Dogs, cats and ponies invited to Greyfriars Kirk for 'pet blessing service' to coincide with World Animal Day
From dogs to ponies to spiders to goldfish, all creatures great and small are invited to Greyfriars Kirk this Sunday for a special Church of Scotland pet blessing service to be held at 3pm.
The eighth annual service is timed to coincide with World Animal Day on Saturday, the feast day of Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals.
The service will be held in the grounds, rather than the church itself, and the blessing will be followed by a ‘pet parade’.
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Rev Richard Frazer will conduct the twenty minute service, alongside Probationary Minister Urzula Glienecke.
“I think it is an opportunity for people to express their gratitude, not just for the pets they have but for the idea that we share life with plants and animals,” said Rev Frazer, who will be attending the service with his dog, Guinness.
“Life would be unimaginable, indeed impossible, without them, and so it reminds us of our duty of care to the whole of creation.”
Pet owners are kindly asked to make sure smaller animals such as cats, guinea pigs and rabbits are contained in ‘well-secured’ cages, and that dogs are kept on leads.
Previous services have blessed a Shetland Pony, a goldfish, and a spider in a matchbox, as well as some cats and a large majority of dogs.
“We’re delighted to welcome domestic pets of all shapes and sizes to this happy and informal service,” said Greyfriars Kirk Operations Manager Steve Lister.
The event is held in coordination with the Skye Terrier Club, which will attend with between five and ten dogs.
The famous Bobby, who kept watch over the grave of his owner police constable John Gray in Greyfriars Kirkyard for 14 years was a Skye Terrier.
Moira Barrass, former Chair of the Skye Terrier Club, has attended the event for many years with her two dogs, Hannah, 8, and Murran, 3.
Every year the dogs greatly enjoy the event, and really ‘get into the atmosphere’, she said.
“It’s a terrific event and the Kirk is such a beautiful place to hold it,” she said.
“When you think about it, it’s the animals that brought us together so it’s wonderful to celebrate them in this way.”
Attendees will be able to enjoy a cup of tea after the service, or a trip to the nearby Greyfriars Bobby’s Bar, where dogs are welcome.
Greyfriars Kirk stands on the site of a pre-Reformation Franciscan order of Grey Friars who followed St Francis of Assisi, the Patron Saint of Animals.
The kirk holds a memorial service for Greyfriars Bobby in January each year, organised by Dogs Trust.