An­i­mal Pa­rade and Bless­ing

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - STAFF RE­PORTER

Motorists and cy­clists will take sec­ond place to the an­i­mals on some city streets this week­end.

SPCA Auck­land is en­cour­ag­ing an­i­mal lovers to cel­e­brate their pets by tak­ing part in the Great An­i­mal Walk and Bless­ing of the An­i­mals on Oc­to­ber 2. Own­ers and their pets will pa­rade through the city streets, es­corted by the po­lice and a group of SPCA in­spec­tors. The pa­rade starts at 12.45pm from Vic­to­ria Park and fin­ishes at St Matthew-in-the-City in time for the Bless­ing of the An­i­mals ser­vice.

SPCA Auck­land ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Bob Ker­ridge has or­gan­ised the event for the past 32 years. ‘‘The Bless­ing of the An­i­mals ser­vice is a won­der­ful way to cel­e­brate an­i­mals and the joy they bring to our lives,’’ he says. ‘‘An­i­mals line the church aisle and pews and ‘sing’ along to the hymns with great en­thu­si­asm.’’.

The ser­vice, which is held in many coun­tries in the world, is held on the near­est Sun­day to the Feast of St Fran­cis, the recog­nised Pa­tron Saint of An­i­mals. All an­i­mals are wel­come in­side the church for the ser­vice. In past years an­i­mal guests have in­cluded dogs rang­ing from Chi­huahuas to Great Danes, tur­tles, birds, gold­fish, minia­ture horses, cats, and even a bull.

‘‘The event fin­ishes with the bless­ing for each an­i­mal from the min­is­ters, which gives spir­i­tual com­fort to many,’’ Ker­ridge says.

Pets and their own­ers will pa­rade through Auck­land city streets es­corted by the po­lice and SPCA in­spec­tors.

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