Terrible weather and lack of preparation caused people and animals much suffering. The first known example of blessing a sick animal took place at Indian Creek in Van Buren County, an act occasionally done in pioneer days.
we must bless this animal so he can get better for the rest of our travel
"It fell to the lot of Elder Orson Pratt and myself to penetrate through the thickets and emerge into this valley and get a view of the Great Salt Lake
In what is now florence, Nebraska, the saints finally built their winter quarters, the Mormon "Valley Forge"