Spanish pets blessed by priests in annual ritual

Pet owners from across Spain took advantage of the opportunity to bless their pets.

 A priest blesses a dog outside San Anton Church in Madrid (photo credit: REUTERS)
A priest blesses a dog outside San Anton Church in Madrid
(photo credit: REUTERS)

Hundreds of Spanish pet owners took their animals to church on Tuesday where Catholic priests blessed them on the Day of St Anthony the Abbott, the patron saint of animals.

A few dogs barked, but most animals waited patiently to be sprinkled with holy water on the steps of the baroque St Anthony's Church in central Madrid.

Noise from the pews

Priest Angel Garcia then said Mass in front of dozens of pets inside, also to some barking from the pews.

Carlos Cabestany, 51, brought his greyhound, Rita.

 Two-year-old cat ''Onis'' waits to be blessed by a priest outside San Anton Church in Madrid (credit: REUTERS) Two-year-old cat ''Onis'' waits to be blessed by a priest outside San Anton Church in Madrid (credit: REUTERS)

"It is a Madrid tradition and we like to keep it alive," he said.