All creatures great and small

Zorro, a foxy/staffy cross, sits patiently during a hymn, with owner Barry Boase

St Andrew’s Church played host to a gathering of animals and their owners on Sunday for the annual pet blessing service, which offered the chance for pets of every kind, furry or feathered, to be blessed in recognition of St Francis of Assisi.

Widely recognized as the patron saint of animals, St Francis’ birthday is celebrated each year at churches around the world with a pet blessing being held on the Sunday closest to his birthday, October 4th.

Peter Hand with bichon/schnauzer cross Monty, wife Margaret and Monty’s owner Luka Dean.

It was mainly dogs that turned out for the occasion, and they seemed ecstatic to be joining their owners at church. The only cat that attended, Dusky, owned by William Veitch, did not seem as amused. A handful of mice and a cockatiel named Sweetheart, owned by Maree Hall, rounded out the range of pets.

The odd bird chirp and excited whine could be heard throughout the service, but as usual there weren’t any incidents between pets. Towards the end of the service, St Andrew’s reverends went around the room blessing the pets which was followed by communion for their owners.

Honey the chihuahua being blessed by Reverend Diana Court, with owner Susan Cochrane.

Reverend Malcolm French, who was enjoying his first pet blessing service since joining the church last year, said he was delighted with the turnout and thought the experience was a lot of fun.

Reverend Malcolm French bids farewell to Brian Dunstan and his golden retrievers Star and Ike.

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