Paws on pews this Sunday
The Leddy family of Waimauku are grateful for pulling over because of car sickness on their way to a festive holiday in Whangarei.
That's where they rescued a new family member: Harrison their feisty kitten.
Mum Lucie says her three children, especially 12-year-old Caleb, weren't feeling well and they had to stop along Kaipara Coast Highway.
While resting, they heard faint meows coming from a rubbish bin.
"I said to the kids straight away ‘someone's dumped a kitten'. It's always during that time of the year."
They discovered the tiny kitten, only about 3 weeks old, in a Harrison and Lane knife box with a piece of lettuce.
His head had squeezed out of the box and the family were captured by his big blue eyes.
"By the time we'd spent a week with him, everyone had fallen in love with him," Mrs Leddy says.
Naturally adopting the name from the box he was found in,
Harrison has quickly adapted to also living with three cats, a dog and chickens.
"He gets along with the dog, the cats tolerate him and he chases the chickens. He has a very feisty personality."
Mrs Leddy says as their family feel he is already a bit blessed, they want to make it official at this Sunday's Blessing of the Animals service at St Chad's Church in Huapai.
The 9.15am service includes music, prayers and scripture.
Each animal will receive a blessing and a certificate.
Organising ministers Barbara Hessey and Mary Davies are looking forward to the first-time event.
"It's so nice to do something special for the children," Reverend Hessey says.
"We're celebrating creation. The service is a chance to show love and appreciation for the animals in our district."
Invites for "all creatures great and small" have been sent to schools and other organisations, she said.
Organisers request owners please bring pets in carriers or on leads to the service.