At least 40 dogs attended the Animal Blessing Service for St. Francis Day on Oct. 3 at St. Andrew’s, West Kirby, Wirral. They were accompanied by some 65-80 people, including children.

Bishop Keith Sinclair of Birkenhead, a former dog and cat guardian, now a keen wild bird feeder, gave the homily, reflecting on Isaiah’s prophesy of the Peaceable Kingdom and how animals, by their love and loyalty, reflect God’s love and show us how to be better humans.

 When he mentioned that his young son had asked if animals go to heaven, one of the Pet Therapy dogs in the congregation barked sharply, inspiring most of the others to join in. It seemed an apposite response…

 Prayers were said not only for companion animals, but also for caged and suffering creatures of all species, and thanks given for the work of animal welfare charities and veterinary staff.

Many thanks to Father David – a black Labrador guardian – for this fifth celebration and blessing of the animals in his beautiful church.

 He says:

Over the years the number of people attending the service the service has grown. When we started I think we were about 20! 

I have always been convinced that the service meets a deep spiritual need.

Last Sunday’s service was the best attended so far and it was good to get the support of a bishop in promoting recognition that animals can be channels of God’s grace to the world.

 Best wishes and God’s blessing.