independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

All creatures great and tall get blessing

ONE of the country's best known cathedrals went canine crazy as dogs of all shapes and sizes enjoyed their own special day out.

It was a carol service with a difference as proud owners and 300 churchgoers attended the service at Dublin's Christ Church accompanied by more than 70 well-behaved dogs.

The annual Peata carol service raises vital funds for the pet therapy service which organises visits by various animals to hospitals, nursing homes and caring institutions throughout the year in a bid to cheer up patients.

Christmas songs rang out throughout the church with some of the guest pooches putting on their best barks.

The dogs and their owners were invited up to the altar where they were given a very distinctive blessing as Dean Dermot Dunne asked God to watch over the beloved pooches and their owners.

Among the stars of the show at yesterday's service was Great Dane Bobbi, who stands an enormous six foot five when he is on his back legs, and boxer Bruce, now eight-years-old, who was covered in tinsel for the occasion. "Bobbi loves this event so we come here every year," said dog owner Catherine Joyce from Dublin whose black and white Great Dane attracted a huge amount of attention.

"He is taller than me when he stands on his back legs so people get great enjoyment from him," explained Ms Joyce.

First-time attendees at the festive service were Offaly woman Charlotte Walker and her boxer, Bruce. "He's such a good people-dog so they give him a lot of love," she said.

All proceeds from the event, around €1,000, will go to Peata. "I love dogs and I used to work with Peata so I decided it would be a lovely service to bring the dogs and the clients together," event organiser Lesley Rue said. Ms Rue said the service was particularly special for elderly dog lovers.

"Some people have been put into homes and they have had to dispose of their dogs so it is a service that is very important to those people. "When the choir is singing some of the dogs join in and that just gives it an extra special touch," she added.

Irish Independent

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