COVID-wary animal owners in the Philippines had their pets blessed via 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 COVID-19 cases continued to rise.
The Philippines has recorded a total of 322,497 COVID-19 infections, the highest in Southeast Asia.
Organisers and participants said this year’s unusual way of blessing pets for World Animal Day, kept to social distancing rules. The day which is celebrated worldwide, to recognise animal rights and welfare, is an important day for animal lovers in the Philippines.
“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 organisers.
For dog-owner Arlene Pedron, having her pet blessed is “very important…because we really feel like our pet is part of our family”.
The world must continue to adapt to this new normal and its great to see people refusing to let it change traditions.
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