Tortoise joins in church's first pet service
DOGS, cats, a gerbil and a tortoise attended a special service at All Saints Church in the Clifton.
The Pets' Service was believed to be the first for the blessing of animals and birds ever held in the 144-year-old Pembroke Road church.
The beloved animals were brought to the church by parishioners and children for a blessing by Father Roger Durbin.
He planned the half-hour service to celebrate the life of the patron saint of animals, Francis of Assisi.
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As Saturday morning was sunny, the service was held in the church's "hidden gardens", just behind the main building.
Father Durbin came up with the idea for the service as a member of his congregation regularly brings his dog to church, and he thought he would extend the invitation to the whole congregation's pets.
"One man often brings his dog and I'd noticed when others popped in to church to drop something off they often had their dogs with them," he said.
"All of the animals were remarkably well behaved – there may have been a little growl between two dogs at the start but they soon settled down.
"We hope this will be the first pets' service of many."