Wunderdog New York editor Tiffany Hagler-Geard attended the most wonderful service of the year, alongside rescue dogs, police horses, llamas, cats and bunnies
Even by New York standards, seeing over 700 animals hanging out in the pews and aisles of a church on a Sunday is somewhat unusual. Barks and meows echoed down the altar at Christ Church on the Upper East Side, in New York City, on 3 December 2017 in the ninth annual blessing of the animals ceremony.
Every year, the procession of animals sees humans bringing their furry – and sometimes feathered – friends to the church to have them blessed for the holiday season. The ceremony is held inside the cathedral and there are no reservations, no RSVPs. Every pet owner is welcomed. All religions were welcomed, too in the service lead by New York City Senior Minister Rev Dr Stephen Bauman of Christ Church, Rev Leslie Houseworth-Fields and Central Synagogue Rabbi Emeritus Peter J Rubinstein.
The Humane Society of New York (HSNY) kicked off the ceremony with four dogs, ready for adoption, alongside the NYPD and its k-9 unit. The city’s police force also brought the horses from its mounted unit to be blessed (outside, presumably because hooves and church floors don’t mix). Apart from dogs of all shapes and sizes, cats were also spotted, and even a few llamas, goats, pigs and bunnies stood in line together for the blessing. And since this is a church, they all got on very well.