Home > Auto > News > Covid-19 prompts drive-through pet blessing in Philippines on World Animal Day

Coronavirus-wary animal owners in the Philippines had their pets blessed via a drive-through ceremony on Sunday 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.

The Philippines has recorded a total of 322,497 coronavirus infections, the highest in Southeast Asia.

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A Catholic priest sprinkles holy water on a cat at a drive-thru pet blessing amid the coronavirus disease.
A Catholic priest sprinkles holy water on a cat at a drive-thru pet blessing amid the coronavirus disease. (REUTERS)

Organisers and participants said this year's unusual way of blessing pets for World Animal Day, celebrated worldwide to recognise animal rights and welfare, 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 organisers.

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A woman aboard a vehicle shows off her pet birds as they queue for a drive-thru pet blessing amid the coronavirus disease.
A woman aboard a vehicle shows off her pet birds as they queue for a drive-thru pet blessing amid the coronavirus disease. (REUTERS)

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.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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