October 8, 2020
Coronavirus-wary (and weary) animal owners in the Philippines had their pets blessed during a drive-through ceremony on Sunday, October 4, to mark World Animal Day and the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.
From a safe distance inside their owners’ cars, cats, dogs, and birds were sprinkled with holy water by a Catholic priest in Manila, as the nation’s coronavirus cases continued to surge, Reuters reports, noting that the Philippines had confirmed a total of 322,497 coronavirus infections as of that date—the highest in Southeast Asia.
Organizers and participants said this year’s unusual way of blessing pets for World Animal Day ensured social distancing.
“We have to adapt to the new normal and the pandemic should never stop us from paying tribute to the furry animals that we have,” said Ritchie Pascual, one of the event organizers.
For dog-owner Arlene Pedron, having her pet blessed is “very important…because we really feel like our pet is part of our family.
“We also want the best for his health,” Pedron said, while waiting in line with her two-year-old golden retriever.
Research contact: @Reuters