St. Francis was born at Assisi in 1182. After a care free youth, he turned his back on inherited wealth and committed himself to God. Like many early saints, he lived a very simple life of poverty, and in so doing, gained a reputation of being the friend of animals. He established the rule of St Francis, which exists today as the Order of St. Francis, or the Franciscans. He died in 1226, aged 44.
St Francis is also credited with creating the first Crib scene, using live animals, to help people imagine what the stable was like where Jesus was born.
Many churches hold a Pets' Service or Blessing of the Animals on the Sunday nearest to 4th October.
If you plan to hold a service involving animals, make sure your Insurers know!