The Salvation Army in Edinburgh has hosted its first ‘Pet Blessing’ service leading up to Christmas.
The service took place at Granton’s Salvation Army’s pet food bank, Paws Pantry, which takes place every fortnight. It serves a large community in the north of the city.
The food bank is supported by the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, which provides pet food and equipment.
The unique service welcomes pet owners from across the community to gather to appreciate the animals.
Ruth Johnson and her cat Mitsy attended the event.
Ruth said: “I’ve always wanted to take my cat to be blessed – they’re all God’s creatures and she is a blessing to me.”
Andrew Howe is the Chaplain who conducted the blessing.
He said: “We want to give thanks through the blessing and just to pray for protection and safety over the animals – and that their lives together as a family unit is one that is blessed.”
Behind the light-hearted service is a practical element, as the Salvation Army runs a food bank and pantry for pet owners to help with the cost of keeping their furry friends.
Lorraine Duncan, digital skills and employment development coordinator for The Salvation Army in Granton, said: “The pet food bank has been a huge success since it was launched during Covid.
“Apart from helping people when times are tough, the food bank is in place to hopefully prevent people needing to give up their pets as costs increase.
“For many locals who attend, their animal is a friend, companion or much-loved family pet.
“The thought of giving that up is stressful and heart-breaking. If we can prevent that happening, then we have succeeded.
“Our Wellness Cafe and Digital Hub provide a comprehensive range of support including digital skills, employability, vocational skills training, mental health support, financial inclusion and diet and nutrition.
“We deliver support in seven other locations in Edinburgh to ensure the support is accessible city wide and via our partnerships, debt advice, advocacy for benefits, food and fuel aid are all available.”
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