My Friend, My Captive: A Ritual with Blessings and Confessions for Our Pets on Rosh Hodesh Elul / The New Year of Domesticated Beasts*

On Rosh Ḥodesh Elul, the first day of the new moon of Elul, we begin an accounting for all the souls with whom we are in a relationship.
Listen for the voice of the animals in the sound of the shofar.
(The shofar is blown once, a single tekiyah/blast.)
Cat Baby, Dog Baby, Fur Baby, My Baby, 
Baby Boo, Love Machine, Poosy, Schmushy
Pupster, Puppino, Doglet, Kittenhead, 
Fuzzy Wuzzy, Wiggly Tush, Mr. Nose, Miss Whiskers
Pearly Pink Paws, Mr. Claws, The Cuddly One, The Silly One
Belly boy, Muffin man, Old fella, Pretty boy

Fluff Meister, Wiener dog, King of Soft, Mr. Ruff

Barkmeister, Mighty Hunter, Miss Poo, Mr Vomit

Cat from Hell, Dog o’ my dreams, Bark-a-roni, Flat cat
My Boy, My Girl, My Cat, My Dog
For all the love you allow me to give you,
For all the love I allow myself to believe you give me,
For all the times you have protected me from physical or emotional harm,
For all the times you warned me,
For all the furntiture you have destroyed,
And all the rugs you have peed and puked on,
For all the exercise I got walking you,
For all the sleep you got on my head,
For all the pleasure I get watching you eat,
For all the litter boxes and plastic bags I used to clean up your shit,
For all the nights I dreamt about you,
For all the work days you missed me,
For all the blood pressure lowered
For  all the depressions mitigated,

For all the tails wagged,
For all the purrs purred,
I thank you, loved pets and companions.
Specifically, I ask give thanks for the lives of (my pet’s names)
Do you want to thank your loved ones?  Call their names out!  
 (they call out their pet’s names)
For all the services you render us as our pets and companions,
Anachnu Modim
we give thanks.
(The shofar is blown a second time.)

Dear Friend and Companion, I am your
(together) My friend, my captive.
You eat when I decide to feed you, You don’t eat if I forget.
(together) My friend, my captive.
You pee where and when I tell you And I punish you if you do it in wrong place.
(together) My friend, my captive.
You only go outside if I let you.
(together) My friend, my captive.
If I want to  hit you I can hit you, If I want to caress you I caress you.
(together) My friend, my captive.
I have decided that I want you to keep me company for many years, so I force you to go for check ups and treatments at the vet, which you hate
(together) My friend, my captive.
I have cut out your reproductive organs to make you more pliable and easy to live with.
(together) My friend, my captive.
I keep you shackled in a collar and it’s up to me whether that collar is comfortable or has rhinestones that humiliate you or spikes that dig into your flesh.
(together) My friend, my captive.
I named you without asking what you call yourself.
(together) My friend, my captive.
I went to a shelter to pick you out and I told myself I was rescuing you, that when you happened to look in my direction that you chose me, but all the choosing was on my side, you had no say in the matter.
(together) My friend, my captive.
I might be a good master, or I might be a bad master, it doesn’t matter.   You can’t leave.
(together) My friend, my captive.
For your lack of freedom,
For my demands for attention and comfort,
For your lack of the company of your freely chosen fellow creatures,
For my theft of your sexuality,
For my many terms of endearment that mask your captivity,
For all the privilege I exercise over you without thought,
I ask your forgiveness.
Specifically, I ask for the forgiveness of (my pet’s names)
Do you want to do the same for your beloved captives? Call them out!  Thank you…?
 (they call out their pet’s names)
For all the times we have transgressed against your dignity and agency, as our pets,
Selach Lanu
We ask forgiveness.

(The shofar is blown a third time.)
Baruch Atah Adonai
Brucha At Yah
Praising One-ness
We are so blessed by the soft and attentive animals that we are able to love with all our hearts and all our souls,
Together, let us give thanks to the One-ness
Out of which we have found our pets.
We give thanks for the simple love between us and them that teaches and mirrors the simple love for God and from God
That we return for every year
When we make Teshuvah.
Perhaps during this month of Elul,
We will pray to to show our beloved companions and captives how much we appreciate them
And wish for them a healthy and happy New Year.
Baruch atah Adonai Elohainu Melech HaOlam,
Blessed is the Fierce Mystery
Blessed are the domesticated beasts of the earth.

Rosh Hodesh Tov. 

* With gratitude to the resources of OpenSiddur.Org 

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