Hymns, howls and medals at pet blessing

KELSEY FLETCHER
Last updated 18:11 14/10/2012
SPCA volunteers Ray and Sandra Linton-Brown wait to have their dogs TJ and Amber, right, blessed at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Auckland.
HONOURED AND BLESSED: SPCA volunteers Ray and Sandra Linton-Brown wait to have their dogs TJ and Amber, right, blessed at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Auckland.

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Hymns turned to howls at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Auckland today where almost 500 pets were blessed.

But the annual SPCA Auckland ceremony had a more serious note this year.

Two hundred of its dedicated volunteers received a one-of-a-kind SPCA Queen's Jubilee medal in appreciation of their commitment at the Parnell cathedral.

SPCA executive director Bob Kerridge said the charity wanted to acknowledge its volunteers.

"It's a unique thing and won't be created again,'' he said.

"I feel good about this because our volunteers don't get thanked as they should."

This year 1000 volunteers across the country will receive medals for volunteer services including fostering animals and collecting donations.

A number of people have been selected for the honour of having their medal bestowed on them at Government House tomorrow.

The animal blessing service drew families from across the city today, who brought cats, dogs and even the more exotic types of pets.

Kerridge said his favourite part of the blessing ceremony was the hymn by deacon Wilf Holt.

"All the dogs just went berserk through that," he said.

"We didn't have the more unusual animals this year, like donkeys and fish, but we did have some baby birds and a bearded dragon."

The SPCA has held animal blessings for the past 28 years.

So it was no surprise that this year it had to be moved from its usual St Matthews in the City venue.

There was standing room only at the back where an estimated 900 people piled in the doors.

Cathedral dean Jo Kelly-Moore says it was fantastic having the ceremony at the Holy Trinity Cathedral."Pets bring peace, love and  joy and that's no different to when we get together.''

Kelly-Moore said people have their animals blessed because they love them.

"They are a very special part of our life and family and we love them deeply and want them blessed," she said.

"I hope we get to hold the blessing again next year. I think it suggests, by the numbers, that we need space for a bigger crowd next year - it's just going to grow."

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