Pets come to Church Service for animals

( [email protected] ) Nov 22, 2003 09:52 AM EST

TUCSON, Ariz. – Baby Dumbo, a 13-year-old basset hound laid sprawled on the grass in the church courtyard, chewing its doggy treat as a clergy member from Hills Episcopal Church blessed the animal during the church’s annual animal service. The Sunday service celebrated the loving relationship shared by people and their pets. Hundreds of pet owners of the church took full swing of the opportunity as they brought along their dogs, cats, gerbils, parakeets, and one woman also brought along her desert tortoise.

"I look forward to this every year," Joanie Bruce said as she stroked the shell of her desert tortoise, Rockette.

All animals who attended the animal service with their owners were blessed by clergy members. The children’s youth group also helped by passing out doggy treats.

The blessing of the animals service began more than 25 years ago, said the Rev. Megan Traquair, who had two dogs, a parakeet and a guinea pig.