... I shall take care of you and your worries."

The next day a stray dog came on my path and continued to be with me. A priest along the Camino de Santiago asked me whose dog it was. I said it was mine more or less as I found it. He answered, "You didn't find that dog. The dog found you!"

Only later I understood that this was the gift Mary gave me...If Trigo wasn't in my life, I would have given up hope long, long ago.

--Pieter P., the Netherlands "Blessings in Feathered Form"
I went from being an extremely productive, outgoing person to becoming an extremely disabled person both mentally and physically, needing a caretaker and being mostly a "shut-in." My two parrots [Yum Yum and PeWe], because they have given me so much unconditional love and companionship, saved me on many occasions from the gates of death. "God, thank you for giving me these two little blessings in feathered form... May your angels protect them under their wings, but most of all, let us not abuse what is so wonderful and gives so much, unconditionally. Teach Man, Great Spirit, before it's too late." --Renee R.

"God Has a Sense of Humor"
Lexie, a 6-month-old American cocker spaniel, has helped in the aspect of my spiritual life to see that even though I don't "see" God in a physical manner, He always knows when I need the spiritual hug. Lexie doesn't care about my past before Jesus, she doesn't hold a grudge, she is there with unconditional love, regardless of the day. She's also taught me that, like us humans, we do things repeatedly for some unknown reason when we've been told no, and she's taught us that God really does have a sense of humor! --Marcie S.

"They Are a Reminder That God Has Not Abandoned Me"
This is Isabella and Sasha. They are a blessing to me every day.

Please say the prayer that is customary for the annual blessing of the animals in honor of St Francis. Bless them with health and a long life, that I may continue to provide them and make them happy. I love them dearly and they are a constant reminder that God has not abandoned me in my loneliness and has reached out with love I can see and feel every day. --Lori J.

Hurricane Pugs
This handsome fellow was a rescue pug from Pug Rescue of Florida. Because of Mardi and the impact he's had on my life, I have become a volunteer for this group. We are now trying to get arrangements made to help with pugs left homeless or forced to be abandoned or surrendered because of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. We are trying to at least give them comfort in the knowledge that their beloved pets will be well cared for and secure. --Donna M.

God's Right-Hand Cat?
Benji is my life! He is my brown grey spotted domestic shorthaired tabby boy. He is named Benjamin as it is supposed to mean "sits at the right hand of God." I truly believe God sent this boy to me, and I am so grateful, I tell God so every day! Lord, I ask you to bless this dear boy with all the health and happiness he so deserves, and to keep him safe and protected till you call him home to you in his old age. Amen! --Heidi C.

We Named Her "Grace"
Grace is a four year old, 16.2 HH appendix quarter horse who has survived hurricane Katrina in Mississippi. ...Every time I told someone how this mare came to us, I was in tears and felt God's presence and blessing.

We have named her "Grace" because it was by the grace of God that she was delivered from the hurricane, was brought to Oklahoma, that a woman that we had only talked to on the phone would think of us as potential owners, that we followed through to see her move, and that I was able to secure a loan to purchase her. --Teresa B.

"They've Taught Me to Live in the Present"
"Having fostered hundeds of special cats in my home... I have come to realize that it is THEY who have rescued ME! They have given me a reason to get up when I didn't want to, and countless blessings, not the least of which is unconditional love, so much entertainment, and laughter at their antics. They have taught me to live in the present and never take anything for granted. There are always new cats coming in and other cats leaving for their adoptive homes and everyone is ultimately "accepted" into the fold in peace and harmony. I often wake up to a "symphony of purring" along with the warmth of furry felines atop my comforter. --Dayle T.

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